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UW’s Minero receives prestigious predoctoral fellowship from Ford Foundation

April 28, 2016

UW-Madison’s Laura Minero has been selected as an awardee in the Ford Foundation's 2016 Predoctoral Fellowship Competition.

This award provides financial support for three years and the opportunity to participate in the Conference of Ford Fellows. 

Minero plans to use this funding to develop a mixed-method study that assesses the role and influence of U.S. detention centers on undocumented transgender individuals’ mental health and wellness. She hopes this work will better inform the teaching and implementation of multiculturally competent interventions, psychological assessments and political asylum evaluations with undocumented immigrant, transgender individuals.

Minero is a second-year Ph.D. student with the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in sociology, from California State University, Fullerton, where she also went on to receive her master’s degree in psychology and was recognized as the “Outstanding Masters Student of the Year.”

Minero and her parents immigrated to the United States when she was 5-years-old from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

“My parents were unable to secure visas or lawful status to immigrate to the United States, so we have consequently lived in the shadows of the American Dream for about 20 years now,” says Minero, who notes she was raised in a small, rural farming community in California and has faced many obstacles and barriers en route to pursuing her Ph.D. at UW-Madison.

She explains that it was the implementation of the Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 that finally afforded her the privilege to pursue doctoral studies with more flexibility and to travel within the United States without fear of deportation.

“The intersection of my identities as a self identified, undocumented, queer, women of color holds great impetus and fuels my passionate for working with marginalized communities who may experience discrimination and oppression resulting in high levels of minority stress,” says Minero. “In particular, I am developing an expertise in examining how policy and exclusion in various sectors of U.S. society impacts the lived experiences of undocumented immigrant and LGBTQ+ communities. My hope is to be able to identify how to better serve these populations through more inclusive implementation of policy and distribution of services.”

Minero was one of approximately 60 fellows selected out of more than 1,500 applications for the Ford Foundation's 2016 Predoctoral Fellowship Competition. These fellowships were awarded based upon the following criteria: demonstration of superior academic achievement; commitment to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level; shown promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers; and preparedness to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

“Considering the barriers I have and continue to encounter in pursuit of higher education, I was shocked to have been selected as one of this year’s Predoctoral Ford Fellows,” says Minero. “The chance of an undocumented student receiving something like this feels like a one-in-a-billion opportunity.”

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