Meet Karem Delgado: One of UCIs 2020 H.O.T. Fellows!

Highlighting our Humanities Out There Fellows ahead of Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is this week, April 26th. Please consider giving to the School of Humanities Dean’s Excellence Fund (, which supports exciting opportunities for emerging scholars like Karem.
Karem Delgado is a 5th year Ph.D. student studying Spanish and Portuguese at UCI

At Orange County Environmental Justice Organization (OCEJ), I worked on the LeadFree Santa Ana Project and the Environmental Justice Organizing Academy. As a humanities scholar, I was able to bring a human touch to a very scientific-oriented field. For example, I was able to use my language skills to speak to Spanish speakers about the soil lead contamination in many parts of Santa Ana and communicate the results of this science research in a culturally meaningful way by using my native language.

Cross-disciplinary work is important for humanities students because it allows us to engage in social work on a practical level. Sometimes I get so caught up in literary and historical texts that I forget to engage in public social matters that affect my Latino/a/x community. OCEJ allowed me to use my Spanish language skills to communicate and raise awareness of important environmental issues to Latin/os/as/x in Santa Ana. This experience has kindled the practice of public social work that I hope to continue while earning my doctorate degree and become a university professor.

The rewards of being a H.O.T. fellow were also important. As a first-generation Latin American immigrant to the US, it is important for me to help my own disadvantaged community to live better, healthier lives in this country. OCEJ is working so that Latinos/as/x of Orange County can live in healthier and safer environments and I am proud to have been an OCEJ fellow this summer.

Last summer, I almost did not become a fellow, because I thought my aptitudes were better suited, and only suited, for the positions in editing, writing and research within academia. This internship pleasantly proved me wrong. I now know I can also work in, edit, write, and research in public social work projects, and that this work is equally valuable.