The Mexican American Advisory Board is a group of faculty dedicated to the strengthening and overall success of Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas-Pan American. In early 2008, Dr. Stephanie Alvarez (Modern Languages and Literature) and Dr. Sonia Hernandez (History & Philosophy) began meeting to revise the curriculum for the Mexican American Heritage Program major and minor. Dr. Jennifer Mata (History & Philosophy) Edna Ochoa (Modern Languages and Literature) and Emmy Pérez (English) then joined this effort to revitalize this important area of study in the Fall of 2008; Dr. Marci McMahon (English) joined the Advisory Board in the spring of 2009. The Advisory Board submitted the newly revised interdisciplinary degree plan to the University Curriculum Committee and received approval in late Spring of 2009. This formally changed the program from Mexican American Heritage to Mexican American Studies, and revised the MAS minor. This group of faculty has also been successful in aligning the major to South Texas College’s Associate Degree in Mexican American Studies. The group has also been pro-active in compiling a list of all UTPA courses related to the Mexican American and Latina/o experience and plans to identify all faculty members with research and teaching expertise in this area in the hopes of creating faculty affiliates to MAS. The MAS Advisory Board has also approved a Graduate Certificate in Mexican American Studies.
Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, Director of MASModern Languages and Literature
Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, earned her PhD in Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. She is the recipient of the UT Board of Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Her teaching and research interests include U.S. Latin@ literature and cultural studies, contemporary Latin American literature, identity politics, and critical pedagogy for the Latin@ student. Her essay “¡?Qué, qué?! Transculturación and Tato Laviera’s Spanglish Poetics” appears in CENTRO: Journal for the Center of Puerto Rican Studies. The same essay was recently re-published as a book chapter in Spanglish, edited by Ilán Stavans. Furthermore, she is the author of two forthcoming essays; “La(s) Mirada(s) y lengua(s) aviesas del bilingüe: El caso del poeta nuyorican Tato Laviera.” in La página, edited by Iris Zavala and “Su última manipulación: La polémica sobre los últimos años de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” in Traspasando el umbral de la palabra. Estudios críticos de literatura y lenguaje. Eds. Alma Silvia Rodríguez and Lino García. She is also currently co-editing along with William Luis a collection of essays on the work of Tato Laviera. She is the director of Cosecha Voices, a critical pedagogy project designed for students from migrant farmworking families to document their voice. Emmy Pérez, English
Dr. Sonia Hernandez, History & Philosophy
Dr. Hernandez is an associate professor in the Department of History & Philosophy. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, she earned a Ph.D in Latin American History from the University of Houston. Her teaching and research interests include the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands, Chicana/o history, intersections of gender and labor, and Modern Mexico. She is the author of "Malinche in Cross-Border Historical Memory" in Patricia Seed, ed. Jose Limon and La Malinche (UT-Austin Press, 2008), "Mujeres, Género y Revolución en Tamaulipas" coord. Jesús Hernández (México: Gobierno de Tamaulipas, 2010), "Cooperación de los Sexos Para el Bien de la Nación: Relaciones de Genero en el Tamaulipas PosRevolucionario, 1920-1930," Revista Internacional de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Vol. XXI , num. 1 Enero-Junio, 2010, and "Women's Labor and Activism in the Greater Mexican Borderlands," in Arnoldo De Leon, ed., War Along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, December 2011) (winner of the Robert Calvert Prize for Best Book on Texas/Southwestern History). Her book, Working Women into the Borderlands: Labor, Gender, and Capital in the Making of the Mexican Northeast, 1880-1940 places women's labor and activism at the heart of the complex process of modernization and industrialization in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and the greater South Texas region (Texas A&M University Press ‘Connecting the Greater West’ Series, forthcoming Spring 2014). She is the 2012 recipient of the UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, 2013 New Faculty Mentor Award, and has been named in the “Top 14 Hispanic Professors in Texas” (2013). Besides working as an advisory board member of Mexican American Studies, she is Co-Principal Investigator of CHAPS (Community Historical Archaeology Project with the Schools) a program that is "designed to discover the untapped cultural and historical resources of South Texas, bring them to light through research and develop them for education, tourism, and community pride." (www.utpa.edu/chaps).
Dr. Marci McMahon, English
Mexican American Studies Graduate Certificate Coordinator
Marci R. McMahon received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California with affiliations in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. She is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Mexican American Studies program. Her courses focus on Chicana/o and Latina/o literature, cultural studies, gender studies, and theater and performance. She is the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Mexican American Studies (MAS) and the Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies in MAS, as well as a member of the MAS faculty and advisory board. She is the author of the book Domestic Negotiations: Gender, Nation, and Self-Fashioning in US Mexicana and Chicana Literature and Art (Rutgers University Press’s series Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States, 2013). Her essay publications include: “Self-Fashioning through Glamour and Punk in East Los Angeles: Patssi Valdez in Asco’s Instant Mural and A La Mode” (Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies); “Alma López’s California Fashion Slaves: Denaturalizing Domesticity, Labor, and Motherhood” (Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS); and “Politicizing Spanish-Mexican Domesticity, Redefining Fronteras: Jovita González’s Caballero and Cleofas Jaramillo’s Romance of a Little Village Girl” (Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies). She has also co-authored a work with Laura R. Barraclough, “U.S.-Mexico Border Studies Online Collaboration: Transformative Learning Across Power and Privilege” (Journal of Equity and Excellence in Education). She recently served as co-director of the Tejas Foco conference on Testimonio, Public Pedagogy and Social Change for the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. Her latest book project, Sounding Latina/o Studies: Staging Listening in US Latina/o Theater, combines interdisciplinary frameworks from sound studies, American studies, Latina/o studies, and theater and performance to explore how contemporary Latina/o drama utilizes sound design and vocal bodies to engage audiences with recurring debates about nationhood, immigration, and gender.
Dr. Iran Barrera
Dr. Barrera is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He received his MSW at California State University Long Beach in 2003; his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington and La Universidad De Autónoma De Nuevo León in 2008. Dr. Barrera has extensive experience working with minority communities (African-American/Latino) in California and Texas. Dr. Barrera’s expertise as a clinician and researcher has led him to dedicate his career in matters surrounding mental health, in particular eliminating mental health disparities in Latino communities. Dr. Barrera is currently an Assistant Professor in the department of social work at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Dr. Francisco Guajardo, Education
Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
Francisco Guajardo is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Texas Pan American. He is from the border, having been born in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas and raised in the rural community of Elsa, Texas. He is a graduate of Edcouch-Elsa High School, where he also worked as a teacher and administrator, and is a founding member of the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development. He is also a founding member of the Center for Bilingual Studies at UTPA, and a founder of the Community Learning Exchange, a national initiative that works to bring community together. His research agenda focuses on community leadership and community building.
Dr. Jessica Lavariega Monforti
Assistant Dean, Associate Professor, Senior Faculty Research Associate, Center for Survey Research
Jessica Lavariega Monforti specializes in public policy analysis, race and politics and survey research. She typically teaches courses on urban politics; race, ethnicity, and gender politics; political opinion and behavior; American and Texas Government; and research methods in political science. While much of her research focuses on the differential impact of public policy according to race, gender, and ethnicity, she is also interested in issues of immigration, and the political incorporation and representation of Latinos. During the 2005-2006 academic year, Dr. Lavariega Monforti was a Ford Post-Doctoral Fellow at The Metropolitan Center at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Her latest research projects is a survey of the political attitudes and behaviors of Latinos and other minority groups in Florida.
Dr. Edna Ochoa, Modern Languages
Dr. Edna Ochoa is an assistant professor in the department of Modern Languages and Literature. She is the 2009 College of Arts and Humanities recipient of the Provost Award for Latin American Studies. Her teaching and research interests include Chicana/o Literature, Creative Writing, and Spanish language journalism. She earned a bachelor of journalism from the Escuela “Carlos Septién García” in Mexico City and her Master’s and Ph.D in Spanish from the University of Houston. She is the author of poetry books: Respiración de raíces (Toluca, México: La tinta de alcatraz, 1993), Sombra para espejos (Toluca, México: H. Ayuntamiento de Toluca, 1989), Ruinas (México: Luzbel, 1987) (book of drama) and La cerca circular (México: SEI, 1986) (book of short stories). She has written numerous plays including “La Jacobina” Teatro para estudiantes de teatro (México: Árbol Editorial, 1996) and “La Boda de la Mujer Maravilla” Teatro Joven de México (México: Tierra Adentro, 1992). Her translations to Spanish include Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez (Arte Público Press, University of Houston, 2004) and How the Frog and His Friend Saved Humanity by Víctor Villaseñor (Arte Público Press, University of Houston, 2005). She is an active participant in Cosecha Voices and her plays have showcased at numerous venues including the College of Arts and Humanities yearly FESTIBA.
Dr. Emmy Pérez, English
Emmy Pérez, Assistant Professor of English/creative writing, is the author of a poetry collection, Solstice (Swan Scythe Press 2003). She holds degrees from Columbia University and the University of Southern California. Her poetry, poetics essay, and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, New York Quarterly, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, Story, Blue Mesa Review, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press 2007), A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press 2011) and other publications. She is a contributing editor for The Writer's Chronicle (AWP), Latino Poetry Review, and Texas Books in Review. A recipient of poetry fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she also received the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation for her fiction writing. In addition to university teaching, she has taught creative writing in several adult and juvenile detention centers over the years. She and UTPA students have completed service learning projects at local detention centers and have produced poetry publications of original writings from the centers. She also initiated an annual celebration in honor of Gloria E. Anzaldúa on campus, beginning in 2008, and organized, with students, community members, and colleagues, “El Retorno: El Valle Celebra Nuestra Gloria” (in collaboration with UT San Antonio’s “El Mundo Zurdo: International Conference on the Work and Life of Gloria E. Anzaldúa”) held on the UTPA campus on the fifth anniversary of Anzaldúa’s passing in May 2009. She has also coordinated several readings, lectures, and presentations on campus featuring visiting Chican@ and Latin@ authors and scholars. A member of the Macondo Writers' Workshop in San Antonio, founded by Sandra Cisneros, for socially-engaged writers, she is also a CantoMundo poetry fellow. She also received the 2009 Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral writing award.
MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES FACULTY AFFILIATES.
UT-Pan American has over 50 faculty from various colleges engaged in Mexican American, Latin@, and/or Latin American research.