UA research center launches new border studies initiative, program to support graduate students

Sept. 30, 2021

TUCSON (Oct. 1, 2021) – The University of Arizona’s Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry has launched a new program, the Border Lab Fellowship, with funding from the Office of the Provost and UArizona HSI Initiatives to continue U.S. and Mexico borderland studies and research to support graduate students interested in border related research.

“This program launch is significant because these institutional investments are an essential part of the University’s strategic priorities to become a national leader in the field of border studies,” Confluencenter Director, Dr. Javier Duran said. “To accomplish this goal, we need to continue to support diverse and underrepresented graduate students on campus, many of whom reflect the diverse borderlands communities of our region.”

The fellowship program will provide funding for selected graduate students, offering a variety of mentorship opportunities, workshops, professional development sessions and lectures on interdisciplinary approaches to the border.

This new program launch is also a part of the Confluencenter’s leading role in the Border Lab Initiative, an initiative of University of Arizona’s Strategic Plan which convenes more than 70 UArizona scholars engaged in border related research and works to not only provide external funding opportunities but also to create a space for scholarly exchange and community engagement.

“For years, the University of Arizona has served as an operational epicenter of research and teaching on border issues, continuously creating new knowledge in the field and spurring global attention," said Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, senior vice president for research and innovation. "The Border Lab Fellowship, based here, at a designated Hispanic-serving institution, builds on those successes while engaging students in real-world, interdisciplinary research and further advancing scholarship in border studies.”

In 2018, UArizona was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation was awarded for UArizona’s success in the enrollment of Hispanic students and in providing educational opportunities to them.

“I see this grant-funded project as one of several efforts that brings to life the University of Arizona's commitment as a Hispanic-Serving Institution," said Dr. Marla Franco, assistant vice provost for HSI initiatives and faculty affiliate in the UArizona Center for the Study of Higher Education

The HSI annual designation is defined by the Higher Education Act as an institution of higher education with an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.

“I think there may be times UA community members may not realize the U.S.-Mexico border is only about an hour south of the university's main campus” said Associate Professor of Spanish and faculty partner in the fellowship program, Anita Huizar-Hernández. “Given our proximity to Ambos Nogales and our status as a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, we have a great opportunity to advance our border studies work and support diverse and underrepresented graduate students on campus.”

Confluencenter has supported border related research and education through the grant funded program Fronteridades, an interdisciplinary project that addresses human challenges facing society at the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, since 2019.

Graduate students interested in the Border Lab Fellowship can visit the Confluencenter website for eligibility requirements and additional details. The application deadline is on October 25th at 5:00 P.M.