Magdalena Fitipaldi, Dominican University of California

Magdalena FitipaldiMagdalena Fitipaldi, a senior at Dominican University of California, is committed to understanding the complex structural problems that inhibit social justice. Specifically, her research examines the barriers for women to participate in politics in Uruguay, despite its growing economy and stable democracy. Understanding the root problem of this issue ensures that solutions will be durable and sustainable. Her research is critical for our understanding of civic engagement in all democracies, and should help inform the political processes of numerous countries. Her service trips to Uganda and Mexico have informed her commitment to impact the civic engagement of all citizens in order to achieve social justice. Magda has demonstrated her leadership in and out of the classroom, and her generosity of spirit, intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm, and fearlessness inspires all who encounter her. She truly understands the value of her research and work for her family, for the extended community of Latino immigrants, and for the aim of creating a better future for those in developing countries such as Uruguay.
-Mary Marcy, President

My dedication to serve my community, both locally and abroad, and to find sustainable solutions to complex structural problems aligns with the vision of Frank Newman and the Newman Civic Fellows Award. During my time at Dominican University of California, I had the chance to travel to Uganda where I learned from individuals living there about the issues they face and worked together with them on sustainable projects focusing on agriculture and small business creation. Currently, I am working on a large scale research project studying the political participation of women in Uruguay. Despite the country´s growing economy, stable democracy, and regionally high Human Development Index, Uruguay lags far behind on female participation in politics. I believe that in order to find a durable and effective solution to this issue it is not enough to mandate a quota, rather, we must find the root of the problem. Relying on interviews with elite members of the Uruguayan Parliament, including the First Lady, and a massive survey to the general public with nearly 900 respondents, I hope to uncover the cause of this democratic deficiency and subsequently design an efficient solution to facilitate the participation of women in politics in Uruguay.
-Magdalena Fitipaldi