Jessica Valdés García


Mentor: Dr. Berta Esperanza

College of Law

"I wanted to learn more about conducting research in the legal field, to expand my analytical reasoning and writing skills. I also wanted to highlight issues that have not been researched before."


Political Science and Portuguese


Latin American Studies

Research Interests

  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Women's Rights
  • International Law

Academic Awards

  • Honors Program (2015)
  • Askew Scholar (2016)
  • Reitz Scholars (2016)
  • University Scholars Program (2017-2018)


  • Bob Graham Center Student Fellows
  • Latino Educational Advancement program (HLA)


  • Hispanic-Latino Affairs (MCDA)
  • Reitz Union Storytelling Committee

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling
  • Reading
  • Exercising
  • Volunteering

Research Description

Intersectionality and Respectability Politics in the Life and Legacy of Mariana Grajales Cuello
This project looks at the life of Mariana Grajales Cuello, better known as the Mother of Cuba. It will focus on how the intersectionality of being both a woman and a person of color affected the life and legacy of the revolutionary icon. In the same way, the research will look into respectability politics in regards to the roles assigned to Grajales during the Cuban Wars for Independence. The research will utilize secondary sources such as books and articles about the life and legacy of Grajales. The main purpose of this research is to better understand how the marginalization of women and people of color affected the way that Mariana Grajales role was perceived during and after the wars. In order to do this, the research will look at pertinent law including constitutional, cultural, and international legal norms.