Sophomore Arelí Hernández to study in London this summer
May 11, 2017
A Santa Clara sophomore was one of only four U.S. students selected to participate in the prestigious Fulbright Summer Institute. Arelí Hernández will spend three weeks at SOAS University of London taking courses in developmental studies and politics this summer.
“(This program) is dealing with the politics of protest and change, and more specifically on social movements,” Hernández said about the program. “I’m really interested in looking at race relations after Brexit, because there’s been a rise in hate crimes, so I’m hoping to compare that with the U.S. and then see if I can do some type of analysis.”
Hernández is a first-generation college student, triple-majoring in political science, ethnic studies and Spanish and minoring in Latin American studies. Hernández emphasized the ideas of culture and community when asked what she hopes to gain from the program.
“I’m excited to learn how to stand in solidarity with different groups,” Hernández said. “Here at SCU, we have a diverse set of groups but in London, I’ll be able to really be with people who are from different countries and different schools of thought.”
She first heard about the Fulbright Summer Institute from a co-worker and applied through a university-hosted application. After being nominated by the university, she then applied through the Fulbright Institute itself.
During the summer academic program, students present international perspectives on various subjects. Due to the highly competitive field of applicants, Hernández said she was surprised to receive a spot in the program.
“Upon learning I received the place in the Fulbright Summer Institute, I was honestly really shocked, and still kind of am. I applied on a whim and thought it was completely out of my reach,” Hernández said in a press release. “I hope this work will enable me to continue working alongside and representing marginalized communities either domestically or internationally.”
Hernández hopes to apply her experiences at the Fulbright Summer Institute to her studies here at Santa Clara. She will be studying abroad in Ecuador in the fall, where she will focus her studies on international development much like this summer program.
Hernández hopes to incorporate her cultural background with her studies in London and in Ecuador.
Adjunct lecturer and professor in the Ethnic Studies Department Jesica Fernández was one of Hernández’s professors and recommenders. Fernández was complimentary of her student’s accomplishment.
“Overall, Arelí is a remarkable and outstanding student,” Fernández said. “Her interdisciplinary training as an ethnic studies major has allowed her to engage meaningfully in empowering academic and community-based experiences.”
Hernández said she sees earning a spot in the prestigious program as much more than just a personal accomplishment.
“For me, this opportunity isn’t just something that I’m walking away from just for myself, but I’m looking at it as an accomplishment of my community as a whole,” she said. “I’ve had great professors here that have really pushed and challenged me, and I don’t think I could’ve done it without people who have set this path for me. I’m really grateful for everyone else.”
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