The University of Texas at Austin Latino Research Initiative

Latino Research Initiative Fellows (2017–2018)


MelissaDuPontReyes Melissa DuPont-Reyes

Dr. Melissa DuPont-Reyes received her PhD in Epidemiology in 2017 from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and holds a Master’s in Public Health from Rutgers University School of Public Health. Dr. DuPont-Reyes’ primary research interest is in adolescent mental health with particular focus in the school context, health disparities, and population-wide approaches to improving mental health. She has examined mental health outcomes, mental illness stigma, the adolescent mental health help-seeking process, mental health treatment utilization, and overlapping topics related to culture, intersectionality, and youth violence. She aims to inform programs, policies, and practices that improve adolescent mental health and that acknowledge the distinction between achieving equality, equity, and/or justice. She also seeks to elicit youth voices and action in research through youth participatory action research. Dr. DuPont-Reyes is currently a recipient of the Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Latino Research Initiative at The University of Texas in Austin.


Gregory Pappas Gregory Fernando Pappas

Gregory Fernando Pappas is a Distinguished Research Fellow for the Latino Research Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin and Professor of Philosophy at Texas A & M University. Dr. Pappas works within the American Pragmatist and Latin American traditions in ethics and social-political philosophy. His current research project, “An Inter-American Approach to the Problems of Injustice”, develops a theoretical framework for approaching problems of injustice in Latino communities, drawing on the insights of philosophers (e.g., Luis Villoro, Gloria Anzaldua, Jane Addams, John Dewey) concerned with local injustices in different regions of the Americas.

Dr. Pappas is the author of the books Pragmatism in the Americas and John Dewey’s Ethics: Democracy as Experience, is the editor-in-chief of The Inter-American Journal of Philosophy and the Vice President of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, and has written liner notes for classic music recordings in salsa and jazz.


Ariana Vigil Ariana Vigil

Ariana Vigil is a Research Fellow for the Latino Research Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin and Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Vigil works within and between the fields of literary and cultural studies, Latina/o studies, communication and media studies, and feminist theory. Her current research project, “Public Negotiations: Gender and Journalism in U.S. Latina/o Literature”, explores how contemporary U.S. Latina/o texts and authors engage with questions of journalistic production and representation, examining the role that gender plays in how texts and characters create and contest a Latina/o public.

She is the author of War Echoes: Gender and Militarization in U.S. Latina/o Cultural Production and the forthcoming Understanding Francisco Goldman

Dr. Vigil received a bachelor’s in English (2001) from the Ohio State University, a master’s in English (2004) from Cornell University, and a doctorate in English (2008) from Cornell University, with graduate minors in Latino/a Studies and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies.