Professors Who Look Like You
Xóchitl C. Chávez
Professor of Music
Xóchitl C. Chávez's documentary short "Booming Bandas of Los Ángeles: Oaxacan Women and Youth as New Cultural Bearers of Philharmonic Brass Bands" focuses on second-generation Zapotec brass bands in Los Angeles County.
Full Professor of Playwriting
Rickerby Hinds introduced the genre of hip-hop theater to the world. In 1989, his play “Daze to Come” changed the dramatic arts forever as the first full-length play to use the founding elements of hip-hop as the primary language of the stage. Hinds’ subsequent works have empowered an entire school of playwrights to speak to the world in innovative ways.
Assistant Pro-fay of History
Jorge Leal is the curator of The Rock Archivo LÁ, an online collective repository that collects, shares, and examines Los Angeles Latina/o/x youth cultures ephemera. Leal is also co-curator and museum educator for the Boyle Heights Museum, an organization that preserves and celebrates the multiethnic history of LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood. As a cultural and urban historian, Leal’s research examines how transnational youth cultures have reshaped Southern California Latina/o/x communities in the late 20th century.
Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and English
Ricky Rodriguez wrote “Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics,” which won the 2011 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award. He specializes in Latina/o/x literary and cultural studies, film and visual culture, and gender and sexuality studies, and holds additional interests in transnational cultural studies, popular music studies, and comparative ethnic studies. His show, "Dr. Ricky on the Radio," can be heard weekly on KUCR.
Professor of Media and Cultural Studies
John Jennings won an Eisner Award for his co-creation of “Kindred,” a graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s work. As part of the duo Black Kirby, he has created art exploring the evolution of Luke Cage and is poised to run the comic imprint “Megascope,” by and about people of color.
Professor of Anthropology
Sang-Hee Lee won the Center for Ideas and Society’s Emory Elliott Book Award and the W.W. Howells Book Award from the American Anthropological Association for her book “Close Encounters with Humankind.” The best-seller offers fresh insights into humanity’s evolution and was named one of the Smithsonian’s 10 Best Science Books of 2018.
Professor of Music History
Walter Clark is the first UCR professor to be granted a knighthood by Spain. Devoted to the study of Spanish and Latin American music, he received the honor from King Felipe VI of Spain. He also established UCR’s internationally recognized Center for Iberian and Latin American Music, the only center of its kind in the world.
Grant Winners Who Earned 270K in National Endowment for the Humanities Grants
Claudia Holguín Mendoza and Jorge Leal: For a project to create new bilingual Latinx history courses and incorporate a bilingual pedagogical approach into additional Latinx studies humanities courses.
Liz Przybylski: For completion of a book and articles about indigenous hip-hop musicians, media professionals, and the concept of sonic sovereignty.
Sarita Echavez See: For research and writing leading to a book about contemporary Filipino American art and visual culture, and small businesses that create and exhibit visual culture through modes of inventive survival.
Two Guggenheim Fellows
Anthea Kraut is researching the uncredited labor of stand-in dancers known as “dance-ins” and the ways they contributed to the film industry’s upholding of white supremacy during the Golden Age of musicals in Hollywood.
Yunhee Min’s recently created an exuberant painting on the stairs of the Hammer Museum’s lobby. It is the first Hammer project to be displayed on the floor, rather than the walls.
Alumni Who Rise
Simon Tam won a landmark case at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2017. The court ruled unanimously in Tam’s favor.
“Dance rock band frontman Simon Tam sought to trademark The Slants. His aim was to reappropriate a term long used to disparage a minority group and to render the term a badge of pride. All of us agreed.”
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg
|Dexter Thomas won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 as part of the Los Angeles Times team that covered the 2015 San Bernardino mass shootings.|
|Jesse Melgar was press secretary for Governor Gavin Newsom when the pandemic struck.|
|Sabrina Cervantes represents California’s 60th Assembly District.|
|Gabriel Maldonado’s nonprofit TruEvolution is bringing care to vulnerable communities in the Inland Empire.|
|Fatima Farheen Mirza started writing her New York Times best-seller “A Place For Us” as a first-year student at UCR. It is the first book to be published by Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth.|
|Rachelle Cruz uses poetry to better understand the world and shape the next generation of writers.|
|Mark Takano is the United States Representative for California's 41st congressional district. In 2012, he became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to Congress.|
|Frank Bidart won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his book "Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016."|
|Nwaka Onwusa is the former director of curatorial affairs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.|
|Anthea Hartig was named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Hartig is the first female director since the museum opened in 1964.|
|Denise Verret was named CEO and director of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, becoming the first African American woman to lead a major U.S. zoo.|
|Steve Breen has won the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1998 and 2009, for his editorial cartoons.|
|Joe Kelly played earned World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. He is now a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.|
|Jamie Chung has acted in multiple projects including “This is Us,” “Lovecraft Country,” and “Dexter: New Blood.”|
|Larry Chung serves as vice president of local public affairs at Southern California Edison.|
|Besidone Amoruwa is the manager of strategic, content, and creator partnerships at Instagram (Meta).|
|Nicole Brown co-founded real estate development firm Kaest Development. Her project, Vinotech, received an Award of Excellence from the American Planning Association in 2020.|
|Jalysa Conway is a writer and producer, known for “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Last Kids on Earth.”|
|Nana Kaneko uses her love and knowledge of music to help preserve cultural heritage worldwide.|
|Brenda Martinez won a silver medal in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in 2013, becoming the first U.S. woman to medal in the race. In 2016, Martinez qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.|
|Francisco “Panchito” Javier Ramírez Rueda founded The Dreamers Soccer Clinic to serve underprivileged kids in north Los Angeles.|
|Angel Rodriguez was appointed by Governor Newsom in 2021 to the California Student Aid Commission.|