Chicana/Latina Faculty Reveals What It Takes to Succeed

By Pauline Moc, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

On March 4, 2008, UCR's Chicana/Latina faculty gathered for the first time at UCR to mentor CHASS students on pursuing their academic careers. The panel consisted of Alicia Arrizon, Professor and Chair of Women's Studies; Amalia Cabezas, Assistant Professor of Women's Studies; Vanesa Estrada, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Tiffany Ana Lopez, Associate Professor of English; and Jennifer Najera, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies. Maria Franco-Aguilar, Director of Academic Preparation & Outreach, moderated the panel. This historical event brought wisdom that would benefit Chicana/Latina students interested in careers as academic scholars.

The seminar gave UCR's Chicana/Latina faculty the opportunity to share the roads to their careers and the obstacles they had to conquer to be as successful as they are today. The panelists climbed various barriers and overcame challenges ranging from financial hardships, lack of role models, family issues, gender bias, minority status, and/or lack of support. Although the panelists came from different backgrounds and experienced contrasting fortunes or misfortunes, they unanimously enjoy teaching at UCR. Arrizon encouraged students to strive for whatever they're passionate about with vigor.

Alicia Arrizon received her Ph.D. in Spanish (with an emphasis on 20th Century Latin America Literatures/U.S. Latino Cultures) at Stanford University in 1992. Arrizon's areas of academic interest stretches across Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies, Feminist Theory, Chicana(o) Latin American/U.S. Latino Literatures and Cultures, and Ethnicity, Race, Gender and Sexualities.

Amalia Cabezas received her B.A. in Women's and Latin American Studies at Claremont College and her Ph.D. in Ethnic and Women's Studies at University of California, Berkeley. Her areas of research include Ethnic Studies, Tourism and Leisure Studies, Sexualities Studies, and Women's/Feminist/Gender Studies.

Vanesa Estrada received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology at UCLA. Her fields of interest span across Social Stratification, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Demography, Urban Sociology, Social Policy, and Quantitative Methods. She has also earned various awards including the RAND Postdoctoral Fellowship in Populations Studies in 2007 and the NICHD Traineeship, California Center for Population Research in 2006.

Tiffany Ana Lopez received her B.A. from California State University, Sacramento and her Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara. Her research and classes mostly center on writing as a social document that enhances thinking about the connection between the self and culture. In 2004, Lopez was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Spain for her research on violence in Latina(o) literature.

Jennifer Najera received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of academic interest include the social relationships between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants; the history of Mexican immigration to the U.S.; the social and cultural incorporation of Mexican immigrants; and the theories and practices of Chicana feminism.

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