Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Two LACIS Undergrads Awarded Wisconsin Idea Fellowship!

by Bette Benson (LACIS Social Media/Outreach Intern, BA, LACIS, Pol Sci, & Intl Stud ’15)

LACIS would like to congratulate undergraduate juniors Alexandra Arriaga and Lauren Feierstein for being selected as recipients of Wisconsin Idea Fellowships for 2015-2016. These two exceptional students are yet another example of the great work LACIS student do! We can’t wait to hear about your experiences, Alexandra and Lauren!

From UW Morgridge Center’s News Release:

Wisconsin Idea Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate student projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student (or group of students) in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or academic staff member.

Alex Arriaga mug

Narrativas del cruce: Female narratives of migration between the US and Latin America; Arizona

Student: Alexandra Arriaga, Journalism and Latin American, Carribbean & Iberian Studies student from Hickory Hills, Ill
Faculty Mentor: Karma Chavez, Associate Professor in Communication Arts


Traditionally, the majority of migrants crossing the United States/ Mexican border have been male. But in recent years, the number of women who embark on this journey has risen. In an effort to research the unique struggles that women face in making the journey, this project will collaborate with existing organizations near the border to gain access to the women’s stories. The project will conduct interviews and recordings with the end goal of composing a multimedia story collection.



Lauren (L) and and Brenna (R)
Lauren (L) and and Brenna (R)

Linking Ecuadorian Teachers to the Latino Earth Partnership Environmental Education Program; Ecuador

Students: Brenna O’Halloran, Geography, Environmental Studies and Biological Aspects of Conservation from Eagan, Minn., and Lauren Feierstein, Latin American, Carribbean & Iberian Studies, Zoology and Environmental Studies student from Shorewood, Wis.
Faculty Mentor: Catherine Woodward, Lecturer in the Nelson Institute


The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation works with communities in costal Ecuador to improve environmental and science education. Many teachers in these communities lack formal science training.

This WIF project will train teachers from three Ecuadorian elementary school in an environmental science curriculum that they can implement in their classrooms. The teachers will attend a workshop, receive help with teaching activities and receive lesson books in Spanish for future activities. The project also aims to lay a broad groundwork for Madison, WI-based Latino Earth Partnership to expand their work to Ecuador and provide science education workshops there annually.


For more information about the Wisconsin Fellowship Idea award and the details of  the rest of this year’s recipients, check out the Morgridge Center’s press release HERE.