My name is Ivette Noriega (Ph.D., Texas Tech University, 2019) and I am a postdoctoral scholar at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University. I am part of the 2017-2018 Colombia US Student Research cohort where I worked with @universidadces, @udea, and @texastech in an fMRI project related to trauma, PTSD, and violence exposure. As an immigrant, I identify as a fronteriza or borderlander from El Paso, Texas.

I decided to apply for a Fulbright to go to Medellin, Colombia. In 2013, Medellin became uses public funds to socially invest in communities and schools impacted by violence and inequality. This city is also a leader in psychological research through the use of trauma informed therapy for those who have experienced displacement, trauma, and violence. I strongly believe that Medellin can be used as a model of hope for cities experiencing violence in the U.S and beyond.

I wanted to encourage everyone who was not selected the first time to re-apply. I first applied to the Fulbright grant to Colombia in the 2014-2015 cycle but was not recommended. It took 2 years to revamp my application and close the gaps. I started to volunteer more in leadership positions and became a Spanish translator with a local Engineers Without Borders, which allowed me to travel to Panama. I also volunteered more to gain the tools that would be crucial for my Colombian project. When I applied again, I was fully prepared and was selected as a finalist.

Having the opportunity to go to Medellin helped me connect with many local schools, families, teachers, and students and learn about the rich customs of Colombia. Fulbright's opportunities were vital for my professional development and also became important in own personal identity development. We also just published our first paper on the project:

Since returning, I have worked in various ways to help contribute to the Fulbright mission. I've hosted info presentations in Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S, written to my state representatives, mentored Fulbright applicants, and participated in 2 Fulbright Research Enhancement Seminars in Canada and D.C."

#fulbright #latinx #fulbrightlatinx

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