Mexican American Studies website
  • Location: EDCC 2.216B
  • Phone: 956.665.3212
  • Email:

Welcome to Mexican American Studies

The mission of MAS @ UTPA is to recognize, validate, and engage with students, faculty, and Mexican American, Chican@ and Latin@ communities as agents of conocimiento and knowledge. Our position en la frontera requires and enables MAS to have a simultaneous local and hemispheric concentration. This unique transcultural context shapes academic and public conversations regionally, nationally and globally. Our place-based pedagogies and transdisciplinary methods provide a holistic approach to the study of complex and dynamic Mexican American experiences. MAS cultivates transformative experiences, spaces, and relationships. We prepare students to critically investigate community knowledge and socio-political, economic, cultural, and artistic conditions of and contributions by Mexican Americans, Chican@s and Latin@s. Students develop the skills to engage in self-discovery and to communicate their conocimientos to produce salient applied research to effect positive social change in their comunidades.

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Alumni Corner


Ruben Garza
Bachelors in MAS & Political Science
Field Organizer for Texas Freedom Network
I am a Rio Grande Valley native who grew up in Edinburg and graduated from UTPA with a double major in political science and Mexican-American studies in 2013. I was a founding member of the Mexican American Studies Club (MASC), where I served as vice president for two years. I was always interested in history and social justice movements growing up, and my experiences as a MAS student leader only solidified a passion for learning about borderlands history and culture and activism. Studying MAS helped me understand the RGV community and the many unique challenges our community faces in a way like never before. This knowledge, combined with the guidance of MAS faculty, inspired me to be an activist for education reform and other issues affecting the RGV community. Since graduating, I’ve been dedicated to working to address issues like housing and community development, immigration and education reform, and access to healthcare in the RGV community. I’ve had the honor of joining the Brown Berets, a historical organization leading the fight for justice and civil rights for Chicanos. I also work as the regional field organizer for the Texas Freedom Network. In this capacity, I mentor youth and young adults from across Texas, and coordinate a grassroots-organizing program around civic engagement, civil rights, and public education issues. MAS prepared me for my current work by providing a foundation to both analyze complex social issues, and create effective strategies and alternatives to transform our community. I hope to return to school soon and pursue a graduate degree in Mexican American studies with a focus on public policy. By continuing my education, I hope to develop a broader set of skills and experiences to better serve my community’s needs.

Student Spotlight

Iliana Vasquez, Class of 2013

Iliana Vásquez is a Spring 2013 graduate and will pursue a M.A. in MAS at UT Austin in Fall 2013.

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Mexican American Studies Club

MASC Facebook

MASC general meetings are Tuesdays from 12 to 1 in the 2nd floor of the EDUC building room 2.216B! Feel free to stop by!

MAS Advisement

Advisement takes place in the MAS Office EDUC 2.216B.

Appointments are highly recommended. Please contact the appropriate adviser below at their email address.

Undergraduate Advisers

Stephanie Alvarez

Ernesto Ramirez

Undergrad Course List

Graduate Adviser

Marci McMahon

Graduate Course List

Featured Faculty


Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Alvarez on her recently published co-edited anthology with Dr. William Luis. The AmeRican Poet: Essays on the Work of Tato Laviera. Centro Press, 2014. Known as a Nuyorican poet, Laviera is more appropriately celebrated as an AmeRican writer of national and international prominence. As a whole, the essays discuss diverse aspects of Laviera’s life and substantial body of work that includes five published collections of poetry, twelve written and staged plays, and many years of political, social, literary and healthcare activism.


Congratulations to Dr. Sonia Hernández on her recently published book, Working Women into the Borderlands (Connecting the Greater West Series). Texas A&M University Press, 2014. Hernández sheds light on how women’s labor was shaped by US capital in the northeast region of Mexico and how women’s labor activism simultaneously shaped the nature of foreign investment and relations between Mexicans and Americans.

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MAS Video


Felicidades to our Spring 2015 MAS Graduates.

L-R. Valerie Leal-Cerda (Bachelors in MAS), Arnuflo Segovia (Bachelors in MAS), Juana Abrosia (Bachelors in MAS),Abraham Diaz (Bachelors in MAS),Irma Garza (Bachelors in MAS, and Jesus Sierra (Bachelors in MAS).


L-R. Ernesto Ramirez (PHD in Education Leadership),Danielle Lopez (MAIS in MAS),Celina Gomez (MAIS in MAS),Orlando Hinojosa (MAIS in MAS),Marci McMahon (Director),Charles McGregor (MAIS in MAS),Victoria Rojas (MAIS in MAS), and Raul Lopez (MAIS in MAS).

Honoring Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldu

MAS at UTPA is committed to honoring the legacy of UTPA alumna Gloria Anzaldúa.


Rio Bravo: Journal of the Borderlands

Río Bravo is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles on the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. This goal includes the promotion of the development of a better international understanding, to help in the design and implementation of further research and new discoveries concerning the relations between the United States and México, to serve as a model for such investigations along the Rio Grande and to shed light on borderlands studies in general.