GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellowship Spotlight: Jonathan Aguirre (GS, Spanish & Portuguese)

Oct. 22, 2021

In the GradFUTURES Spotlight series, Princeton graduate students share in their own words about their experiences in one of the GradFUTURES Fellowship programs: the Community College Teaching Fellowship Program, the University Administrative Fellowship Program, or the GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellowship Program. 


Where and when did your Fellowship take place?

I received a GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellowship at Choose New Jersey, and participated remotely in the summer of 2021.

Background

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Co-Founder of the Logische Phantasie Lab (Lo-Ph), a comprehensive research agency that investigates matters of environmental, legal, and racial injustice. I study the history of sustainable development projects in the Amazon and regional environmental justice movements. My objective is to document and narrate the political, economic, and cultural legacies of the climate crises.

What drew you to the GradFUTURES Fellowship and this particular Fellowship?

I was looking for an opportunity to conduct research with a team outside of my area of expertise, and the primary project to which I contributed was to conduct research on a potential new office for Choose NJ in South America.

Can you share a bit about the Organization and the projects to which you contributed?

My main responsibility was developing a white paper on Choose New Jersey’s new office location in South America. Through research on foreign direct investments and other economic factors, I researched what city in South America might be most beneficial and strategic for Choose New Jersey.

How did these experiences help you?

Learning how to conduct research with a fast turnover rate was a skill that I believe will help me a lot in my career.

My most memorable experience as a GradFutures Fellow at ChooseNJ was learning how to present evidence based recommendations to stakeholders outside of my discipline. I really valued the effort the ChooseNJ team invested in helping me conduct my research and the generative feedback they provided me. Though at first it felt daunting, their mentorship gave me the confidence to present research in new and compelling ways.

Can you share some reflections on the mentorship component of the Fellowship?

I met weekly with my mentor to discuss my fellowship and how to prepare for a career outside of academia. I also appreciated their generosity in connecting me with their networks. 

Best advice for Graduate Students considering a Fellowship through GradFUTURES?

The GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellowship Program allows students to put their research and pedagogical skills to the test in “real world” scenarios. I highly suggest graduate students take advantage of this opportunity and focus on building strong relationships with their mentors.

 

Read more GradFUTURES Fellowship Spotlights here!