The University of Texas at Austin Latino Research Initiative

Latino Research Initiative Fellows (2017–2018)


MelissaDuPontReyes Melissa DuPont-Reyes

Melissa DuPont-Reyes, PhD, MPH is a recipient of the Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Latino Research Initiative for the 2017–2018 academic year. Dr. 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. As a Latin American and Caribbean Studies major at Boston University, she studied at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador, Universidad Católica in Lima, Peru, and Universidad Nacional de San Cristóbal in Ayacucho, Peru.

Dr. DuPont-Reyes’ primary research interest is in the mental health of youth. Her research focuses in health disparities, relationship and community violence, and the Latino/a/x population. She is interested in school-based prevention and treatment efforts through programs, policies, and practice, including complementary and alternative approaches to health. She has worked on a team that evaluated a school-based anti-stigma intervention in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample in Texas.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. DuPont-Reyes will investigate in youth samples patterns in aggressive behaviors and mental health; the help-seeking process for mental health; race-ethnic differences in mental illness stigma; and the impact of school race-ethnic composition on mental health outcomes. In Spring 2018 she will teach a course that introduces students to basic epidemiological principles, theory, methods, and uses for studying Latino/a/x population health. Public health literature that use datasets represented by Latino/a/x populations will be discussed.


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.