CFD Team Spotlight: Isabella Trombetta, Postdoctoral Associate

The Newsletter Team set down for an interview with our Postdoctoral Associate, Isabella Trombetta, for an interview about her work, passions, hobbies, and special CFD projects. The transcript of our interview is below.

CFD: Tell us a bit about yourself:  

    I am from Reggio Calabria, a beautiful city in the south of Italy, right across from Sicily. I lived in Rome and Montreal, and I moved to Boston in 2020 during the last year of my Phd in Global Studies. I am a migration scholar, but before that, I was an NGO worker in the Central Mediterranean Sea and in Italy. My current book project is on maritime borders in the Central Mediterranean and how they shifted in light of the “migration crisis”.

    CFD: What is your role within the Center?


    I am currently a Postdoctoral associate here at CFD.

    CFD: What experiences most directly lead you to your role with the Center?


    The incredible community I found at BU while finishing my Ph.D. program is what mostly led me to look for opportunities here. And I feel lucky to be part of this team that is building an unprecedented intellectual space and hub for scholars from all disciplines to approach the study of migration and forced displacement. 

    CFD: What inspires you about this work? 


    I must say, I can’t pinpoint one single thing that inspires me because I do believe that every day is a chance to find new inspiration. That said, having worked in the field before academia gave me the possibility to witness how migration and borders impact people’s lives. It is always a strong reminder that behind papers and research, there are first of all people.

    CFD: Tell us about some of your passions and hobbies outside of academia. What makes you you? 

    This might make me guilty of perpetuating stereotypes of southern Italians…but I do love cooking and baking, especially if it is for hosting big family and friends gatherings on the weekends! I also love traveling, whether that means visiting new exciting places or just relaxing in Italy with my family. 

    CFD: What is your current passion project with the Center you would like to highlight? Why does this project resonate with you?


    I am working on the targeting of NGOs and activists at the US/Mexico border and at the European southern border. I am very close to this project because I worked on board of the rescue boat Aquarius in the Summer of 2017 when European governments first started taking action against NGOs and public opinion started shifting against activists helping survivors. Then just last March I had the pleasure of being part of the Center’s Border Studies Program in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, which gave me the opportunity to connect with incredible people working at the US southern border.

    CFD: What drew you to this position? 

    The possibility to work in this amazing interdisciplinary team that is always looking for ways to connect academia, art, and activism in the field of migration. 


    CFD: Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I am a big Model UN nerd!