People in conversation

Dialogue Used in Award-Winning Research on the Experiences of Migrant Women

Noemi Vega Quiñones, PhD, has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship for her project, “Migrant Women’s Agencies in Predominantly Spanish-Speaking Communities of California’s Central Coast: An Exploration of Faith, Ethical Negotiations, and the Burdens of Virtues.”

Quiñones’ dissertation raises up the lived stories of fifty Spanish-speaking migrant women. Through interviews and dialogue, the women explored the ethical choices they have had to make as they navigated violent and exploitative systems.

“My ethnography incorporates Reflective Structured Dialogue as a bonding method for women who have had similar experiences,” said Quiñones. “These dialogues provide community partners the space to reflect, process, and make meaning of potent and complex life events.”

Image: Louisville Institute 2024 Dissertation Fellow Noemi Vega Quinones

Quiñones elaborated that the equal time given to each participant and the level of confidentiality established as an agreement from the start create safe enough spaces for the women to share vulnerably about abuse, poverty, and exploitation. She is excited to see how the RSD model creates more opportunities for deeper connections outside of the dialogue. 

The dissertation further investigates the systemic violence that pressures migrants to make difficult moral choices, providing narratives that can contribute to both more ethical migration policies and to theologies of migration.

The Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship provides $35,000 grants to support the final year of dissertation writing for doctoral students whose research focuses on Christian faith and life, ministry, religious trends and movements, faith-based institutions, and religion and social issues. Quiñones’ is one of only twelve recipients out of more than one hundred applicants for the prestigious fellowship award.

A writer, translator, and editor, Daniel Pritchard serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Essential Partners.