Great Work by LALS Undergraduate Students

Here you can get a a little sample of what our LALS Undergraduates are doing outside of the classroom (locally and abroad), who they are and where LALS is taking them.


    Working with Education

  • Lester Telon Cruz - Intern at EAOP

    Lester Telon Cruz is a senior majoring in Latin American & Latino Studies and Politics.

    Here what he has to say about his internship:

    "I am currently interning at the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville.
    Working at the school is a great experience because I am able to help underserved students better prepare for university through mentoring and tutoring. I currently work with 9th graders, and it is fulfilling being able to counsel, offer advise and better prepare them for the rest of high school and college. Aside from that I also do clerical work around the office, and I am learning skills to better prepare me for the job market after I graduate."

    Lester is also going to participate in an abroad program in Brazil, in 2019.
    We are excited to hear about that when he returns.

  • Twice Abroad? Yes!

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    Mexico and Spain

    Jessica Ramos-Villasenor really took advantage of having abroad experiences.

    She participated in a program at UNAM in Mexico, then a few quarters later, she also attended another program in Barcelona, Spain.
    With a lot of will and planning (see your advisors!), that feat is very possible!

    Here she talks about her experience in Mexico:

    " ¡Gracias México! Gracias por todos los tacos de canasta, chilaquiles verdes cada fin de semana, churros rellenos de chocolate y recuerdos que me diste. Gracias por darme la oportunidad de conocer nueve estados diferentes. Gracias por permitirme abrir mis alas y vencer tantos miedos. Gracias por darme la oportunidad de estudiar en la máxima casa de estudios y poder sacar 10 en todas mis materias. Gracias por cuidar de mí y poner en mi camino a personas que marcaron mi vida de una manera muy muy especial. Al principio llegué a México con muchos miedos que nunca JAMÁS en la vida pensé posible vencer. Estos seis meses me ayudaron a reflexionar, aprender, crecer, madurar y sobre todo querer de verdad. Me fui muy triste y con lagrimas en mis ojos, pero también me voy muy satisfecha de saber que este fue el lugar que me dio la valentía y la fuerza de crecer como persona. Dejo mi corazón aquí y sé que aquí no acaba mi amor por ti. De aquí en adelante serás mi casa y el lugar donde realmente aprendí lo que es el amor, la felicidad, la paz y la humildad verdadera. Gracias por los 180 días más hermosos de mi vida. México, te amaré por SIEMPRE! No me olvides, porque de que regreso, regreso!!! Y eso te lo prometo. "

  • UCDC

  • jesse gonzalez

    National Security and International Policy intern

    Jesse Gonzalez was in his third year at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in Global Econ/Latin America & Latino Studies and participated in the UCDC program.

    There, Jesse was a former National Security and International Policy intern at the Center for American Progress, he assisted in extensive research on foreign policy issues, event summaries and reports under his team’s ongoing projects. His research focuses on the Syrian Refugee Crisis alongside with the Economic Development in Turkey.

    “At CAP, I was very fortunate to work with Senior Fellow, Michael Werz who conducts research on the nexus of migration, climate change, as well as security in Turkey, Mexico and Brazil. My team’s research was tailored towards the Middle East and I was selected to focus on Turkey. Interestingly, the transition from the studies I learned in LALS to Turkey and the Middle East provided similar applications/frameworks in migration, transnationalism, and foreign policies. I am proud to share this experience with my community because I was able to apply my knowledge of a region of the world and implement it into another and appreciate how valuable the major is in the real-world.”

  • Chile and Argentina

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    Liliana Romero and her abroad experience

    In her own words, Liliana describes her experience abroad:

    "I am a fourth year Sociology and Latin American Latino Studies double major. I studied abroad fall 2015 in the multi-city Buenos Aires and Santiago program in which we learned about human rights and cultural memory. To say experiencing life in South America changed my life would be an understatement. I learned so much about the many cultures of the different people which is is something that can not be taught sitting in a classroom. I also enjoyed how enriching and thought-provoking my professors were thanks to not only what they taught me in class but also the many field trips to the historic sites that we would read about. I learned so much about myself through traveling and grew so much as a person by overcoming obstacles and getting out of my comfort zone. I will never forget walking through the rousing cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago for class, taking a boat through Iguazu falls, hiking to Machu Picchu, and of course meeting people that taught me so much. I would recommend this once in a life time experience to anyone."

  • 2017 Walsh Family Scholarship

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    Socorro Ramíres-Gamiño LALS and Sociology Major

    LALS Major Socorro Ramírez-Gamiño was one of the Walsh Family Scholarships 2017!

    She was chosen for her desire to do community organizing and academic merit.

    The Walsh Family Scholarship rotates annually in the Division of Social Sciences.

    See more about Socorro

  • 2017 Walsh Family Scholarship Recipient

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    Eric Medina - LALS and EEB Major

    LALS Eric Medina was one of the Walsh Family Scholarships 2017!

    His commitment to "make the world a better place" (a requirement for this scholarship applicants), and academic merit granted him one of the awards.

    The Walsh Family Scholarship rotates annually in the Division of Social Sciences.

    See more about Eric here

  • Andres Arias Gets Involved!

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    Getting into Research

    Andres Arias discovered he likes to do research, and is taking full advantage of the mentorship available to him, as well as research opportunities within his reach.

    He began to do work on his thesis about street vendors in Los Angeles, under the mentorship of LALS Assistant professor Adrián Félix.

    As a Sociology major also, Andres worked with professor Steven McKay in a project called "Working For Dignity" and after, joined another project "No place Like Home", about the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz.

    Here is a TV piece from KION 5/46 channel


    Learn more about Andres here

  • "Ignited Passion"

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    Katherine Trejo - LALS Major

    Katherine Trejo had this to say about LALS:
    "LALS has ignited my passion for helping my Latinx community.
    The faculty in the LALS department are like family. Thanks to them I have a better understanding of the pressing issues and achievements in Latinx communities and as a result I want to dedicate my life to working for my Latinx community.
    Thank you LALS for making being Latinx beautiful." 
    During her time in school, she has been doing work with Live Oak families here in Santa Cruz. Katherine will be pursuing an MA in LALS and hopefully return to Santa Cruz for her Phd.

  • Mireya Mateo's Many Accomplishments

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    2016 Chancellor's Award Recipient.

    Her project: "Untold Delivery Stories: Zapotec Women's Birthing Experiences in the Central Valley Of Oaxaca", mentored by professors Patricia Zavella and Flora Lu, can be seen here:


    Mireya Mateo Gomez is a senior double majoring in Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies. She was born in the town of Tlacolula de Matamoros in Oaxaca, Mexico and migrated to West Los Angeles, CA at the age of three. On June 23, 2015 Mireya returned to Mexico after 18 years to conduct her senior thesis investigation, which examined the birthing experiences of Oaxaqueña women in the Central Valley of Oaxaca. Mireya being undocumented or otherwise known as a Dreamer, has been unable to return to Mexico without any guarantees of returning safely, to the country she has been raised. Thankfully to the new legislation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Mireya was able to apply for an advance parole, providing her with a security of returning safely to the U.S. Mireya was able to conduct her investigation but also see family members she had not seen in the past 18 years. She returned once again this July and hopes to return once more next summer to report back on her research.  Mireya’s story is one of many other Dreamers who until recently have been given the opportunity to visit their native town, or to conduct research in different communities across the world. But, this as well shows that more needs to be done to include those Dreamers, who are unable to have the opportunity to apply for an advance parole. More also needs to be done for the better of the undocumented community in the U.S.

    She was also a recipient of the Joel Frankel Scholarship twice, in 2014 and 2015!

  • LALS 2015 Dean's Award Recipient

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    LALS Major Marina Gonzalez Flores

    Marina's project, "Resistance of Mayan Women Against Obstetric Violence", supervised by professors Pat Zavella and Flora Lu, can be seen here:


  • 2015 HUGRA Award

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    LALS Major Samantha Piñeda

    Samantha Piñeda been selected to receive 2014-2015 Humanities Undergraduate Research Award (HUGRA) for her project titled,

    “Tracing Contributions: Salvadoran Women in the Diaspora and the 2014 Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) Presidential Campaign” by IHR - Institute for Humanities Research. She is pursuing a double major in LALS and Feminist Studies.

    We congratulate her for her great achievements!

    Samantha is also a 2014 recipient of the Joel Frankel Scholarship to work on her project in El Salvador: "Salvadorian women in transnational solidarity movements"

  • Sammy Mestizo as part of MURAP cohort

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    LALS senior Sammy Mestizo shares his experience

    Sammy Mestizo, LALS senior, is now working on his PhD application already! And he has a lot to share about one of the reasons he is so prepared: His participation in the MURAP Program!
    "Too good to be true" he says.

    "The Moor Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) caters to minority students in the Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences who demonstrate a significant desire to obtain a PhD, work in academia, and serve as an example for future students with similar backgrounds. I was skeptical of such a program’s existence when my mentor forwarded me the call to apply: the program seemed too good to be true. Now that I am a MURAP alumnus, I want to spread the good news to my fellow slugs that such a program DOES exist. Some of the technical benefits I received as a MURAP cohort member include a $3,500 stipend, a $1,500 food stipend, $500 in reimbursement for travel expenses, free housing in the university dorms during the program, mentorship on a 20 page research paper/writing sample for graduate school applications, abundant GRE preparation, experience with speaking at a formal conference, networking experience, recommendation letters for grants and PhD program applications, and plentiful advice on graduate school in general. Besides the technical benefits, I enjoyed just living for two months in the south with like-minded students from all corners of the U.S. I realized, after hearing from students from various universities, that there are relatively FEW scholarship, grant, and internship opportunities for UCSC students. Therefore, I encourage all of you who are considering a PhD to apply for the MURAP starting on 03 November 2014. Email me at if you have
    any questions regarding the MURAP. Take advantage of this great opportunity!"

    Applicants must have at least one full quarter remaining after the program ends.

    MURAP information


  • "Una Mañana" - A film by America Valdes

  • LALS Major America Valdes' movie project

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    A newly opened day workers center in the city of Santa Cruz strives to create a more just working environment for the jornalero and migrant community. While trying to establish its presence as a new labor community resource, the center faces constant opposition from some community members. Some of the men who are part the center share their struggle as migrants and day workers trying to support their families while trying to make ends meet. The film gives a glimpse into the life of those who are constantly being pushed into the margins of society.



  • LALS 2014 Deans' and Chancellor's Award Recipients

  • Two LALS Students Awarded

    Nicholas Bendinelli and Kimberly Pistilli were recipients of the Deans' and Chancellor's Awards for their great work this year!



    Nicholas' project: "A Womens Work is never done: Gendered divisions of labor, patriarchy and empowerement in Bahia de Carquez, Ecuador", under professor Flora Lu's supervision, can be seen here:



    Kimberly's project: "The Effect of Poverty on Expectations and Aspirations of Youth in Ejido Riben Jaramillo, Mexico", under professor Jonathan Fox' and Ben Crow's supervision, can be seen here: