Kathryn Garcia is a student of Cultural Anthropology and Art at Northeastern University. She grew up in San Diego city in California and is aware of the United States-Mexico border. As a teenager, she worked as a volunteer for an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, throughout middle- and high school. She would take a 15-minute trip to the country for leisure even though she knew about the crisis at the border. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are detained trying to cross into the United States, and thousands of people who weren’t so lucky have died making the journey each year. She says the border was a big part of her life growing up and yet it’s so dangerous for so many people.
Recently, Garcia received the Harold D. Hodgkinson Award for her work because of her strong dedication to her college career to researching issues and volunteering at the U.S.-Mexico border. She has shaped her education around understanding the issues at the border better and helping to create solutions to some of the most pressing among them. It is one of the highest honours for graduating seniors. Colleges nominate their top students on the basis of academic and experiential performance, and selections are made by a faculty committee.
Furthermore, Garcia has helped develop a study to examine attitudes toward immigrants. She contributed research to an annual report by the Hope Border Institute, a nonprofit organisation that works to improve conditions on both sides of the border. In 2019, she was stationed in El Paso, Texas, observing immigration court proceedings, working in migrant shelters, and researching immigration policy.
“I’m motivated by this idea that academia can be used for good, for making the world a better, more accepting place. Research can inspire change; it doesn’t have to stay just research”, she says.
Garcia plans to continue her work after graduation.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman