• Director of Graduate Studies, Education, Culture & Society
  • Associate Professor, Education, Culture & Society

Research Summary

My experiences inform my work as an educator and community engaged scholar. My scholarship engages issues of educational equity with interconnected inquiries: 1) Latinx ethnic/learner identities, 2) Family-school engagement, 3) Teacher education and 4) STPP & youth activism. My research draws from critical social theory, ecological systems theory, migration scholarship, Chicana feminist theory, and participatory action research.


  • Ph.D. , Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Project: ¿Derecho u Obligación?: Parents' and Youths' Understanding of Parental Legitimacy in a Mexican Origin Familial Context
  • Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Department of Human Development and Psychology, Harvard University
  • Teaching Credential: Bilingual Cross-Cultural Lang & Academic Dev, College of Education, California State University, San Marcos. Project: Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Multiple subjects: Language Arts and Social Studies
  • B.A. , LIberal Arts Minor: Spanish, California State University, San Marcos


My experience as a first generation Purépecha Xicana who entered US schools as a monolingual Spanish speaker, and grew up in a working-poor household along the San Diego-Tijuana border informs my work as an educator and community engaged scholar. I grew up in a mixed-status family, and know what it is like to navigate poor urban K-12 public schools and elite institutions of higher education. My lived experiences and my experiences as a previous middle school and high school teacher have shaped my research agenda, and have established my commitments to teaching and service in order to improve the access and quality of education for BIYOC and their families because they have often been excluded from the US educational system. In particular, my research focuses on Latinx young people, and especially those who have been racially profiled and academically tracked in schools. As a community-engaged scholar, activist, teacher, facilitator, and community member, I am committed to the intersectionalities of the ideals of educación, familismo and overall community well-being particularly as these pertain to equitable educational opportunities that create pathways to higher education. Institutions of higher education need to revise the way(s) we build sustainable and reciprocal bridges with historically marginalized communities of color—in particular, Latinx immigrants who are undocumented. As a Purépecha Xicana professor, I teach and mentor linguistically and culturally diverse students, including first generation college students with whom I share life experiences and who constantly enlighten my research, teaching and service.

My research focuses on the educational experiences of BIPOC. My research has several interconnected strands: 1) Latinx & immigrant students and their family’s navigational strategies in the U.S. educational system; 2) Family-school engagement and community-based research that focus on the ways that marginalized young people and their families transform engagement with schools; 3) Equitable, just and culturally sustaining praxis for preservice and in-service teachers, specifically to support educators who work with minoritized students and families. My research draws from critical social theory, ecological systems theory, a sociocultural view of development, migration scholarship, cultural assets frameworks, Chicana feminist theory, and participatory action research (PAR) approaches.