Going the Extra Mile

Sept. 4, 2020

Cross-departmental collaborations bring outstanding students to UArizona campus.


In a fall 2020 enrollment update from the College of Fine Arts, we learn that faculty and staff from several departments, including Arizona Global's Lara Pfaff, a program director with International Student Services, went the extra mile this summer in assisting an international student from Tijuana, Mexico, as she navigated the process of getting to Tucson for the start of classes last month. It is through cross-departmental collaborations like this that we can bring outstanding students and greater diversity to our Tucson campus. Join us in welcoming Mariel Miranda to the #globalwildcats family!

Going the Extra Mile

School of Art Professor David Taylor and many others went that extra mile assisting an incoming first-year MFA student Mariel Miranda from Tijuana, Mexico. Miranda had difficulty obtaining an F-1 visa, eventually arriving in Tucson on Aug. 23, just in time for the fall semester.

Miranda is a recipient of a 2020 Jumex Scholarship, 2019 FONCA grant, and the 2019 Second Sight Award; and is an incoming University Fellow. A contemporary photographer, she is the founder/director of the Tijuana International Festival of Photography. Her work incorporates photography’s history and its complex social, class, racial, and gender power relations currently at play in national and transnational spaces such as the U.S.-Mexico and Mexico-U.S. border.

>> VIDEO: A Mariel Miranda Studio Visit

Taylor, co-chair of the Photography, Video and Imaging program, wanted to recruit her, even while on sabbatical. He had an able team of colleagues ready to help, led by Professor Sama Alshaibi that included Megan Bartel (School of Art graduate advisor); David Bradshaw (Graduate Center assistant director); Lara Pfaff (Global Center program director) and others, who assisted with emergency letters, phone calls, emails, strategy consultations, recommendations and applications.

“Given that the previous week she was in Mexico City, and still had not obtained a visa, greeting her at arrivals at the Tucson airport was nothing short of momentous,” Taylor said.

“The outcome not only reflects well on our collective determination to persevere but, importantly, on Mariel and her unbounded tenacity and optimism. She made multiple attempts to get passport and visa appointments in Tijuana and San Diego. She was turned back at the border after being held in secondary inspection, but was ultimately able to get a passport appointment in La Paz, and finally obtained her visa in Mexico City by virtue of her persistence.

“Needless to say, she is special and we are fortunate to have her here as a University Fellow and in the College of Fine Arts/School of Art.”

This excerpt appears on the College of Fine Arts website, published on 9/4/2020,