I study how traumatic events affect families and communities, how people conceptualize suffering and overcome it. Trauma affects everyone in many of the same ways; the difference is in resilience, which is linked to social factors. El Salvador came out of a civil war in 1992, with massacres and death squads; Salvadorans went on living and being the warmest, most hospitable people. So there is something in this type of trauma that we must investigate and learn from.
When my acceptances came in, my husband and I sat down and reviewed our options. Michigan far surpassed every other school in terms of interdisciplinary research, support for families, and the types of scholarships, like the W. K. Kellogg Family Endowed Fellowship, that were available. It was nice to think of being back in a familiar place—and with the leaders and best!
The W. K. Kellogg Family Endowed Fellowship was the first recognition that my work is of value in an official way. It says that my interests and my research are worth supporting. I’ve been through three years of my PhD, and I’m looking at three more. So it’s nice to get some extra motivation!