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Elite Inaugural Fellowship Selects UNM Latin Americanist Faculty Member

April 23, 2019 - Victoria Pena-Parr, UNM Newsroom

Elite Inaugural Fellowship Selects UNM Latin Americanist Faculty Member


UNM’s Department of History Associate Professor Kimberly Gauderman was recently chosen as one of twelve inaugural recipients for the Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowship from the American Council of Learn Societies.

Founded in 1919, The American Council of Learned Societies has provided the humanities and related social sciences with leadership, opportunities for innovation and national and international representation. The Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowship offers faculty who teach and advise Ph.D students opportunities to serve as ambassadors for humanities scholarship beyond the academy and deepen their support for doctoral curricular innovation on their campuses.

“As a first-generation college graduate, like so many of our students at UNM, I believe this award also recognizes the contributions of scholars with diverse backgrounds and the importance of community engaged research,” said Gauderman.

Gauderman’s research project—called Practicing Asylum—is an interdisciplinary, scholarly and practical guide to expert witness testimony in asylum cases. The severity of violence in Latin America and Central America has grown in the last decade, scholars and Lawyers have collaborated to defend the due process rights of women, children and LGBTQ+ persons who have experienced domestic, sexual and gang violence in their home countries to claim protection through the US immigration system. Gauderman’s work combines contributions from experienced expert witnesses, asylum attorneys and immigration rights advocates to provide an account of the best practices to provide expert testimony for asylum cases.

“I have worked as an expert witness since 2010, and I want to acknowledge the support I have received from the UNM History Department for my research and teaching on Latin American immigration and the U.S. asylum system,” said Gauderman. “We live in harsh times; challenges for refugees to seek asylum have substantially increased in the last years. The goal of my book project is to encourage and provide guidance to academics who can provide accurate country condition reports to assist attorneys and immigration judges in their evaluations of individual asylum claims.”

Gauderman is an Associate Professor in the History Department. She joined the History Department in 1998 and served as the Departmental Undergraduate Advisor for nine years. She served as the Director of the UNM Latin American Studies Program for three years and is currently a Faculty Affiliate of the UNM School of Law. She is also an affiliate of the Latin American and Iberian Institute, which in April 2017 funded the Greenleaf Conference on Practicing Asylum: Expert Witness Testimony in Latin American Asylum Cases, co-organized by Gauderman and Elizabeth Hutchison.

Gauderman is also a Faculty Affiliate of the FLACSO-Quito. Since 2010, Gauderman has served as an expert witness for individuals seeking asylum from Andean nations and the Northern Triangle of Central America. She has also worked with attorneys across the nation to support those seeking asylum in the United States because of domestic, sexual, gang and political violence and threats to their gender identity and/or sexual orientation in their countries of origin.

Because of her expertise as an educator and expert witness, she was chosen by a consortium of law schools to teach in the Summer Law Institute at the Universidad de Guanajuato Facultad de Derecho in 2014. She regularly consults with and provides expert witness affidavits for law students in university immigration clinics across the country.

Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellows are selected through multi-disciplinary peer review on the basis of the strength of their projects and their commitment to connecting their community engaged scholarship with doctoral education at their institutions.

Each fellow is awarded a stipend of $75,000 plus $6,000 for research and project costs, as well as additional funding in the year following the fellowship for programming on the fellows’ campuses that promotes the public value of humanities scholarship.