Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies


University of Texas Mellon Mays Faculty Director

Dr. Jacqueline Toribio

Dr. Almeida Jacqueline Toribio (Cornell University PhD, 1993) is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Texas, with affiliations in African-American and African Diaspora Studies, the Center for Mexican American Studies, and the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies. Her fields of research include language contact, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, sociology of language, and Caribbean and U.S. Latino studies. She has served as faculty director of the UT Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program since 2017.

Current University of Texas Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows

Diane Campos

Diane Campos is a Studio Arts and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies double major with a minor in African and African Diaspora Studies. Inspired by personal experiences, her research focuses on the ways in which Afro- Mexican Womxn use the visual arts to resist the limitations of black representation. Under the supervision of Dr. Cherise Smith, she is exploring the different dimensions and realms of black identity and its visibility within the art context, towards challenging the historical canon of black visibility within Latinx spaces. She intends to pursue a PhD in Africana Studies, with a focus on the intersections of cultural experience, identity, expression, and visual arts.

Libby Carr

Libby Carr is a Plan II Honors and Theatre & Dance (Playwriting/Directing Emphasis) double major with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. Mentored by Dr. Lisa Moore, their research focuses on theatre as a safe space for queer and trans bodies throughout history and on ways to mitigate barriers to representation in theatre for marginalized identities. Libby intends to pursue a PhD in Performance Studies, where they hope their research will inform the heteronormative and binary nature of both theatre and academia.

Zaria El-Fil

Zaria El-Fil is a Psychology, African & African Diaspora Studies, Humanities Honors triple major with a minor in History. Under the guidance of Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, Zaria is drawing on psychiatric literature to study experiences of abuse/deprivation in southern slave-holding societies and the ways in which enslaved women actively resisted their conditions. Her work places the experiences of enslaved women at the forefront of her historical work in order to acknowledge the symbolic violence, social injury, and forms of cultural domination and oppression that have reduced enslaved women to asterisks in the telling of history. At the graduate level, she hopes to earn a doctoral degree in History and continue her quest to love and care for the experiences of enslaved women.

Demorick Green

Demorick Green Sr. majors in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. As a Mellon Mays Fellow, under the instruction of Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, Demorick is researching the migration patterns of people from the Kingdom of Israel after the 8th century B.C.E Assyrian Invasion. He plans to enroll in a graduate program in Archaeology. His main interests explore Ancient Israel's 8th century B.C.E and relations between people from the regions of Palestine to Egypt and throughout wider regions of Africa.

Jesus Hermosillo

Jesús Adolfo Hermosillo is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics. Inspired by his migration and interpersonal experiences, he has developed a keen interest in variation across dialects of Spanish, especially as it is spoken in the United States. Under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Bullock, he is analyzing corpora of Spanish utilizing Natural Language Processing tools to identify the features that distinguish among varieties. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics and focus his research on Natural Language Processing and Bilingualism.

Jacob Hood

Jacob Hood is completing majors in English, Sociology, and African and African Diaspora Studies alongside a certificate in Public Policy. Directed by Dr. Marcelo Paixão, he is pursuing a project investigating how communities of color in Austin perceive the use of body-worn cameras by the Austin Police Department. He intends to pursue a PhD in Sociology to further explore the intersections of modern policing, technology, and critical race studies."

Octavian Moten

Octavian Moten is enrolled in the African and African Diaspora Studies major, with a minor in Sociology. Octavian’s research project, elaborated under the guidance of Dr.Yasmiyn Irizarry, analyzes the presence of School Resource Officers in the public school system and its impact on students of color. This project was inspired by his experiences as a mentor for aspiring youth from local communities through the Project MALES program. At the graduate level, he intends to pursue a PhD in Sociology where he hopes his work will inform educational policy towards redressing racial and gender gaps in educational attainment.

Mariana Rivera headshot

Mariana Rivera was born and raised on the southern side of the U.S.-Mexico border, in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. At the University of Texas, she is completing majors in English and Journalism and researching the history of Mexicans in Texas during the Great Depression, under the supervision of Dr. Julie Minich. Her work connects history to contemporary issues of intergenerational wealth, privilege, segregation, nativism, and scapegoatism, towards providing a new perspective on the recyclability of anti-Mexican rhetoric deployed in the presence of economic and social collapses. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Mexican-American & Latinx Studies. 

Angie Nunez Rodriguez

Angie Núñez Rodríguez is an Anthropology and Sociology double major with a minor in History. She is currently writing an honors thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Minich. Her project takes an interdisciplinary approach in the investigation of how social structures and eugenic programs in the U.S. have influenced the reproductive choices, medical treatment, and health of Latinas. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology to continue studying race, ethnicity, and gender in medicine; obstetric practices; and health care inequity.

Orlando Ochoa

Orlando Ochoa, Jr. (he, they) was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. They are a first-generation college student pursuing programs of study in Black Studies, Mexican American & Latina/o Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. Of particular interest to Orlando are the themes of race, gender, capitalism, colonialism, and the concept of afterlives. Under the guidance of Dr. Mónica Jiménez, his research seeks to explore and trouble the border between life and non-life, examining ‘human’ as a site of contestation fraught with colonial illogics. These questions and engagement are necessary for imagining and creating just worlds.

Alison Villasana

Alison Villasana (she/they) is pursuing majors in Urban Studies and Mexican American & Latina/o Studies. Their research interests focus on issues relating to urban spaces and social justice, more specifically, the nuances of gentrification and the displacement of marginalized individuals. With the mentorship of Dr. Miriam Solis, Alison is currently studying the origins of gentrification within European imperialism and settler colonialism. She intends to attain her PhD in Urban Studies and Planning and to produce scholarship based on the racial legacies embedded within urban development and maintenance. Ultimately Alison hopes that her work will reform modern planning practices and lay the foundation towards creating urban spaces that are more sustainable and equitable.