JUDITH MANSILLA – Ph.D. in History Judith Mansilla’s humble beginnings in Lima, Peru, gave no indication that she would become the first woman in her family to earn a doctorate – or produce groundbreaking research on the devastating earthquake that shook her hometown in the 1600s. For Judith, no obstacle would prevent her from becoming a historical researcher. She went on to complete her master’s in history and entered FIU’s Ph.D. program in 2012. Since then, Judith has published six articles and book chapters and presented her research at 16 international conferences. She was awarded the prestigious History Project Research Award from Harvard University’s Joint Center for History and Economics.
JULIEN TUYA – Bachelor of Arts in International Relations/Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Julien Tuya believes that as global citizens, all individuals have an obligation to help create a better and more peaceful world. Julien made the most of his time at FIU to do just that. During his freshman and sophomore years, Julien worked full-time and carried a full course load. He also served as a member of the Army National Guard for two years and led a battalion of more than 180 cadets as FIU’s Army ROTC operations officer and later as the personnel officer. Julien juggled many activities, but still earned a 3.51 GPA. In addition to his bachelor’s degree, he earned a minor in military science and a certificate in national security studies.
CLAIRE SCOTT-BACON – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice After raising two sons and running her own photography business, Claire Scott-Bacon entered college at the age of 48 to study law. Along with her two bachelor’s degrees – one in psychology and one in criminal justice – Claire has earned three certificates, in pre-law, crime scene investigation and professional writing. She was named a Student Life Outstanding Scholar and received the College of Arts, Sciences & Education Award for Excellence in Academics and Research in psychology. A member of the Honors College, Claire worked 20 hours a week in two psychology labs and volunteered at the College of Law’s death penalty clinic.
SERENA CRUZ – Ph.D. in International Relations During 14 months researching the lives of female commercial sex workers in the slums of Uganda, Serena Cruz faced challenges that might have deterred other students. She was threatened by pimps, former female sex workers, even the local police. Serena persisted, eventually gaining the trust of sex workers to complete groundbreaking research into how the women manage the difficulties in their lives – including physical abuse, risk of HIV infection, severe depression and exploitation by police. Serena’s work, which has implications for the fight against AIDS in Africa, earned her a research fellowship at The Netherlands Institute of International Relations. She was also selected for a Global Health Equity Scholars fellowship managed by UC Berkeley, Yale, Stanford, and FIU.
Creating a Just, Peaceful and Prosperous World