Congratulations to the 2021 Somos Professional Development Award Recipients!

The Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Somos Professional Development Awards for students and faculty. Spring 2021 marks the second round of competitions, and the Program is gratified by student and faculty interest.  Our student award winner is graduating Senior Elizandra Sandoval.  Elizandra is a first-generation Mexican-American college student, with double majors in Human Development & Family Studies and Psychology and the Elizandra Sandoval headshot CLS certificate. As a Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Scholar, she has conducted original research on senses of belonging among Latinx students at predominantly White institutions. Elizandra is also an Undergraduate Research Intern for the Child and Family Ecologies Lab.  In the Fall, Elizandra plans to begin graduate work in Counseling Psychology, studying with CLS affiliate Professor and former CLS Director Alberta Gloria.  She will use the Somos award for travel to a professional conference.

Our faculty award winners are Profs. Sarah Rios and Benjamin Márquez.  An Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology, Sarah Rios studies race, health, and the environment, focusing on the healtSarah Rios Headshoth implications of industrial agriculture and carceral expansion in rural California.  She will use the Somos Award to support a research assistant who will collect information and conduct interviews for an ethnographic study about the growing synthesis of grassroots environmental justice work and prison abolitionism in that state’s Central Valley.   Dr. Márquez is Professor of Political Science. His research focuses on Mexican American politics and the politics of race and ethnicity in the U.S.  Dr. Marquez is the author several books, most recently The Politics of Patronage, which is forthcoming from the University of Texas Press in July.  The first monograph devoted to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Benjamin Marquez HeadshotFund, the book explores issues stemming from that organization’s dependence on large philanthropic organizations.  Dr. Márquez will soon be on leave to work on his next project, “The Professionals: Latinx Advocacy in the Age of Grantmaking.”  His Somos initiative is for research on the relationship between media culture and electoral activity in U.S. Latinx communities.  As we congratulate our faculty and student award recipients, the Program would also like to thank donors Andrea-Teresa Arenas and John Wiley for their generous support of the award, and for their vision and dedication to Chican@ & Latin@ Studies at the University.