CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – How students – both teenagers and young adults – became compelling political activists in 20th century Nicaragua is a central research topic for Dr. Claudia Rueda, Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. It’s a research project that has recently received praise and financial support from one of the most prestigious fellowship foundations in the nation.
Rueda has been selected as one of 30 educators in the country to receive the Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellow Foundation. The fellowship, which is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, provides each fellow with a six-month or one-year sabbatical grant of $30,000; a $1,500 research, travel, or publication stipend; a mentoring program and participation in the 2017 Career Enhancement Retreat. The award period begins June 2017 and concludes June 2018.
“I am thrilled and honored to receive this fellowship. I am especially looking forward to working with Jaime Pensado, a historian at Notre Dame, who will serve as my mentor next year.”
Rueda plans to use the award to focus on revising her manuscript, “Students of Revolution: Youth Protest in Somoza-era Nicaragua, 1937-1979,” and during her leave, she will also produce a new article. Rueda’s current manuscript explores how Nicaraguan teenagers and young adults organized politically during the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Garcia and his two sons. The period was fraught with violence, societal limitation, repression and conflict.
“Much of the scholarship on Latin America’s Cold War revolutions has concentrated on the role of peasants and workers, but my book argues for the central role of youth, and especially students, in revolutionary movements,” said Rueda. “By focusing on student protest and the ways in which their activism generated wider engagement in the struggle against Anastasio Somoza, my work pushes scholars to look more closely at the role students play in spreading ideas about revolution.”
As a testament of her hard work, passion and dedication, Rueda has received at least one grant or fellowship for the past 11 years, including her second most recent, a Major Grant for Community Project from Texas Humanities to organize a two-day long symposium on the history of the Chicano Movement in South Texas. Rueda, along with co-coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Brown, organized the symposium to kick off a new oral history initiative at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, “South Texas Stories.”
“I’m committed to pursuing both internal and external funding to support my research interests,” said Rueda. “The award from the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation will allow me to dedicate the next academic year to finishing my book manuscript and starting on my second research project.”
Rueda earned both her master’s degree and Ph.D. in history at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, she came to the Island University with a commitment to fostering a socially engaged university and empowering students to become active citizens of the world.
The Career Enhancement Fellowship Program seeks to increase the presence of minority junior faculty members and other faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities. It supports the Mellon Foundation’s mission to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.