Daley Wins Fulbright Scholarship

Alumna will use award to study race relations in Ecuador

Shannon Daley C’09 discovered sociology in a freshman seminar called “Buying Beauty, Damning Ugly.” But it

was Professor Kesha Moore’s Introduction to Sociology in the spring of 2006 that got her hooked.  The course taught Daley about how race and class dictated who suffered the most following Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

“It made me see the world with a new set of eyes,” said Daley, who witnessed the devastation during a January 2006 relief trip.  A topographical map of New Orleans showed that poor minorities lived in the lowest-lying areas, which took the brunt of the flooding, while the city’s wealthier – and mostly white – residents lived on higher ground.

“Larger forces were determining people’s lives in such a devastating way,” Daley said.

The 2009 graduate’s interest in racial justice blossomed during her four years at Drew, where she researched black immigrant identity and assimilation in the U.S.

Daley, 23, is about to embark on research into race relations in Ecuador as a Fulbright scholar. Daley is headed to the city of Quito, where she will study whether urbanization has led to social mobility and political inclusion for Afro-Ecuadorians, whose ancestors were brought as slaves to the South American country. The Fulbright Scholarship, an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, will cover Daley’s living expenses for 10 months.

Former Drew Sociology Professor Carlos de la Torre, an expert on racism in Latin America, will be Daley’s mentor at La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO-Ecuador.)

Daley’s Spanish-language skills will be key to her research in Ecuador. She studied Spanish as a minor and spent a summer in Barcelona as part of Drew’s language and cultural immersion program.

Until her departure, Daley is interning in New York City with the nonprofit Fourth World Movement USA, whose president is Drew Professor Emeritus Charles Courtney.  Daley believes the work – bringing “street libraries” and collective art projects to underserved neighborhoods – is excellent preparation for her research project in Ecuador.

“Giving voice to those excluded from society is vital because they have so much to teach,” said Daley, who grew up in a single-parent household in a Boston suburb. After she completes her Fulbright research, Daley said she intends to get her PhD in sociology and work with people in Latino communities assimilating in the U.S.

###Posted: April 30, 2010