Latin American & Latino Studies students win big in awards, fellowships

Portrait of Brittney Jimenez
Brittney Jimenez
Portrait of Rafael E. Delgadillo

Rafael E. Delgadillo

Four doctoral candidates in the Latin American and Latino Studies Department received awards that will help propel them forward in their graduate trajectory.

The awardees from the division include:

  • Rafael E. Delgadillo, President’s Dissertation Year Award
  • Karina Ruiz, UC President’s Pre-Professoriate Fellowship 
  • Amando Argueta-Vogel, Crossing Latinidades Summer Institute Fellowship
  • Brittney Jimenez, Crossing Latinidades Summer Institute Fellowship

According to one of the awardees, “I can’t wait to make the best of this fellowship in the coming year.”

Rafael E. Delgadillo

Delgadillo has had a winding path to get to UC Santa Cruz—and his most recent recognition as the winner of President’s Dissertation Year Award will help the doctoral candidate back to the West Coast to round out his graduate experience.

The New Orleans native grew up in a Dominican household and worked to balance the relationship between the Big Easy with the history of colonization of the Caribbean. With all of the integrated backgrounds and ethnicities that came together in New Orleans, Delgadillo referred to his hometown as a city that should not be defined as a place that is merely on the geographic and cultural periphery of the United States.

“The city’s history is really reflective of the entire hemisphere, as a colonial project, because of the way New Orleans was founded,” he said. Delgadillo’s doctoral research is also heavily concerned with the city’s commercial and cultural connections with Caribbean and Latin American port cities after the Louisiana Purchase. 

That basic understanding fueled Delgadillo’s research, leading to him earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in history from the University of New Orleans. Those experiences helped him to learn more about research and archiving. That coincided with his career as a community organizer, where he worked with Latino communities in southeast Louisiana that became integral to rebuilding the region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many of the construction workers and service industry employees were newly arrived migrants from Latin America. 

It was a chance meeting with another scholar at Tulane University in 2009 that led Delgadillo to actually make the leap to Santa Cruz, when he was informed of the new LALS Ph.D. program set to start in 2014. 

“It’s the only program I applied to, and I got in,” he said. “Living in Santa Cruz, doing this research there, that has been very healing…it’s a passion for me.”

Delgadillo is now entering his seventh year of doctoral candidacy. With this most recent award, he will return to the area after conducting research in the Southeast, finalize his dissertation, and begin his job search.

Karina Ruiz

Ruiz, currently in her sixth year of her doctoral program, focuses her research on childhood studies and family studies in the context of Latino mixed-status families. Her work focuses on children’s emotional labor and care work in mixed-status and transnational families, areas she’s expanded on since her undergraduate program at CSU Monterey Bay. 

With her UC President’s Pre-Professoriate Fellowship, she’ll be able to spend more time on dissertation writing and prepare for her next steps post-graduation.

She was interested in garnering more in these topic areas when entering the division, largely because she had been connecting research from childhood studies to her own experiences in an immigrant family and years of experience in the childcare field. 

She worked further in developing her research and insights on this area through her work with the We Belong Project, a collaborative and community-engaged research project designed to document the experiences of immigrant families, their contributions, and the obstacles they face. 

In doing this work in both Santa Cruz County and the greater Silicon Valley, Ruiz has found a great deal of imperative organizations working diligently to provide for the community, including Second Harvest and United Way Santa Cruz County. With her recent award, she’s excited to further give back to the community through her research.

“It’s a nice opportunity to take a break and spend some time focusing on the research too,” she said.

Brittney Jimenez

Jimenez, in her second year of her Ph.D. program, focuses on the contemporary Chicano movement and young women involved in the movements, as well as how histories of the movement are used in current activism endeavors. As part of her recent award of the Crossing Latinidades Summer Research Fellowship, she will take this summer to connect with other students and professors from other universities as she furthers her own research.  

During her master’s program at CSU Northridge, she was in community with a lot of young women, asking how the discipline influenced the movement.

“It really made me consider how I identified, and how those partnerships impacted the ways I see my educational journey and activist journey today,” she said. 

The Summer Institute will allow Jimenez and other students to take time to assess methodological and theoretical frameworks related to their research, and connect with research working groups. As part of the Institute, students will take part in an end-of-summer research presentation, held at the University of Chicago.

“Having the advice of advisors here has been instrumental in me being able to continue in this work and feel supported in it,” she said. “I’m really excited about the prospect of building communities in this program.”

Amando Argueta-Vogel

Argueta-Vogel will join his fellow UCSC doctoral candidate Jimenez this summer, as a recipient of the Crossing Latinidades Summer Institute Fellowship. His doctoral study focuses on Central American Studies—particularly the social, political and economic relationships between the U.S. and Central America—as understood through the lenses of both immigration and migration.

Argueta-Vogel is no stranger to award recognition and has garnered significant praise for his research efforts over the past academic year. In May, he was announced as one of the 11 graduate student research grant recipients from the Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, for his publication “Migrations Otherwise and Studies of Central American Mobility.”

On top of his studies, Argueta-Vogel is also a graduate student researcher for the Global Latinidades Center at UC Santa Barbara. 

Amando Argueta-Vogel was unavailable for an interview prior to the deadline.