Political Science Now

Meet 2015 Fund for Latino Scholarship Recipient Isabel Perera

The primary purpose of the Fund for Latino Scholarship is to encourage and support the recruitment, retention and promotion of Latino/a political scientists. A secondary goal is to support research on Latino/a politics.

Isabel Perera: My trip to the 2015 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition in San Francisco would have been impossible without the support of the APSA Latino Fund. I used my award to offset the costs of lodging in San Francisco. My paper, “Why Deinstitutionalize the Mentally Ill? A Re-Examination of Postwar Origins” was well received by the panel entitled “The Causes and Consequences of Health Care Reform” (sponsored by European Politics and Society Section). This proved to be an excellent professional opportunity. The discussant, Ellen Immergut, and the other panelists offered numerous helpful suggestions to improve my paper.

Both the panelists and the audience strongly encouraged me to pursue the line of inquiry laid out in my paper — the cornerstone of my dissertation. The enthusiasm of leading scholars was heartening. But the benefits of attending the APSA Annual Meeting went beyond the professional.

This year’s conference theme, “Diversities,” spoke directly to my personal experience as a Latina scholar in political science. I attended several panels and roundtables that explored how diversity informs our discipline, and how our discipline engages in questions of diversity. One “theme session” was especially salient to me: “Beyond Our Borders: Does Political Science have an Impact on Other Disciplines?” Chaired and led by several scholars from underrepresented backgrounds (including Alvin Tillery and Chris Zepeda-Millán), this panel explored the value of our discipline to understanding, explaining, and addressing fundamental social problems. These scholars appeared to be especially conscious of the ramifications of politics for the lives of everyday people. In hearing how their personal experiences informed their work, I was reminded of my own motivation to study politics – to produce scholarship attuned to, and in the service of, a diverse society.

The 2016 Fund for Latino Scholarship Recipients will be announced in July 2016.

Learn more about the Fund for Latino Scholarship here.