Mayra Tenorio is a Gates-Cambridge Scholar and master’s degree candidate in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her dissertation explores how indigenous women in Guatemala mobilize their bodies and communities to resist gendered violence and is informed by her time as a 2015 Watson Fellow. Her Watson project allowed her to spend a year documenting women’s stories of survival in eight countries and, along the way, join women and girls in their personal and local efforts towards gender equality. She led focus groups with female community leaders in the Dominican Republic, helped facilitate a leadership module for girls on the Peace Accords in Guatemala, planned campaigns with women’s collectives to decriminalize abortions in Argentina, and joined a female-led caravan defending indigenous land and food sovereignty in Canada. Mayra’s interests in gender research developed while she studied sociology and anthropology at Swarthmore College. As a Mellon Mays Fellow, she received research training and completed two research projects examining men’s role in gender equality, including an award-winning senior thesis on men’s friendships.
Outside of class, Mayra immersed herself in the vibrant advocacy efforts of her Latinx immigrant community, and served as a Student Academic Mentor, Green Advisor, and member of the Abuse & Sexual Assault Prevention Taskforce. She returned to her high school in Waukegan, IL, and co-led two series of leadership workshops for young women. She worked closely with students to facilitate Know Your Rights workshops for undocumented families, and chaperoned an exchange trip to South Dakota that brought together the historical struggles of Latinx and Lakota students. As a case manager, she helped working-class immigrants access public benefits and legal counsel, and prepare for the U.S naturalization exam. Mayra aspires to grow as a gender scholar and educator that brings women’s experiences and voices to the forefront. Currently, she is part of a student-led team evaluating a series of initiatives launched across Cambridge to prevent harassment and sexual assault misconduct. An avid podcast listener, Mayra is slowly organizing her archive of interviews with women from around the world to produce her very own show.