Research

Advocating for Indigenous Women

Lucia Stavig’s research on forced sterilization is supported by her Royster Fellowship

Portrait of Stavig

Lucia Stavig’s research on forced sterilization is supported by her Royster Fellowship

With family roots in Peru and the United States, Lucía Isabel Stavig ’22 (Ph.D.) grew up traveling to visit family and spending time with Indigenous people in the Andes. When she found out how a dictator forced sterilization among hundreds of thousands of Indigenous women in the mid-1990s, she described feeling enraged by what she had learned.

“I had spent parts of my childhood with these women,” Stavig said. “It broke my heart, and I wanted to do something about it.”

That moment of recognition led her to conduct research in Peru by listening to women and the effects that sterilization had on their lives. Her research also covers issues of racism and sexism within the medical establishment in Peru.

“When one person is harmed, that harm radiates out into their community. But fortunately, so can healing. They still love, they still laugh, they still have dreams. And I wanted to focus on that,” said Stavig.

As part of the Royster Society of Fellows, Stavig said she’s been able to work with some of the most amazing minds of her generation.

“I’m constantly awed and humbled by their social commitment, their innovation, and their brilliance,” she said. “Having the Royster elevated my level of scholarship and my ability to engage wholeheartedly with people in Peru. It really has meant everything.”

The Royster Fellowship — created through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Royster in 1996 — is the premier doctoral recruitment fellowship at Carolina, providing funding, networking and professional development opportunities.

Read more about Stavig’s research and experience at Carolina…Opens in new window

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