I earned my BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Dean’s Distinguished Graduate. During this time, I trained under the mentorship of Drs. David S. Yeager at the Adolescent Development Research Group, Cristine H. Legare and Jennifer Clegg at the Evolution, Variation, and Ontongeny of Learning Lab, and Robert Crosnoe at the Population Research Center.
After graduating, I worked with Dr. Yeager as a project manager for the National Study of Learning Mindsets and then joined Dr. Bryan at Chicago Booth as a lab manager at the Center for Decision Research. From these opportunities, I’ve gained experience designing and implementing school-based intervention programs to study adolescent healthy behavior change, social belonging, and academic mindsets.
Before attending the University of Texas, I studied psychology and philosophy at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. During this time, I worked as a collegiate mentor for local high schools as part of the Title V Go Center Program. As a mentor, I advised high school students on college and financial aid applications with an emphasis on providing resources for students with statuses as a first-generation, undocumented, racial/ethnic minority, or low-income. I also participated in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council #1 Feria de Las Flores Scholarship Program. LULAC Council #1 is an organized network that aims to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing, and civil rights of the Latino population of Corpus Christi. The Feria de Las Flores Scholarship Program is a pageant that gives Latina students an opportunity to raise scholarship funds for the community, spread college awareness to young Latinas, and engage in community service while researching and celebrating the culture of Mexico.
- As a PhD student, I am involved in multiple organizations related to engaging, promoting, and responding to underrepresented groups in and outside of the UChicago campus including:
- ⁕ UChicagoGRAD Diversity Advisory Board (DAB)
- ⁕ Maroon Mates, a student-led mentoring program for underrepresented students
- ⁕ The Chicago Booth PhD Campus Climate Committee
- ⁕ Grads on the Ground, a cohort of UC graduate students focused on supporting community-led initiatives, where I partnered with Coppin Community Center and the Boy Scouts of America to help pilot the “Restoring the Village” program in Washington Park.
Throughout my experience across these programs and opportunities, I learned about the financial, social, and psychological challenges non-traditional students often deal with when pursuing higher education. As a first-generation Mexican American college student, this inspired me to use my degree to learn about the mechanisms underlying racial disparities in life outcomes, how people interpret these differences, and what can be done to create equitable solutions. I have been very fortunate to have met wonderful people who helped me navigate my college experience by providing awareness of resources available to students, professional support for accessing those resources, and emotional support for continuing my journey. I am happy to share what I have learned from my experience with any prospective students interested in applying to college.