Carnegie Mellon University women's cross country and track and field athlete Emily Joyce has her post-graduation plans set thanks to a Fulbright award she earned from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Joyce becomes the fourth athlete in three years to earn an award to continue her studies abroad and third to earn the Fulbright award.
Joyce is no stranger to studying abroad as she spent the 2016 spring semester in Colombia and interned in Argentina. A double major in International Relations and Hispanic Studies, Joyce planned her undergraduate coursework to focus on Latin America and especially Mexico.
With an intense interest in Mexico, border relations and U.S.-Mexico foreign policy, Joyce felt the Fulbright-García Robles Binational Business Internship Program was a perfect fit.
"Receiving a Fulbright award had been in the back of my mind since my sophomore year when my teammates on the cross country and track team [Erin Kiekhaefer and Sara Kelly] received the grants," said Joyce. "It was exciting and inspiring to hear about their experiences abroad and how it developed their perspectives and careers."
Joyce geared her application towards her interest in nonprofits, community building and her hope to take classes on economics to better understand migration patterns of Mexico and Latin America.
"During a course on the U.S.-Mexico border, I learned about the origins of this boundary and tracked its developments over time," said Joyce. "A Mexican history class expanded upon the country's complex narrative of conquest, diversity and foreign intervention."
In a research methods class, Joyce was assigned a semester long project to create a study design. She applied this to Mexico by designing a study to address inaccuracies of measuring border enforcement success.
"Even through these academic pursuits, my time spent interning in Argentina and study abroad in Colombia taught me that I will undoubtedly learn the most about Mexico by being there and connecting with people," said Joyce.
Although Joyce doesn't have her exact placement in Mexico set for the internship, she knows she'll be taking classes in economics at Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico. She's also looking forward to her role in the community.
"I plan to be a part of running groups and volunteer for centers housing migrants and refugees," said Joyce.
"I feel so lucky that I have been around strong female intellectuals on the team, who have inspired me to get involved in the campus and Pittsburgh community," Joyce added. "With their positive examples, I've learned to throw my hat into the ring and apply for big opportunities. I'm so proud of the academic and athletic excellence on my team, now and in generations before. Thanks to the community at CMU, my team, coaches, professors and peers I felt confident enough to really go for it and apply for the Fulbright Program despite the high competition and limited spots. They truly set a precedent. I think as student-athletes we learn that we have to put ourselves out there, even if it's terrifying."