P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Natalia Reyes, 2018

MFA, University of Iowa

Natalia Reyes is the child of immigrants from Mexico

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MFA in English at University of Iowa

Natalia Reyes was born in Indio, California to immigrants from Michoacán, Mexico. Her father graduated from a university-preparatory school, but he could not afford university tuition. As a result, he sold the family refrigerator to pay for his passage to the United States. Natalia’s parents’ experiences and sacrifices sparked her desire to honor the complexities of immigrant lives through research and writing.

At UC Berkeley, Natalia earned a BA in Rhetoric with a concentration in Public Discourse and a minor in Creative Writing. Motivated by her belief in a more just world, Natalia became a Communications Fellow with the Othering & Belonging Institute. She was also a leader for a nonprofit student housing cooperative and an Arts & Culture writer for The Daily Californian. An interest in legal humanities led Natalia to research the impact of human rights discourse on reproductive rights rulings in Colombia with Professor Alisa Sanchez. Natalia’s award-winning honors thesis on the rhetoric of Chicano literary criticism helped to further spark her interest in scholarship and storytelling.

Now, Natalia is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation focuses on the emergence of brownness as a racialized and cultural form in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries with an emphasis on legal and literary discourses. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, the University of the Arts, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Education
  • MA English | University of Pennsylvania 2022
  • MFA English | University of Iowa 2019
  • BA Rhetoric, Creative Writing | University of California, Berkeley 2016
Awards
  • Outstanding Honors Thesis Award, Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley | 2016
  • Leadership Award Scholar, California Alumni Association, University of California, Berkeley | 2014
  • Student Mentoring and Research Teams (SMART) Grant, Graduate Division, University of California, Berkeley | 2014
  • Summer Fellowship, Othering & Belonging Institute | 2014
  • Award for Excellence in Arts Journalism, The Daily Californian Alumni Association | 2012
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