Women's History Month: Stephanie Huezo

Resilient Ph.D. student embodies IU Bloomington’s spirit of generosity

For most doctoral students, losing a parent and having to become the guardian of two younger siblings would have affected their studies. Not Stephanie Huezo.

After her mother’s tragic death in 2015, the Bronx, N.Y., native not only brought her two brothers to live with her in Bloomington while pursuing a Ph.D. in History and minoring in Latino Studies, she’s thrived, giving back to the campus and local community, and excelling academically.

Huezo, whose family hails from El Salvador, has made a significant impact on the community, both on campus and in Bloomington, by participating in events at the La Casa Latino Cultural Center, becoming a member of the Latino/a Graduate Student Association and the Emissaries for Graduate Diversity Program, joining a local Catholic church (where she sings in the choir and has become the godmother to the daughter of another member of the congregation), and volunteering with local organization Escuelita Para Todos. Among the honors she’s received since coming to IU Bloomington include the 2016 John H. Edwards Fellowship, the 2016 Won Joon Yoon Scholarship, the 2017 Rev. Ernest Butler Humanitarian Scholarship, and the Bloomington Volunteer Network’s 2017 Be More Award.

Although she’s had to make some sacrifices to care for her brothers—one of whom will be an IU Bloomington freshman in the 2017-18 academic year—Huezo wouldn’t change a thing.

“I chose IU because of the community, support and financial stability, but at first, being in Bloomington was hard,” said Huezo, who is spending the summer of 2017 in El Salvador and Washington, D.C., conducting research for her dissertation on Salvadoran history. “But by the end of my first year, I felt like I found my community inside and outside the university.

“Moving to Bloomington was a hard transition for my brothers and I, and if it wasn't for my Bloomington community, I don't think I would have been able to accomplish all that I have,” continued Huezo, who already has a position lined up after graduation as a fellow at Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian Museum. “People say it takes a village to raise and child and I've learned here that it does.”