Daniela Palacios (She/Her)

Student, Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Leadership & Research Scholar


Columbia University

Laidlaw Cohort Year


Research Topic

Criminology & Criminal Justice Education

Area of Expertise


I am from:

United States of America

I speak:

English Portuguese Spanish

My hobbies/interests are:

Foreign languages Podcasts Swimming Volunteering

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes


Influencer Of


Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

Jun 17, 2023
Replying to Aleena Garrison

I don’t have any immediate expectations of my research, but I know that my research will be a part of a book. The research gives my faculty member context to add to new and old chapters of her forthcoming book. It also serves as a reference guide for when she ultimately begins to promote the book, so she is more informed about the kinds of things to say about the continued relevance of divas past and present. I am excited that I’ve been able to be a part of the writing process of my faculty member because she lays out exactly how my research will help her.

I can’t believe it’s already been a month. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done, but also not nearly as much as I thought I would’ve completed. I’m really enjoying my research though. My faculty member lets me continue researching things that I find interesting that are still relevant to her project, even if I was only supposed to work on the research for a week. I really appreciate that my perspective matters even though I am helping with someone else’s project. My research matters because it is about a topic often overlooked in academia. I’ve experienced this first-hand as a lot of my research comes from modern media instead of traditional books and article archives. My research is a part of my faculty member’s larger project of writing a book about her life in relation to divas. It is both personal and informative, I feel that she really captures the spirit of the divas she writes about in relation to an aspect of her life as a woman of color. This will open up a space in academia for something that some wouldn’t consider “scholarly”, but my faculty member aims to show that it is and that it rightfully deserves a spot in academia. The overarching questions that I am researching this summer are about the impact of divas on girlhood and the legacies they leave after their prime. I find this super interesting because I get to learn more about divas and their lives as well as see what they think of their own legacies because some are still alive today.

Aleena, it is awesome that your faculty mentor lays out the structure of how your research fits into her book. I find it so interesting that you are looking into modern media because that is also a valid research method and I am glad you enjoying the research process too.

Jun 17, 2023

1. My immediate expectations that I have more of my research are that I will be able to provide background information and the relevance of the idea of “emerging adults” as created by the Columbia Justice Lab. I also want to provide examples of the lack of educational access to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals and the nuances in providing prison education. I hope to have a compilation of interview questions that can be used to further understand the experience of emerging adults in prison postsecondary education programs.

2. My research matters because emerging adults are still not a heavily research age group within the incarcerated population. It is important to recognize how incarcerated individuals have long been denied access to education and specifically higher education. Focusing on the college and prison partnerships and the value of education in connection to recidivism and sense of identity is a way to work towards criminal justice reform.

Jun 08, 2023
Replying to Joseph Karaganis

1. My research mostly consists of interviews, which are always attached to larger social and ethical questions about the relationship between the interviewer and interviewee. In the context of my own work, this has not been a huge issue--I am interviewing adult journalists who are entirely aware of how I intend to use their answers, and who themselves have a good deal of experience conducting interviews. Since my interviews don't involve personal information, navigating issues surrounding appropriate topic areas has also been easier. Still, I think it is important for me to consider how I take in the information I'm given--am I representing their answers, and their ideas, faithfully? I hope that I am, but that reckoning is a continuous process that will involve close and careful examination of the conversations I've had and the ideas I've taken away from them.

2. I've actually encountered quite a few--I've realized that as I conduct interviews I've been constantly exposed to new ways of thinking about and conceptualizing my research. My topic has become broader, more nuanced, and more complex with each conversation, since the people I've talked to have each brought their own perspective and ideas to the mix. I'm not entirely sure how to incorporate these ideas into my work all the time--it can be very daunting to shift focus this far into my research, and I'm not sure that I totally will. But my topic's edges have become increasingly blurred as new tensions and insights have infiltrated my project. I'm trying to embrace this change because I think it is part of a necessary process of intellectual growth and self-reflection. But that doesn't mean it isn't intimidating.

Joseph I can certainly relate to your second point about finding an abundance of relevant information that one wishes to add to their original thesis. My research has also taken me into spaces and fields I did not expect and at times it can feel as though I am entering down a rabbit hole and it might not be the most productive. I think leaning on our faculty and graduate mentors can be especially important in times like these. 

Jun 08, 2023
  1. What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

Some of the ethical issues I am grappling with as I am researching in-prison education programs are disparities in educational access and enrollment rates among different ethnic and racial groups within the incarcerated emerging adult population. It is important to take into account the developmental transition to reaching adulthood to improve a prison education model. The notion of funding can also pose ethical dilemmas as there is a debate surrounding the efficiency of punishment-oriented approaches compared to in-prison postsecondary education programs when promoting public safety.  

  1. As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project

As I continue my investigation I have considered the blind spot of education regarding digital learning tools and practices. Especially during the pandemic I have found that many of these postsecondary education prison programs went completely remote and I would like to further explore how the role of technology impacts sense of self. It would be interesting looking at fields like neuroscience to better understand this concept, hence further embracing an interdisciplinary approach. 

Jun 02, 2023
Replying to Kashish Kumar

1.  Interacting with students from different disciplines has exposed me to a variety of perspectives, methodologies, and approaches to problem-solving in a research setting. This exposure has helped me think beyond the boundaries of my own area of research. It has encouraged me to consider alternative viewpoints and innovative solutions I might not have explored otherwise. The exposure to different research areas has encouraged me to delve deeper into topics outside of what I have previously been exposed to. This past week has been invaluable in shaping my academic interests and inspiring me to pursue interdisciplinary research further.

2. Strong communication with mentors and informed collection of data are key takeaways from last week that have guided my involvement so far. I have found that the universities computing and database resources are especially helpful to my area of translational study. Also, connecting with my mentor to discuss different methodologies under the same goal or research question has broadened my understanding of the field. 

I liked that you mentioned using different methods to reach the same goal and how you emphasized the importance of leaning on our faculty mentors. It can be helpful to approach one's research question from a slightly or completely different angle and our mentors can support us in doing so. 

Jun 02, 2023

1. The interdisciplinary nature of Laidlaw and my peers' diverse interests and project topics has helped me think more comprehensively about my own research topic. I have grown a greater appreciation for how data collection and quantitative methods are also applicable to humanities and social science research. I am now more interested in exploring theoretical models in my research as these types of frameworks can be useful guides to understand and analyze complex social phenomena.

2. From the Faculty Roundtable last week, I learned that I should embrace the research process and let the data guide me to craft my research question as that is key.  The research guides and Librarian Roundtable helped me feel more conformable navigating online media platforms like CLIO and Zotero. I have been able to begin developing a literature review which will enable me to contextualize my research and add to the ongoing conversations between experts.  

May 22, 2023
Replying to Kelly Aika Yoshimura
  1. What do you hope to learn about leadership--your leadership, leadership in general, etc.-- through the Laidlaw program?

I hope to learn how to approach leadership by combining different perspectives on community-building and ethical research methods. I enjoy communicating with people from diverse backgrounds and through Laidlaw's network I will be able to take advantage of a broad range of ideas as well as understand how I can maximize my platform/voice. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

One of my first steps is to develop a schedule and set up a meeting with my faculty advisor. Some of the challenges that come to mind include the methodology of research-- being able to reach out professionally to people, set up interviews, questionaries, etc. I would like to better explore my options within my topic, as well as make a reasonable and specific research question that can be achieved during the program. 

Kelly I really liked your answer for the first one because I also would like to do some interviews and gather testimonials from formerly incarcerated individuals. Some things like informed consent, sensitivity to trauma, and validating experiences can definitely be key.

May 22, 2023

1. I hope to learn how to lead in a way that creates a sustainable impact in the intended community and also within the team I am working with. 

2. Some questions I have regarding my research project is how to extract relevant information from legal documents and policy, as well as how the reliability of data and considering policy changes in New York State. I intend to do a general research on NYS and focus on existing education policies that are targeted towards my population of interest.