Posted on April 1, 2024 by Amanda Cerreto

María Verónica Elías, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration in UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP), has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador. Each year, a select group of Ambassadors - representing the full spectrum of U.S. academic disciplines, higher education institutions, and geographic regions - are selected competitively to present information on their Fulbright experience at campus workshops, academic conferences, and other venues.

Over a two-year period, Ambassadors play a very important role in promoting Fulbright grants to other faculty and campus administrators and raising the visibility of the program nationally. Travel and other expenses of the Ambassadors are supported through private funding raised by trustees and donors of the Institute through IIE’s Fulbright Legacy Fund.

mv-elias.jpeg“I look forward to sharing my experience as a Fulbright Scholar Alumna and promoting Fulbright programs with the UTSA community, other institutions of higher education, and the general public,” Elías said.

Elías studies migration and border governance. She explores U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border policy and management through the lens of those who patrol the border and those who cross it. During her Fulbright in 2022, she researched Canada’s border management during the COVID-19 pandemic at the University of Ottawa’s Center on Governance, through the study of policy stakeholders’ narratives. Her research shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic fostered swift policy changes and how different publics acted. The experience was life and career-changing: Elías decided to further explore the treatment of first responders and essential workers by government and their integration in society.

After visiting Argentina as part of the Fulbright Western Hemisphere Research Regional Travel Program, Elías became affiliated with the GEFRE (Study Group on Borders) at the University of Buenos Aires, and she has gone on to conduct further study of border issues in Latin America since returning to the United States. She has presented her research at four international professional conferences and published three journal articles on border policy. In San Antonio, she shares her Fulbright experience at university-wide events.

“We were already so proud of Dr. Elias for having completed her Fulbright time in Canada,” said Lynne Cossman, dean of HCAP.  “For her to be recognized by Fulbright for her work and asked to participate again as an Alumni Ambassador is an honor for her, the department, the college and UTSA.”

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, supports more than 800 U.S. faculty and professionals each year to teach or conduct research in over 135 countries around the world. Since 1989, more than 80 UTSA faculty members have been selected as Fulbright Scholars.

— Amanda Cerreto