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Best Wishes, Meet Mercy Torres!

I recently graduated from Xavier University in May as a First-Generation college student with my Bachelor’s in Social Work. During my time at Xavier I was able to leave an impact through my involvement with the Community-Engaged Fellowship, a four-year scholarship to students who commit to 10 hours of service a week. Over the past four years, I volunteered with Casa de Paz, specifically with the Fenix Group. Additionally, I was able to assist three professors from Xavier with research that was presented to Board of Directors. In partnership with the Executive Director of Casa de Paz, our project focused on understanding the needs of children residing at the home.
Post-graduation I participated in the Winter-Cohen Family Brueggeman Fellowship, which offers up to 8 students each year the chance to combine a year of intensive independent study with an international immersion experience. I carried out my own research project, Storytelling as a Tool for Community Building, with Centro de Dia para Migrantes in Torreon, Coahuila Mexico and Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora Mexico.
I was largely influenced by my grandparents who immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico. My parents did not have the financial or social capital to attend higher education but never made me feel like any goal was too big for me. I have found that the best way to support a community is to simply ask what they need. I want to learn from one’s lived experiences and the overlapping and interdependent discrimination they face, in order to support and advocate for them fully. I believe that through education and storytelling, we can cultivate social and legislative change for a more inclusive and just immigration system. My research hopes are to work with refugee and migrant shelters to interview people preparing to make the journey across the border to the United States and Mexican residents who are affected by migration. I want to play an active role in the community to gain trust and learn about their personal experiences. I hope to use their stories to raise and spread awareness of the difficulties immigrants face when making the journey to the United States.


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