Phelps, a May 2015 graduate from Bowling Green, Kentucky, has a deep interest in immigrants’ rights. She is cofounder of Project Unbound, a student group working to raise awareness about human trafficking in and around Lorain County, and to raise funds for the Human Trafficking Collaborative of Lorain County. With previous study abroad experience in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, she says she applied for the Fulbright placement in Mexico because she felt it was crucial to become familiar with the country’s culture and history.
“My father used to be an archeologist in the Yucatán peninsula, where he excavated Mayan ruins. Since I was young, we have traveled to Mexico every few years, and he has passed down his admiration for its many rich indigenous cultures,” says Phelps, who majored in Latin American studies with a minor in politics and a peace and conflict studies concentration. In her time at Oberlin, Phelps has engaged in several teaching opportunities. She has been an instructor for Oberlin’s Spanish in the Elementary Schools (SITES) program for a year and a half; she served as a writing tutor for the Spanish 101 course; and in spring 2015, she served as a teaching assistant for Spanish 303, Conversation and Communication in Spanish. She also spent a summer in Ecuador teaching kids ages 4-13 a course called “Explorando el Mundo” and teaching English to the staff of a local nonprofit.
A Bonner Scholar and a member of the Interfaith Student Council, Phelps has participated in community service projects for various organizations, particularly the MAD Factory youth theater company, and she has helped organize the Interfaith Service Day for four years. After the nine-month Fulbright period, she intends to get involved with solidarity work with immigrant communities while applying for PhD programs in international relations with a focus on women’s rights.