Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski

2018 Summer Fellow

Born in Ecuador but raised in San Francisco, Mollie loves to read absurdist theater and dance samba. In college, she worked as a research assistant at the Poverty and Inequality Research Lab in Baltimore, MD, where she interviewed single mothers, low-income renters, and homeowners about making ends meet. She currently works as a paralegal at the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in New York City.

Q&A with Mollie

What was a typical day like as a research fellow?
There is no “typical day” as a field researcher with the American Voices Project, and I was personally invigorated by the constant changes to my daily schedule. Your day might start off with a meeting, you might then recruit or do an interview, then come back and write up field notes. You adjust your day based on when your respondents can meet with you—maybe that’s at 6:30pm or 8:00am, maybe that’s at a Starbucks in town or in a car mechanic’s shop in the middle of the desert.

Tell us about some of your most memorable moments from this summer.
I talked with one man who had gone bankrupt over $6,000 worth of car damage. As a recent immigrant, he had few to whom he could turn to and no financial support system, so he struggled pretty much alone. It was hard to witness the results of a system that literally abandons the low-income population.

How has working with the American Voices Project impacted your career?
This year, I’m working at the ACLU with the women’s rights project, where I’m examining how laws work to disenfranchise women from all walks of life. Though I’m still debating whether I’ll aim to get a PhD in sociology or a law degree in civil rights litigation, I know that my work will always be connected to listening, understanding, and publicizing stories from the disenfranchised.

Read about other fellows’ experiences:

Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski Bio Photo (1).JPG
It’s a big responsibility and an honor to hear stories like this. My experiences talking to families this summer will stay with me for the rest of my life.