Three Swarthmore students for whom migration has been a key aspect of life will deepen their connection to the subject this summer through a prestigious program at Cornell University.
Lucia Navarro ’24, Destiny Rosulme ’24, and Giselle Vigil ’24 join the second cohort of Cornell’s Summer Pathways Program. The program provides hands-on research training to students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in studying migration in grad school.
For Rosulme, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti at a young age, it’s a chance to collaborate with peers with a shared passion.
“I’m really looking forward to exploring the intersection of race, dispossession, and migration, which plays a critical role in my research project concerning anti-Haitian migration policies in the Dominican Republic and U.S.,” says the human rights and French & Francophone Studies special major from Laud Lakes, Fla.
“And, with Cornell’s robust offerings, I’m enthusiastic about growing as a thinker, a researcher, and an activist this summer,” she says.
Vigil, who immigrated to the U.S. from Honduras in 2014, is excited to learn from the many migration scholars and first-generation professors in the program. She will do independent research for a project aiming to uplift the voices of immigrants and their communities.
“It’s a reminder that when we speak about immigration, it’s not just about theories or statistics; there are real people behind these ‘topics,’” says the peace & conflict studies and Latin American & Latino studies major from Norwalk, Conn. “It’s a project that will demonstrate that being an immigrant isn’t all that they are.”
Vigil has already helped to document the migration story of Navarro, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was a small child. Navarro is a first-generation student from Houston, Texas, special majoring in sociology & anthropology and peace & conflict studies. At Swarthmore, she is a member of the Sanctuary Committee; ENLACE, the Latinx/Hispanic student organization; and Swatties for Immigrant Rights.
Navarro, Rosulme, and Vigil all took the Borders and Migration seminar of Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Osman Balkan, who wrote letters of recommendation on their behalf. They also follow in the footsteps of a fourth student from that seminar, Ramiro A. Hernandez ’23, who belonged to the inaugural cohort of the Summer Pathways Program last year.
“It was a very insightful experience for me, as I got to meet and learn from many first-generation professors doing work around migration from a wide variety of fields,” says Hernandez, who special majored in medical anthropology, peace & conflict studies, and educational studies.
“As a first-generation, low-income student,” he adds, “it felt affirming to see folks with similar backgrounds doing the type of research I want to do.”
Having benefited so greatly from the program, Hernandez encouraged Navarro, Rosulme, and Vigil to apply. He delighted in them being selected, and in Swarthmore being well represented.
For Vigil, being accepted was a reminder that she is capable of whatever she sets her mind to.
“It was a reminder that I can and should take up space,” she says. “It’s an accomplishment not just for myself, but for everyone that is beside me cheering me on — my mom and my family. We’ve come a long way, and we are here to stay.”