Graduate student conference provides opportunity for learning and dialogue

University of Miami graduate students Laura Iesue, Lidiana de Moraes, and Kapriskie “Kikie” Seide will be presenting their research at the Tri-University Graduate Student Conference.
By Deserae E. del Campo

University of Miami graduate students Laura Iesue, Lidiana de Moraes, and Kapriskie “Kikie” Seide will be presenting their research at the Tri-University Graduate Student Conference.

Graduate student conference provides opportunity for learning and dialogue

By Deserae E. del Campo
Students from UM, FIU, and FAU will have their graduate dissertations and projects reviewed by peers and scholars during the Tri-University Graduate Student Conference, which will be held March 23 at the Shalala Student Center.

University of Miami Ph.D. student Kapriskie “Kikie” Seide is very excited about Saturday’s graduate student conference at the Donna Shalala Student Center. When UM hosted the Tri-University Graduate Student Conference back in 2016, she attended as an audience member. Soon, she will present her research to a panel of academics, scholars, and peers at this year’s conference on March 23. 

The conference, which rotates between Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, and UM, invites grad students to share, present, and welcome evaluations and critique from academics and peers about their dissertations or working projects. This year, approximately 25 students are slated to share their research with conference attendees.  

“Appearing and presenting in conferences are integral to my training as a doctoral student in sociology,” said Seide. “These conferences provide opportunities to stay abreast of trends and changes in the field, receive feedback on one’s work, and connect with colleagues in different fields. This is something that UM encourages.”

Three years ago, Seide joined an interdisciplinary team of researchers who study migration in Haiti. Her conference paper stems from this funded study on the ongoing immigration crisis along the Haitian-Dominican border.

“Specifically, I examine the living conditions of the growing population of deportees who reside on the western side of the border and the ways in which this group navigates dominant racial or class-based structures in their pursuit of better opportunities in each country,” said Seide.

The Tri-University Conference is a collaborative tradition of the UM Latin American Studies Program and UM Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (UMIA), the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University, and the Caribbean & Latin American Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University.

“Promoting student research is probably the most important thing we can do as professors to guarantee that our various fields of study continue to grow as well as evolve changing areas of focus, new questions, and advances in methods,” said associate professor of anthropology Will Pestle, who is also director of the Latin American Studies Program here at UM. “A forum like the Tri-University Graduate Student Conference gives today’s grad students, and thus tomorrow’s leaders in their respective fields, the opportunity to refine their ideas, hone their presentation skills, and garner feedback from colleagues in a low-stress environment.”

Grad student researchers will present papers with a regional focus on Latin America and the Caribbean will be presented on the following topics: Anthropology, Communications, Cultural Studies, Environmental Science, History, International Relations, Literature, Political Science, Public Health, and Sociology.

“I think conferences are an awesome atmosphere to generate ideas and bounce your own ideas off of others. I think this conference, especially being solely for graduate students, will really open up avenues for future networking and collegiality with peers,” said Laura Iesue, a Ph.D. student in sociology. “I’m mostly looking to sharpen my presentation skills, but I’m all for anyone wanting to collaborate and push this project into a publication.”

Iesue’s study focuses on how internally displaced individuals in Colombia will be reintegrated back into their communities since the peace accord agreement. Specifically, the project analyzes the access to reparations services and the registry to see if racial disparities affect in the process.

Lidiana de Moraes, a Ph.D. student in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department, says feedback from peers and scholars in the field was the reason she applied to the conference. “Also, the idea of seeing what other graduate students are working on is enriching.” De Moraes’ paper entitled, “Carolina Maria de Jesus and Estamira Gomes de Sousa: Female Black Voices Emerging from the End of the World,” examines the Brazilian author Carolina Maria de Jesus and Estamira Gomes de Sousa, a black poor woman whose story was the subject of the 2004 documentary, Estamira.

“In common, de Jesus and de Sousa represent the struggles of Afro-Brazilian women,” said de Moraes. “Although Carolina published her book in the 1960s, and Estamira’s movie is from the 2000s, by tracing parallels between their trajectories, it is possible to identify the limitations that are too often imposed on female voices, and how these restraints have a deep association to blackness and to poverty.”

The 17th Annual Tri-University Graduate Student Conference will be held at the Donna Shalala Student Center on Saturday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and to attend the conference, click here.