Lumberjack heading to Princeton for the PPIA Junior Summer Institute

head shot of Sophia Zuniga

What can we say, the Lumberjack community is full of stars! Sophia Zuniga, a junior studying anthropology with an emphasis in socioculture, was selected to attend the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellowship Program at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.  

The JSI Fellowship Program was designed to address the need for more diversity across the spectrum of professional public service. This fully funded opportunity equips fellows with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in graduate school and, ultimately, in influential roles serving the public good. Throughout her tenure at NAU, Zuniga has dedicated much of her time to begin working towards public service.  

Since her sophomore year, Zuniga has been working on her own research, “The Health and Political Effects of COVID-19 on Latiné Migrants of the Rio Grande Valley communities,” under the supervision of Joseph G. Moreno, director and associate teaching professor in the department of Ethnic Studies. This research project contextualizes the political, health and social effects and impacts of COVID-19 among Latina/o migrants in Rio Grande Valley communities, combining a review of scholarly literature on Mexican and Latina/o migrants among the South Texas border region, Zuniga’s home region, with a reading of news reporting on how this population group has been affected by the pandemic. 

After graduation, Zuniga plans to attend graduate school and pursue a double masters in both Public Health and Public Policy. 

“With this education I hope to work for agencies like the CDC, WHO or the NIH in hopes of working on and implementing non-biased research that will help improve our health institutions for marginalized individuals and people of color,” she said. 

Zuniga also noted that programs at NAU, like Intern-2-Scholars (I2S), have deeply influenced her during her time as a Lumberjack.  

“The Interns-to-Scholars program has helped me learn the process of conducting research and has helped me prepare myself for my future aspirations as a researcher. My mentors and the guidance under I2S have opened so many doors for me in the way that I have been able to get accepted into other internships like the PPIA summer institute at Princeton.” 

NAU Communications