Jaela Hardin, who will graduate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on May 20 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, has been awarded a 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to conduct psychological research in Costa Rica.
A graduate of Gering High School, Hardin is a Regents Scholar and member of the University Honors Program. As an undergraduate researcher since 2019, she has focused on violence against women in her research projects with Nebraska’s Trauma, Violence and Abuse laboratory. She is also vice president of the university’s chapter of Psi Chi, an international psychology honor society, and has earned Dean’s List honors six times.
In 2021, Hardin received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad at the University of Valencia. While in Spain, she engaged with neighbors in her new community, using the local language in daily life to complement her Spanish minor at Nebraska. Hardin’s advanced Spanish language proficiency and cultural competence will be vital to success in her Fulbright research experience, allowing her to build trust and rapport within Costa Rican communities.
Hardin has also developed interpersonal communication and intercultural competence skills as a family engagement specialist and lead youth development specialist at the Malone Community Center in Lincoln. She will use these strengths to build mutual understanding in Costa Rican communities.
As a Fulbright student, Hardin will assess the international applicability of scales and measures designed to evaluate the prevalence and impact of sexual violence and sexual trauma against women. Her research will be conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Women’s Studies at the National University in Costa Rica. Hardin said she treasures this opportunity to observe the approaches of Costa Rican researchers and engage in cross-cultural dialogue.
In the long term, Hardin hopes her academic work will contribute valuable insights and advance cooperation among scholars, activists and lawmakers who focus on violence against women as a global issue. Upon her return to the United States, she plans to pursue further research opportunities as a doctoral student in a clinical psychology program.
At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Director Courtney Santos at email@example.com.