Thursday, June 6, 2024

As UTSA’s first Jefferson Fellow, Navarro to advise State Department

As UTSA’s first Jefferson Fellow, Navarro to advise State Department

JUNE 6, 2024 — The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has selected Sharon Navarro, professor of political science in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts, as a 2024-2025 Jefferson Science Fellow. Navarro is one of nine in the country to receive this prestigious fellowship and the first from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The NAS is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars who provide science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations. The Jefferson Science Fellows Program is designed to further build on that effort.

Navarro joins the 21st class of fellows selected since the program was created in 2003 as an initiative of the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. She will begin her year-long fellowship at the State Department in Washington, D.C. this fall.

“As a Jefferson Science Fellow, I am assigned to the Office of International Labor Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,” she said. “This particular office looks at policy about those three topics, and my role is to gather data based on labor and human rights issues regarding women, adopt a position paper, and offer advice on how to better understand the issues or how to pursue some type of policy initiative.”

She will be working with and learning from different countries during State Department meetings and discussions to see how she can use her expertise to assist the department with their understanding of what is happening in other countries.

“The experience you can gain from this fellowship and bring back to your students and to your classroom is a fabulous opportunity.”

Navarro has been with UTSA since 2002, and her research and area of expertise focuses on women in politics, urban and ethnic politics, minority politics, Latinx politics, and how these political systems can contribute to the quality of democracy.

A highly regarded authority on Latinas in American politics, Navarro’s most recent scholarly publications include “Latino Political Power” (2023) and “The Color of COVID-19: The Racial Inequality of Marginalized Communities” (2022), which scrutinize the intricate nexus of race, ethnicity, and political dynamics. Her scholarly portfolio also includes seminal works such as “Latinas and the Politics of Urban Space” (2020) and “Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of the American Judiciary” (2018).

“This fellowship sounded like a good opportunity to make a contribution outside of higher education, and my expertise will be beneficial while I’m in D.C. working with the State Department,” Navarro said. “My hope is to learn more about how minority groups can participate and enhance democracy, how governments and nongovernmental organizations can enhance democracy, and I can bring that back to my research with minorities in the United States.”

Jon Taylor, professor of political science and department chair of the UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography, expressed his excitement for Navarro’s fellowship and the impact this opportunity will have on her and UTSA.

“This fellowship only underscores Dr. Navarro’s national and international recognition as a scholar in political science — one who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of Latino/a politics, women in politics, and the role of race in American politics,” Taylor said. “I foresee Dr. Navarro leveraging her fellowship to develop new paths of collaborative research projects with faculty and students at UTSA. I’m looking forward to hearing about her time in Washington and the profoundly important work that she’ll do as a Jefferson Science Fellow.”

Learn more about Sharon Navarro on her UTSA bio page and about the National Academy of Sciences.

Navarro, who will spend the next academic semester in Washington D.C., is encouraging her academic peers to apply for future fellowships with the NAS.

“Hopefully more colleagues will be aware that this is a fellowship that they can pursue because it’s open to all fields — science, literature, history, etc.,” she said. “The experience you can gain from this fellowship and bring back to your students and to your classroom is a fabulous opportunity.”

Michelle Gaitan

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