It gives us great pleasure to announce the winners of this year’s LLS scholarships and awards.
Ivan Saucedo, Latina/Latino Studies major, is the winner of the Dr. Jorge Chapa Memorial Scholarship in Latina/o Studies. Through taking courses in Latina/Latino Studies, Ivan has come to understand his position in the world. He intends to use his experiences and knowledge to pursue a degree in law in order to help Latina/os advance in higher education and beyond. The scholarship is named in honor of Dr. Jorge Chapa, a beloved member of our department who passed away in the fall of 2015. The scholarship is made by possible by the generous financial support of Dr. Belinda de La Rosa (Dr. Chapa’s wife) and the Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. This is the inaugural year of the scholarship.
Melody Contreras, dual degree major in Latina/Latino Studies and Theatre Studies, is the winner of the LLS Major Scholarship. Melody is interested in obtaining a graduate degree that will allow her to bring together her Latina/Latino Studies and Theatre Studies degrees. Ultimately, she plans to apply the knowledge she has acquired in the LLS major to keep moving forward and fighting normative structures within the arts. The theme of the scholarship is the “Legacy of ’92,” which is the year that a broad coalition of student activists and allies pushed the University to respond to the underrepresentation of Latina/Latino students and faculty and the lack of institutional and intellectual support for Latinas/Latinos on campus.
Finally, Nailene Gonzalez, double major in Latina/Latino Studies and Political Science, is this year’s winner of the LLS Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes exceptional undergraduate research and/or critical analysis in the field of Latina/Latino Studies. Nailene wrote a fascinating paper titled “Housing Policies Gone Awry: The Reality of Latinx Segregation in Chicago.” This paper addresses how and why segregation persists in predominantly Latinx neighborhoods in Chicago. Nailene argues that segregation is principally the result of failed housing policies and informal practices of discrimination. While the Fair Housing Act and other anti-discrimination laws were developed to protect marginalized communities from disenfranchisement, they have not been able to stop informal discriminatory practices such as racial steering (in which real estate agents use race to steer home buyers away from or towards particular neighborhoods). Ultimately, she suggests that ethnic enclaves are not the products of preferences but of discriminatory practices.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who applied. We received a lot of wonderful applications. We really wish we could have provided awards to everyone.