Peer Mentor, Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, UTRGV associate professor of Mexican American Studies and director of the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS), has been awarded a research fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Alvarez is one of 17 faculty from across the United States to receive a Faculty Award Fellowship through NEH.

The prestigious individual award was granted for Alvarez’s project, “Contemporary Radical Voices: Chicana Feminism on the U.S. Mexico Texas Border at the Turn of the 21st Century,” which analyzes ways Chicana artists, poets and community organizers from the U.S. – Mexico border region of the Rio Grande Valley have responded to the rise in anti-Latina/o/x policies through Chicana feminist practices within their work.

Alvarez said the inspiration behind her project stemmed from the mujeres/women of the Valley who push and work daily for positive social change. “They may not hold political offices or high-ranking government jobs, but they are the ones doing the work and bringing attention to the issues that matter most to the community,” she said. “They sacrifice a lot, and I am inspired every day by so many of them. I really just wanted to not only document and visibilize their work but honor them now while they are still with us.”

Alvarez said this fellowship will allow her to continue her work under the Awards for Faculty program designated by NEH, for 12 months of full-time research. Within that time, Alvarez said, she will use qualitative research methodologies to conduct extensive interviews with local poets, artists and community organizers, as well as review archival print, digital and other public works centered on Chicanas. She will explore the collective works of both local poets and artists who center and/or speak to the lived experiences along the U.S.-Mexico border. (

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