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Cougar Query: "Every time I travel, it changes the way I view the world"

Name: Carolina Núñez

BYU employee since: 2008

My job at BYU is… I have been on the BYU law school faculty since 2008, and I teach and write about immigration and citizenship law. I am also currently the law school’s Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs. My favorite part of that role is facilitating faculty research and helping students meet their academic goals.

Currently I’m working on… I have a couple of research projects in the works that are exciting, but the project I am most proud of is helping create the BYU Law School's Refugee and Immigration Initiative. My colleague, Kif Augustine-Adams, and I began taking law students to an immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas, in 2016. There, our students help women and children held at the largest detention center of its kind who are pending an initial review of their asylum claims. I love seeing students connect with the detained women and children and use the skills they are learning in law school to make a meaningful difference in individual lives. 

I get most excited about my work when… I can share it or collaborate with others. Research and writing can be rewarding and challenging in and of themselves, but there is no chance it will make a difference without me engaging with the broader world. I learn a lot from discussing my scholarship with others and from working with others to refine my projects. The same holds true in my administrative role – I always enjoy working together with colleagues to solve problems and to create opportunities for students and faculty. 

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Every time I travel, it …changes the way I view the world. I’m always surprised by the diversity and beauty of this planet and the people who inhabit it, as well as by how alike we humans are in all the ways that really matter.

If I have 10 minutes of free time, you will find me… reading travel blogs and looking for travel deals. If I have a few hours of free time, you will find me hiking. If I have a week of free time, you won’t be able to find me because I will be on a plane with my family on my way to explore a new country.

My go-to BYU Creamery ice cream flavor is… Is it okay not to have a go-to Creamery ice cream flavor? I’d really prefer to buy dark chocolate at the BYU Store.

My favorite spot on campus is… I can see the mountains east of campus through a window in the hall that leads to my office. If I need a break, I sometimes spend a minute or two looking out that window.

You’ll never find me without… Chapstick and strong opinions about fountain sodas. I believe sodas are best enjoyed as prepared, bottled and sealed at the factory.

Lately, I’ve been looking forward to… fall weather. But I’m not ready for winter yet, so there’s some tension for me in that sentiment.

My favorite TV show growing up was… I didn’t watch a lot of TV growing up, but I did play a lot of Nintendo games. Unfortunately, my Mario Brothers skills do not translate well into the modern video gaming world.

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to… My husband, Kendall, and I are trying to decide between Colombia and Chile for our next adventure. When we got married, we made a pact to visit one new country every year. Because I’m from Venezuela, we have often chosen destinations outside of South America, since that seemed too close to home. But I’ve been wanting to explore more of South America and connect with Venezuelans who have left Venezuela and its collapsing economy to settle in other parts of the continent.

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