By ANDREW LEE
Two Cornell graduate students who received the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship earlier this month say the award will help them continue their field studies in South American countries — namely, research on the political party system in Latin American countries and the way gender issues present themselves in presidencies.
The fellowships — which are granted by the United States Department of Education — are awarded to individual doctoral students conducting research in modern foreign language and area studies for periods of six to 12 months, according to the Cornell Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.
This year’s Cornell recipients are Mariana Giusti grad, Kasia Paprocki grad, Catherine Reyes-Housholder grad and Brian Rutledge grad.
Reyes-Housholder said she was “stunned and overjoyed” when she found out she had won the fellowship, as well as “very thankful” for the support and help she received from the University, her dissertation committee and other graduate students.
“The Fulbright-Hays fellowship is crucial for completing my dissertation,” Reyes-Householder said. “[The fellowship] will allow me to do fieldwork in Brazil and Chile,” where she will continue her research on Latin American presidentas — female presidents — and why some of them use their presidential powers to promote feminist change while others do not.
“My project starts with a regional study of female ministerial appointments since 1999,” she said. “It also involves two in-depth case studies of Michelle Bachelet’s presidency in Chile and Dilma Rousseff’s presidency in Brazil.”
Reyes-Housholder said she first became interested in presidentas as an undergraduate in 2005, when she first traveled to Chile for the first time to intern at a local newspaper.
“I knew nothing about Chile, but that happened to be right when Bachelet was campaigning for president,” Reyes-Housholder said. “My editor was aware of my general interest in politics, so he sent me to report on the presidential campaigns.”
Giusti — like Reyes-Housholder — is also studying political science and said her goal is to understand the relationship between varying social network structures and successful or failed attempts at political party building in Peru and Bolivia.
“Both of these counties experienced systemic collapse over the last two decades and are currently in the process of rebuilding their party systems with varying levels of success,” Giusti said.
Having already spent a year collecting data in Bolivia, Giusti said she will spend most of her time as a Fulbright-Hays fellow in Peru, where she will be interviewing politicians and leaders of social movements, business networks and community associations to gather the necessary data to complete her dissertation research.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been awarded a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship,” Giusti said. “I applied to this fellowship with very limited expectations and a lot of hope and was pleasantly surprised when I was notified of the exciting news.”