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The CIB Research Assistantships are dynamic opportunities for graduate candidates whose work is engaged with notions of borders and CIB initiatives. These student writers’ works align with CIB values, demonstrating rigorous thinking, inquiry, and scholarship in their creative work.

Artistic Development and Teaching Assistant

This candidate will work closely with CIB guests before and during their visits, studying their work, as well as contributing to the shape of CIB events and initiatives. In addition, under the umbrella of “Imagination in the Borderlands,” the candidate will work alongside the CIB director to design a new upper level undergraduate course informed by their own research and creative thesis questions. This is an exciting and innovative way for the CIB to broaden its perspectives and to share necessary experiences with our undergraduate student body.

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Matt Flores is originally from South Texas and received their BA in English from the University of Houston. They have received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Virginia G. Piper Center, and the Ideafund through Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts. Their published work can be found in Gulf Coast, Defunkt Magazine, and Houston Art's Alliance.

Archive Research Assistants

These fellows will work with the CIB team to imagine and structure a research project designed to deepen their current thesis work. Because of the rigor of their projects, they’ve been awarded research funds to travel to an archive where they will conduct research on their literary genealogy and creative interests (such as concrete poetry, indigenous song recordings, or collected letters of Latinx authors.) In addition, the students will give a public, in-process presentation on their research and creative thesis questions later in the academic year.

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Amber Blaeser-Wardzala is an Anishinaabe writer, beader, fencer, and Jingle Dress Dancer from White Earth Nation in Minnesota. A current Fiction MFA Candidate at Arizona State University, her writing is published or forthcoming from The Iowa Review, Joyland, Passages North, Tahoma Literary Review, CRAFT, and others. Blaeser-Wardzala is a 2022 Tin House Fellow and a 2021 Fellow for the Women’s National Book Association Authentic Voices Program. Her novel-in-progress was shortlisted for the 2022 Granum Foundation Prize. She is the current Nonfiction Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.

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Aída Esmeralda is a queer and interdisciplinary artist whose work grapples with the legacy of war and U.S. interventionism in Central America. Her research and artistic practice revolve around themes such as familial and cultural memory, medicine and health, dislocation and displacement, fractured ecosystems and landscapes, non-verbal language and meaning-making, and "official" documentation. Born and raised in Virginia, she is a daughter of the Salvadoran diaspora. She is an MFA poetry candidate at Arizona State University and Research Fellow for the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands. Her work has appeared in La Horchata Zine, Álastor, Granuja, SWWIM, Gulf Coast, and Palette Poetry.