Previous Graduate Student Affiliates and Undergraduate Interns

Ruben Espinoza | Alina Fernandez | Alma Villa | Claudia Lopez | Tsering Wangmo | Mauricio Ramírez



espinoza_r80.jpgRuben Espinoza, Graduate Student Researcher (2013—2014)

Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies

Ruben Espinoza graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June 2017 with a PhD in Sociology and Designated Emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies. He served as a Graduate Student Researcher for the RCA during the 2013 – 2014 school year. During that time, Ruben conducted ethnographic research for his dissertation on lettuce factory workers. He also managed the RCA Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program by mentoring, instructing, and advising over twenty undergraduate students as they carried out surveys of low-wage workers in Santa Cruz County for UC Santa Cruz’s Working For Dignity project. Additionally, Ruben helped organize conferences and talks that the RCA sponsored throughout the school year.

Ruben was hired as an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Chapman University immediately after graduating from UC Santa Cruz. He is now Director of Chapman University’s Latinx and Latin American Studies program. In addition to teaching and research, his focus is on growing the program through community outreach and increasing the percentage of Latinx students at Chapman University.

Alina Ivette Fernandez HeadshotAlina Ivette Fernandez, Graduate Student Researcher (2014—2017) 

Latin American and Latino Studies

Alina was part of the inaugural cohort of students in the doctoral program in Latin American and Latino Studies. As Graduate Student Coordinator of Nuestras Historias: CLRC/RCA Archive Project, she helped oversee our Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. Additionally, she supported our programming, particularly events. Her research is on Latina and Latino Greek organizations and civic engagement.

Alma Villa HeadshotAlma Esperanza Villa Loma, Professional Career Development Program Intern (2015—2018)

Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies

As RCA (formerly CLRC) Intern, she supported Nuestras Historias: CLRC/RCA Archive Project, participates in our Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, translates text in English and Spanish, and provides support at RCA-sponsored events. After graduating, Alma enrolled in the master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA, where she’ll continue to develop her interests on the impact of the current affordable housing crisis on Latinxs in Los Angeles. For this project, she’s already conducted one-on-one interviews with more than 45 people. Read Alma's full alumni profile.

claudia lopezClaudia Maria Lopez, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellow (2016—2017)

Sociology, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Feminist Studies

Graduating with a PhD in Sociology, with Designated Emphases in Feminist Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies, at UC Santa Cruz in 2017, was a Graduate Fellow for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture, focused on the theme of Non-Citizenship. Her dissertation, "The Life-Cycle of Forced Migration: The Lives and Politics Displaced Citizens in the Medellín," examined the dynamics of internal displacement on the urban integration and citizenship status of Colombian peasants in this city. Other research and teaching interests include gender and globalization, critical urban studies, and political participation. At UCSC, Claudia was the student convener of the Women of Color Cluster, a graduate student mentor, and avid photographer. Claudia is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. Read Claudia's full alumni profile.

Tsering WangmoTsering Wangmo headshot, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Graduate Fellow (2016—2017)


Graduating with a PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz, Tsering was a Graduate Fellow for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture, focused on the theme of Non-Citizenship. Tsering's research focused on the production of Tibetan nationalism, identity, and citizenship in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Critical to this study are the cultural politics, social movements, and questions of belonging in exile. She is the author of Coming Home to Tibet (2015) and three books of poetry. Tsering is currently an Assistant Professor in the English department at Villanova University.

mramirez headshotMauricio E. Ramirez, Graduate Student Researcher (2017—2018)

Latin American and Latino Studies

Mauricio research interests lie in the field of Latina/o visual studies, with a focus on public art and murals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before arriving at UC Santa Cruz, he received a Masters of Arts in Teaching Visual Arts at The University of the Arts and his Bachelor’s degree in Art at UC Santa Cruz. Mauricio is also a part-time teacher at The Imagine Bus Project, where he teaches visual art to incarcerated youth at San Mateo Juvenile Hall.