María Cristina Fernández Escobar
ADVISOR: Jonathan Rosa
Class of 2021
María Cristina was born and raised in Guatemala City to a Guatemalan mother and a Cuban father. After spending a year between high school and college to give classes to Q’eqchi’ girls in Petén, Guatemala, she started the Anthropology program at la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. After her first year of college, she had to flee the country with her family due to threats against her mother who denounced a case of corruption.
María Cristina continued her education at the night school of Boston College where she got a BA in Sociology. During her time there she worked as a research assistant at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice (CHRIJ) working on projects with surviving communities of the genocide in Guatemala. While at BC, she also worked full time as a Housing Advocate at HomeStart, obtaining permanent housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Boston.
At her time at Stanford, María Cristina will focus on the decolonization of education in rural Central América, studying models of education that are built by and for indigenous communities with a focus on ancestral knowledge, their cultural practices, and history. She wants to understand the relationship between alternative education, community autonomy, and self-sustainability so that emigration and acquiescence to the capitalist market stop being necessary for economic survival. Her research will also do a deep exploration of what it means for her as a white mestiza from the city to be invested in contributing to the decolonization of indigenous education.