Fulbright Scholar Brings Expertise in Int'l Migration
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury State University's first Fulbright Scholar in Residence has brought her expertise in international migration to Delmarva, an area where she can both educate on the topic from the Mexican perspective and learn from a place which is itself rich in migration history. Dr. Ana Maria Aragones Castaner has taught at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico) in Mexico
City for the past 18 years. She is a published author and recognized expert in the area of international migration, and had previous international teaching experiences in Buenos Aires, and France, where she also earned her law degree. She is eager to explore American attitudes and ideas on migration.
"We are in a new reality now. The globalization is the new reality, so we have to look for the better ways this new globalization brings us closer together," Aragones said.
SSU has had at least six of its professors go to other countries as Fulbright scholars or that country's equivalent. The Fulbright program, administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, has helped promote worldwide understanding through educational exchange since just after World War II," said Dr. Connie L. Richards, chair of the Department of English and former coordinator of international programs, now headed by Gary E. Grodzicki.
"The program is very competitive," said Richards, who was a Fulbright scholar in Spain. "Having a Fulbright Scholar in Residence brings us into the international arena. It provides the opportunity for people to have a better understanding of the country she represents."
UNAM is the world's largest Latin American university, with 30,000 professors and 250,000 students. Aragones and SSU knew they wanted to participate in the exchange of knowledge through the Fulbright fellowship, but Aragones' status remained uncertain for months as her university's students went on strike against a tuition increase. She finally got the all-clear, and arrived in Salisbury in August for the one-year fellowship.
"We reviewed other applicants, but Dr. Aragones was the strongest candidate. She met all of the qualifications. Her background fit our needs perfectly," said Dr. Timothy J. Dunn, Department of Sociology faculty member and her guide during her first weeks in the United States.
"It was an easy choice for us." This fall, she is teaching on the topics of U.S.-Mexican relations and international migration patterns, and in the spring she will teach two classes, including one in Spanish. She will also present on campus and do community outreach by talking with service providers, migrant workers, and those who employ them.
"It is important to be in touch with students, to explore their views about migration," Aragones said. "There are many things for me to learn--a new culture, new context for migration. I would like to know what better things we can do for this kind of person. That for me is very important."