Border Studies Program


  • We are still accepting applications for the Spring 2015 Border Studies Program! The deadline for applying is October 17, 2014. Apply now!
  • The BSP is excited to announce that we have new staff and family member, Alisha Vasquez! Read her bio and a brief Q&A here!
  • Maddie Taterka, Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and Fall 2012 BSP Alum, recently published a piece on the detention of child migrants in Arizona.
  • Spring 2014 Border Studies Program alum Alex Cook is working this summer with migrant advocacy group Migrant Justice. Read about his work with the Vermont based organization here.
  • Marcos Ramos, Earlham grad and Spring 2013 BSP alum is spending his summer in his native Brazil after having won a Davis Project for Peace Grant for his project “Navigating Discourses of Sexuality: Resistance to Homophobia in Brazil”. Read more here.
  • Read the participants' updates from the Borderlands and follow their experiences throughout the semester at our Border Studies blog.
  • Read BSP Instructor Katie Sharar's piece for NACLA's Border Wars blog on immigration enforcement in Texas' Big Bend region.
  • Click below to check out our Facebook & Twitter pages and follow what the BSP is currently up to!
Follow Border_Studies on Twitter

Where Are They Now

Participant Profiles | Where Are They Now

What Next?

What do Border Studies participants do after graduation from College? They go on to do a multitude of things from medical school to law school to teaching to community organizing. Continue below to meet some former BSPers and find out what they're doing now.

Naina Gonsalves, 2006

A photo of Border Studies alum Naina Gonsalves. Hello my name is Naina Gonsalves and I was in the Border Studies Program (BSP) in 2006. What I learned during my time in BSP really influenced where I am today. After Border Studies I knew that I wanted to continue working with immigrants. The summer after BSP, I got an internship in Washington, D.C. working with an immigrants' rights organization. I would go to different jails around the D.C. area and do intakes for detainees to help them through the deportation process or to help them apply for asylum if possible. I loved getting to work with immigrant populations, but I think what really moved me was speaking with their families, especially the children.

As I thought about what I wanted to do in the future during my senior year of college, I knew I wanted to continue to work with immigrants and especially children. I remembered standing on the bridge in Ciudad Juárez waiting to cross each day with so many students, and it really made me think about why they were crossing the border and the type of education provided in the U.S. My experience during my time in El Paso/Cuidad Juarez helped me to make the decision to apply for Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). The RGV is located on the U.S./Mexico border but on the gulf side of Texas. I am currently teaching 6th grade social studies in Donna, TX, and I know I would not have gotten here without the BSP.

Naina participated in the Border Studies program during the fall of 2006 in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. She did her field study at Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services where she learned about immigration policy, worked closely with clients, and did grant research. Naina graduated from Denison College in 2008.

Emily Jenkins, 2003

A photo of Emily Jenkins who participated in the Border Studies Program in 2003My host mother encouraged me to study abroad again, and I spent fall semester 2004 in Berlin studying nationalism and ethnic conflict through the School for International Training. Inspired by observations on the border, I designed my ethnographic research project on attitudes towards language use among young adults of Turkish descent raised in Berlin; this research formed the basis of my senior thesis for my major in Comparative Languages and Linguistics.

In March of my senior year, I applied for a job at Migrant Health Promotion (MHP) in Southeast Michigan, one of the pioneering agencies of the promotor/a (community health worker) model. It's been confirmed that my cross-cultural and language skills gained on Border Studies were key in getting the job offer. I graduated on time in spring 2006 and was selected for the Charles Fellowship in International Studies, a chunk of money awarded to one graduating Earlhamite for further international study.

After six months working with migrant farmworker teens, I accepted an AmeriCorps position coordinating and teaching for an ESL program at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Dearborn, MI. I took a break in the middle of my year of service and used the Charles Fellowship to fund a month-long, self-designed Arabic immersion experience in Amman, Jordan. My stay ended just as the Israeli bombing of Lebanon began, and in the sad and anxious weeks that followed, I discovered how living cross-culturally makes your life not only richer, but sometimes also more painful.

After studying abroad three times and working with people of all different backgrounds, it has become clear what makes me most excited in life: being able to see things from a different perspective-maybe a little like a Mexican immigrant, or a Palestinian student-and that influences your choices and the people around you. For me, it's time to stop packing and unpacking the suitcase every nine months; I want to to help those changes happen in other people. I'm applying for positions working with study abroad and/or international students, and in the meantime temping at the University of Michigan International Center.

I'm happy to say that I went to college for four years out of state, spent a quarter of that time out of the country, and still got engaged to my high school sweetheart, Jon. I've returned to the Juárez/El Paso area twice to visit my host family and talk with my host sister on the phone every few months. I credit my family for making my college experience possible, my professors for making it worthwhile, and my fiancé, friends and mentors for making it pleasant. I owe much of the success and happiness I've enjoyed to the Border Studies program staff and the people in Juárez and El Paso who took me in as their own, and count the decision to study on the border as one of the most influential and positive turning points in my life.

Emily Jenkins studied on the border as a junior in fall 2003. She lived with the Ibañez family in Juárez, worked with undocumented youth in detention through Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center for her field study, and wrote her oral history on Cipriana Jurado, labor organizer and founder/director of Centro de Investigación y Solidaridad Obrera.

Nicole Beeman Cadwallader, 2000

After leaving Earlham, I went to the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas through Teach For America. I taught middle school science in a little town named La Joya for two years. In between the two years, I lived in Oaxaca City with my boyfriend, Jason who took Spanish classes

After the two years (Teach For America is a two year commitment), Jason moved to south central Pennsylvania to start medical school at Penn State. I stayed in the Valley (I wasn't ready to leave) for another two years, teaching middle school science and Texas History at a public charter school founded by Teach For America alumni in Donna, Texas named IDEA Academy.

Jason and I were married in June 2005 in my hometown, South Bend, Indiana. Then I moved to south central Pennsylvania. I now teach middle school science at a school district in rural Lancaster county.

I am applying to doctoral programs in Curriculum and Instruction. I had no idea that I would be in the field of education for life--but I love it! I really have found my niche in curriculum and instruction, I've had 3 opportunities to write curriculum and be in leadership positions working
with curriculum and instructional strategies. Other than that, I have picked up the slightly masochistic hobby of marathon running. I just finished my 5th marathon, in Philadelphia.

Amy Jaret, 2004 and Kathleen Reynolds, 1997

Two Border Studies Students, One Office-----

Amy Jaret and Kathleen ReynoldsKathleen and I had been working together for about three months before we figured out that we both did Border Studies. From the outset, I had noticed that she speaks Spanish well, and apparently, one day she had a similar reaction when she overheard me talking to a Spanish-speaking ESL student. Upon asking me how I learned Spanish, I told her that I "Studied for a semester in Ciudad Juárez, on the border of Mexico and the US." She smiled with what I thought was no more than recognition of the program, and asked, "Was that the Borders Program?" I said that it was, ready to explain the details of a program unfamiliar to, well, just about everybody. But quickly she added that she, too, had gone on the program, in its first year - 1997. Of course we complimented each other's Spanish: we had the same teachers. answer to your question "Where are Border Studies Participants Now?" we're at the Albany Park Community Center, on the Northwest side of Chicago. When will you be joining us???

Kathleen Reynolds:
As a junior at the College of Wooster in Ohio, I did the Borders Program in its first year, Fall of 1997. I had a great experience living with the Ortiz family in Juarez and working at the FEMAP Foundation ( After graduating in 1999, I moved to Chicago and became a VISTA volunteer in the Adult Education Department at the Albany Park Community Center, where I have worked continuously since in several different positions (including coordinator and ESL teacher).

Amy Jaret:
I went on the Border Studies Program in the fall of 2004, during my Junior year at Earlham College. While I was there, I worked at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, in El Paso, with their Battered Immigrant Women's Program. During my senior year at Earlham, I worked in the International Programs Office as an intern for Border Studies. I graduated in 2006 with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish. In September, I began an Americorps position as an ESL and Adult Literacy tutor at the Albany Park Community Center, in Chicago.

How to Apply Scenes from the Field How to Apply How to Apply Scenes from the Field Scenes from the Field