Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Boi (Gina) Casillas

Photo of Boi Casillas

Social Work: Integrative Health-Mental Health Practice


2020 Fellows

Hometown: Joliet, IL

Travel Locations: South Africa, Brazil, Trinidad, The United Arab Emirates

As a culturally mixed and non-binary person, Boi has been exoticised in their own country. Through the experience of being identified as various identities and cultures that are not theirs, they have learned the impact of exoticization, objectification, and patronization. Although misunderstandings are inevitable, it is a part of their ethic to treat others as experts of their own identity. Boi has a calling to use their strengths borne out of confusion, to forge a new path for mental health that focuses on that expertise. They hope to honor people who work to define their mixed identity. They challenge them-self to expand their ability to hold multitudes for others. As stated by Gloria Anzaldua, “To survive the Borderlands you must live sin fronteras (without borders), be a crossroads.” That is exactly what they intend to do. Boi intends to travel to places of cultural mixing such as South Africa, Brazil, Trinidad, and The United Arab Emirates.