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Caitlin Daniel ’06
Fulbright Scholar, Bolivia, South America

Caitlin Daniel and friend, Bolivia, 2005

In February 2007, Caitlin Daniel will return to Bolivia, where she spent her junior year, to study the parental involvement among the country's Aymara in their children’s schools. The Aymara are an indigenous population who have increasingly moved to the country’s cities and enrolled their children in public schools. Daniel will live in El Alto, a city of about 850,000.

“I have been interested in education since high school,” says Daniel, “but became fascinated by issues in indigenous education when I took a J-term course in Lamas, Peru. Hoping to deepen my knowledge about this topic, I chose to study in La Paz, Bolivia, during my junior year.”

Daniel will specifically explore the relationships between indigenous families and school teachers and administrators. “As a sociology major at Smith, I had read about how differences in parent culture and school culture sometimes do not mesh,” she explains, “creating a disconnect that can negatively and differentially affect students of different class backgrounds.” Through observation and interviews with parents and school personnel, Daniel will compile data that may assist El Alto schools in educating their students.

“Anthropologists and sociologists have done substantial research about indigenous education in rural areas, but few researchers have investigated indigenous participants in urban education,” says Daniel. “I will share my research with Bolivians who work in education and educational policy so that they can put any relevant findings into practice.”

When she returns, Daniel plans to enroll in graduate school to study sociology with foci on class and education.


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