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Taskforce for the Center on Race, Immigration & Social Justice California State University, Sacramento

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Taskforce Associates

  • Dr. Paula C. Austin (History) teaches African American and Civil Rights history, and is a Diversity Faculty Fellow in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her research focuses on black poor and working-class youth and examines campaigns against state sanctioned violence in Washington D.C. in the 20th century.
  • Dr. Brian Baker, Ph.D. Professor, Ethnic Studies and Native American Studies
    California State University, Sacramento
  • Dr. Manuel Barajas is a professor of sociology at California State University-Sacramento, and specializes in immigration studies, Chicana/o communities, and race, gender, and class inequality. He obtained his B.A. at UC Davis, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at UC Riverside. He is author of The Xaripu Community across Borders: Labor Migration, Community, and Family that received a Distinguished Book Award Honorable Mention from the Latino Section, American Sociological Association. His work has been published by the University of Notre Dame Press, Contemporary Sociology, American Behavioral Scientist, Societies without Borders: Human Rights and the Social Sciences, Bilingual Research Journal, Sociological Perspectives, University of Arizona Press, Latino Studies Journal, among others. Manuel enjoys collaborating with students and community and producing knowledge/advocacy that empowers marginalized communities. He is currently serving as taskforce chair for CRISJ.
  • Dr. Mark Brown is professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento. He studied at UC Santa Cruz and the University of Göttingen, and received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He is the author of Science in Democracy: Expertise, Institutions, and Representation(MIT Press, 2009). He teaches courses on modern and contemporary political theory, democratic theory, and the politics of science, technology, and the environment. His current research is on the politics of white racial identity.
  • Dr. Christopher J. Castañeda is professor in history at California State University, Sacramento. He obtained his B.A. at Rice University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Houston. His research has focused on transnational Spanish-language networks and their engagement in U.S. society, specifically examining the intersections of immigration, business, labor and radicalism within this community from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century. He works as a public historian in the areas of oral history and institutional history. His publications appear in the University of Illinois Press, University of Colorado Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, OAH Magazine of history, among many others. He enjoys collaborative work with colleagues, students, and community, and is currently leading the development of a Latin American Studies minor at his university.
  • Dr. Rafael E. Diaz is a faculty member in the Mathematics and Statistics Department. He obtained his PhD in Biostatistics from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2004. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico where he was born. He has assisted faculty from different fields of specialization on campus with the statistical analysis of their research projects, which in several instances has also involved mentoring students participating in these projects. Since he was hired at CSUS in 2007 he has supported the CSU Science Education Equity (SEE) Program by mentoring mathematics and statistics majors from underrepresented minorities in STEM fields transferring to CSUS from community colleges on research projects requiring statistical modeling. In the last five years he has held positions as judge of poster presentations at the American Biomedical Research Conference from Minority Students (ABRCMS), as well as Vice Chair and Chair of the Engineering, Physics & Mathematics Discipline of this conference. His statistical assistance and mentoring have led to two national awards from the American Statistical Association, and several co-authored publications with faculty and students from CSUS.
  • Dr. Basia D. Ellis is an Assistant Professor of Child Development at California State University Sacramento (CSUS). Her research examines the psychology of migration with a special focus on the experiences of undocumented immigrants. Working at the intersections of sociocultural psychological theory and critical migration scholarship, Ellis employs qualitative research methods to examine how increasingly restrictive immigration contexts shape the everyday lives of undocumented immigrants; and correspondingly, how immigrants variably understand and navigate these conditions to build meaningful lives for themselves and their families. Additionally, Dr. Ellis’ facilitates weekly discussions with undocumented and mixed-status family students at CSUS, as well as delivers workshops for educators and other professionals seeking to support the well-being of young people impacted by undocumented status.
  • Dr. Erin Rose Ellison is a community psychologist who employs participatory action research (PAR), ethnography and social network analysis to study how relationships facilitate or constrain collective empowerment for groups lacking social power and an equal share of resources. She often works in collaboration with youth in school-based programs or adult community organizers. Erin's scholarship illuminates social reproductive labor or relational labor and its role in processes of empowerment, particularly with regards to addressing unjust social relations. Erin recently began her new position as Assistant Professor at CSUS, and teaches community psychology and psychology of women. She is currently building her research team, the COLLAB. Current projects include a PAR project to examine the transfer student experience at CSUS, build sense of community among our large transfer student body, and organize for resources to support thriving among transfer students. Erin has interdisciplinary training in social-community psychology and feminist studies (MS & PhD: UC Santa Cruz), community development (MA: Clark University) and international studies (BA: American University).
  • Dr. Alma Itzé Flores is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at California State University, Sacramento. Born in Jalisco, MX and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, Dr. Flores is a proud immigrant and former first-generation college student. She earned her B.A. in Sociology at UCLA, her M.A. in Education at the University of Texas, Austin, and her Ph.D. in Education at UCLA. As a Chicana feminist scholar, her research and teaching interests include the educational experiences of Chicanx/Latinx first-generation college students, Chicanx/Latinx (im)migrant families, in particular Chicana/Latina mother-daughter pedagogies, and the development and analysis of Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogies and research methodologies. Her work can be found in Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, the Center for Critical Race Studies at UCLA, and in the Chicana M(other)work Anthology. She has over ten years of experience working with Students of Color and their families. Inspired by Communities of Color, Dr. Flores’ work is guided by a deep commitment to social justice.
  • Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento. Through her teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Jez aims to strengthen student access, persistence, and success in postsecondary education, particularly for traditionally underserved students. She works with schools, colleges and universities, governmental agencies, nonprofits, and foundations to improve programs and policies that create and support pathways for all students to achieve their postsecondary educational goals. Dr. Jez received a BA in statistics with a minor in public policy from UC Berkeley, and an MA in economics and a PhD in administration and policy analysis from Stanford University.
  • Dr. Tristan Josephson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Studies, California State University, Sacramento
  • Dr. Aya Kimura Ida is an Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Sacramento. She graduated from the joint Sociology Ph.D. program at the University of Akron and Kent State University. Her research interests have centered around discrimination, ethnic and racial identity, immigrant communities, minority resilience, and mental health. More specifically, her research examined diversity within so-called black Americans and role of Japanese Saturday School in the ethnic community. Her recent work appeared in Contexts, Sociological Focus, Journal of Black Studies, Sex Roles, and Korean Immigrants in Canada. Recently, she has developed interests in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and examines the effectiveness of Team-Based Learning and Hybrid classes for diverse students’ learning. She has taught Introduction to Sociology, Social Psychology, Research Methods, Health and Illness, and Ethnic and Race Relations and enjoys working with students on their independent research projects.
  • Jesus Limon is a Professor of English at Sacramento City College and an English Lecturer at Sacramento State University. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in English Literature, both from Sacramento State University. Though born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, he grew up in the diverse community of South Sacramento. He proudly serves his community by organizing spaces where students can learn about higher education and personal empowerment through art, culture, and social justice.
  • Dr. Anne Luna-Gordinier, Assistant Professor of sociology at California State University-Sacramento, specializes in Native American studies, law and policy, social movements, and social inequality. She believes education must be open to all, liberating and transformative. She integrates indigenous knowledge and service learning into the classroom to help students & the community envision a more egalitarian future.
  • Dr. Melissa McTernan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Sacramento. She finished her PhD in 2017 at UC Davis with an emphasis in quantitative psychology. Her scholarly contributions include applications of statistical models to complex psychological and behavioral data. Her statistical expertise can be applied to a variety of areas, and she is particularly interested in expanding her substantive interests here at Sac State. Though she is new to the campus community, she has lived in Sacramento for five years and is well connected to the community. Dr. McTernan has been involved with many community organizations working in racial and social justice, including her work as a founding member of our local Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter. She is also very committed to the campus community. She currently serves on the Transgender Taskforce and was part of a small group of people to start up a campus group for LGBTQIA+ staff and faculty on campus.
  • Dr. Sujatha Moni, Ph.D. Chair, Department of Women's Studies, California State University, Sacramento
  • Dr. Andrea L.S. Moore identifies as a Scholar Activist. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of California, Davis, and focuses on Ethnic History and Socio-Cultural Production. Growing up in Richmond and Oakland, CA during her adolescent years was instrumental in her academic narratives and work. Dr. Moore is currently an Assistant Professor position in the Ethnic Studies Department at California State University, Sacramento. She teaches general Ethnic Studies and African American centered courses including, “Protests in Hip Hop,” “Black Images in Popular Culture” and “Cinematic Representations of Pan African Identities.” With over ten years of teaching experience in higher education, Dr. Moore has also taught in the Department for Behavioral Social Sciences at Sacramento City College and in the African American and African Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. Moore’s research looks at the Bay Area’s legacy as an epicenter for social movements, from the 1960’s Black Power Movement to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Her recent scholarship is focused on examining historical moments that took place during the Bay Area’s Hyphy Movement. Moore explores the ways in which hip-hop promotes awareness about social protests movements and organizations advocating for police reform. Currently, Moore serves as an Advisory Board member and mentor for The Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program, and also as a faculty mentor of the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program. Her service in the community is extensive, and she is an active public speaker for social justice in the on and off campus communities.
  • Dr. Susan Nakaoka is an Assistant Professor with the Division of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento. She received her MA in Asian American Studies, Master of Social Welfare and Ph.D. in Urban Planning at UCLA. Dr. Nakaoka’s research focuses on the intersection of race and community development, critical race pedagogy and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Recent projects include a photovoice project in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, a qualitative study of the impact of a critical race theory curriculum on public child welfare workers, a case study of social enterprise in rural Hawai‘i and a case study of Asian American Community Development Corporations. Prior to coming to CSUS, she was a faculty member at the University of Hawaii and CSU Dominguez Hills and she spent over 12 years providing social services and program development for low-income residents across the country. As a Chicana/Japanese American, her mixed race identity and her family’s incarceration experience during World War II informs her teaching and scholarship.
  • Dr. Mark A. Ocegueda is Assistant Professor of U.S. and Mexican American history at California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Ocegueda’s research interests include Mexican American history, race, ethnicity, urban history, religion, leisure, and public history. Dr. Ocegueda’s manuscript in progress, Sol y Sombra: Mexicans in the Making of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire, 1880-1960, documents the city of San Bernardino's Mexican American people and their quest for civil rights. This study explores the social, cultural, and political dimensions of this community that was rooted in systems of labor and sites of community-building and posits inland Southern California and the city of San Bernardino as important spaces for furthering our understanding of Mexican Americans, civil rights, race, and urban history.

  • Dr. Robert Stanley Oden is a professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento. Stan graduated from U.C. Davis in 1969 with a degree in Political Science. He also has a master’s degree in Community Environmental Management from U.S. International University (1974), and received his Ph.D. in sociology at U.C. Santa Cruz in 2000. Dr. Oden, a former Black Panther Party member in 1968, has been active in progressive community politics in the San Diego, Berkeley and Oakland, and Sacramento communities, working for over 45 years including work as an Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Berkeley. He has written several essays which were published including a chapter in Responses and Reflections on Hurricane Katrina, (2005), Pacific Press. He has also published two edited volumes, Rivers of Struggle and Resistance: A Social Political History of the Underrepresented in the U.S., 2011, 2017, and California Politics: Shifting Majorities, Emerging Minorities, 2011,2017 Cognella Publishers. His most recent book is a monograph, From Blacks to Brown and Beyond: The Struggle for Progressive Politics in Oakland, California, 1966-2011 (2012) with Cognella Publishers. He has a sequel to his Oakland book coming out in the Spring 2018. Stan has been president of the UC. Davis African and African American Alumni Association for over three years, and was the 1st Vice President before being elected as president.
  • Dr. Monicka Patterson-Tutschka is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Sacramento State University. As a political theorist, her research focuses on the intersection of religion and politics in the early-modern political thought of Thomas Hobbes, the Levellers and their contemporaries. She has published articles on the politics of honoring in royalists work, Leveller radicalism, and Hobbes's political and religious allegiances.
  • Tyrone Ralph is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at California State University, Sacramento. His research is focused around a social theory of human rights as it relates to issues of race, class, and gender. He received his undergraduate degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento in 2015, and presented at the California Sociological Association Northern Regional Conference on W.E.B. Dubois’s theory of Double Consciousness. Tyrone also presented at the University of California, Davis Medical Center on the sustainability of community advocacy and partnerships. While he worked as an advocate with Sacramento Economic and Educational Development (S.E.E.D.), he helped community members to correspond with city agencies to address housing issues. Tyrone is an educator/writer with Sacramento Zulu Nation Indigenous Chapter, which has worked in partnership with other community organizations (such as Sacramento Charter High School) to help foster community service/leadership opportunities within the student body, school clubs, and organizations.
  • Dr. Elvia Ramirez is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California, Riverside. Her dissertation research examined how social inequalities and public policies shape Chicana/o and Latina/o students' access to and experiences in Ph.D. programs. She was awarded a dissertation fellowship by the University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity (UC ACCORD) and a faculty fellowship by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). Her fields of specialization include Chicanx/Latinx students in higher education, graduate education, social inequality, and Latinx migration. Her research has been published in various peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Sociological Perspectives, Journal of Poverty, Journal of Latinos and Education, Equity & Excellence in Education, and Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Dr. Ramirez is the 2018-19 President of the California Sociological Association.
  • Dr. Marla Andrea Ramírez is a social historian of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands who specializes in oral history, the Mexican repatriation program, social and legal histories of Mexican migrations, and gendered migration experiences. For the 2018-19 academic year, she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. She also holds an assistant professor position in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Professor Ramírez received her Ph.D. in Chicana and Chicano studies with an emphasis on feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2015) and previously held a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies (2015-16). Her current book project, “Contested Illegality: The Mexican Repatriation Program and Prolonged Consequences Across Three Generations,” examines the immigration policies of the Great Depression era, focusing on the experiences of Mexican repatriation and unconstitutional banishment of US-citizen children of Mexican descent that tore apart thousands of families across the US-Mexico border. She is the author of “The Making of Mexican Illegality: Immigration Exclusions Based on Race, Class Status, and Gender,” which appeared in New Political Science: AJournal of Politics & Culture in 2018. Her forthcoming article, “The Legacy of Mexican Repatriation: Negotiating Gender, Intimacy, and Family Formation in the Borderlands,” will appear in a special issue on “Gender and Intimacy Across the US-Mexico Borderlands” in Pacific Historical Review. Professor Ramírez’s research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, the San Francisco State University’s Development for Research and Creativity Grant, the Ford Foundation, and the University of California’s Fletcher Jones Fellowship.
  • Gina Salinas is a first-year graduate student at California State University-Sacramento and received her undergraduate degree from the University of California Davis with a major in sociology and minor in social and ethnic relations. She has focused her studies on the areas of gender, race, and class inequality. Her undergraduate writing included research on inequality within urban planning, the juvenile justice system, racial inequality in school discipline practices, social stratification systems in the U.S., and the effects of the militarization of U.S.-Mexico border. Her current focus of research is on racial identity and its development of social inequality as well as how immigration status and educational successes interact.
    Gina has been an active member of her community taking part in civic programs and research. She has worked with local schools in gaining grant funding for pre-school education programs, led in the development of academic recognition programs for minority youth, created mentoring programs for the female student populations at the middle-school level, co -chair of Smedberg Middle School’s site budgeting committee, and oversaw academic tutoring programs at the K-12 and Community College levels. She has assisted in research for the Sacramento Food Bank’s women and children outreach program through conducting interviews and collecting data on the progression of the women within the program. She also was active in rape crisis and suicide counseling programs as an organizer, fund raiser and certified counselor.
  • Dr. Heidy Sarabia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at California State University, Sacramento. Her research focuses on globalization and migration processes such as global stratification, borders and borderlands, border violence, transnational social change, and immigrant adaptation and incorporation in the U.S. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania from 2014-16. Her work has been published in Sociological Forum, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Citizenship Studies, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, American Behavioral Scientist, Latin American Perspectives, and Carta Economica Regional (a Mexican academic journal). She enjoys working with and mentoring students in academia and has co-authored pieces with students from University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and at Sac State.
  • Dr. Nandini Singh, assistant professor of biological anthropology. She specializes in primate skull evolution and development. Her work is grounded in evolutionary theory that spans a variety of fields such as evolutionary anthropology, genetics and developmental biology. Her recent interests include exploring “sex roles” in human evolution, deconstructing notions of “race” as a biological category and advocating for bringing social justice into science.
  • Dr. Michelle Stevens is an assistant professor at CSU Sacramento in the Environmental Studies Department. Dr. Stevens is working internationally and locally with environmental and climate justice, specifically in the field of water and wetlands. She has worked with ecological and cultural restoration of wetlands and water systems for over 30 years in the academic, state, federal and private sectors. She works in both California and the Middle East on the contribution of traditional knowledge systems and western science to ecological restoration, fire management, biodiversity, cultural resiliency and climate justice. Dr. Stevens has co-authored several scientific papers and book chapters on community-based conservation and equitable water allocation in California and the Middle East. Current research trajectories include climate justice and environmental justice for indigenous and local people, especially Native Americans, in California, nationally and internationally. She sponsored a Water and Fire: Impacts of Climate Change Conference on the Sacramento State campus in 2016.
  • Dr. Christopher Towler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento. His research and teaching interests broadly include American politics, race and ethnicity, and methodology. More specifically, his work examines ideological predispositions, alienation, political allegiance and support. Recent projects examine the dynamic relationship between progressive social movements and far-right movements reacting to great social change. He received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, and holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado. A former McNair and Ralph Bunche scholar, Dr. Towler was also a McNair Graduate Fellow as well as a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral and Dissertation Fellow. His work has been published in Du Bois Review and Political Power and Social Theory. Dr. Towler has also taught jointly in the departments of American Cultural Studies and Political Science at Western Washington University, and he enjoys working with and mentoring students in academia.
  • Dr. Raghuraman Trichur is professor and Chair of the in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Sacramento. His teaching and research focus includes comparative political economy, state and class formation, and critical analysis of cultural change. His current research includes exploring the limits of liberalism and the reproduction of race and racism in the United States.
  • Dr. Mercedes Valadez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Criminal Justice at California State University at Sacramento (CSUS). Her research focuses on courts and sentencing, immigration and Latinos. Her current work examines the effects of race/ethnicity and citizenship/legal status on sentencing decisions. Her work has appeared in Sociological Quarterly.
  • Dr. Maria Elena Vargas is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Sacramento. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from University of Maryland-College Park. Her work focuses on transnational and decolonial approaches that challenge the impunity of racialized feminicides or hyper-sexualized racial violence towards indigenous women in Guatemala. Her areas of specialization include Central American studies, Women and Gender studies and Decolonial studies. Dr. Vargas has also taught in Latino studies and Women and Gender studies at San Francisco State University where she taught History of Latinos in the U.S., Gendered Borders: Latinas and Globalization, Women and Gender in U.S. History and Society, and Gender, Sexuality and Conquest classes.
  • Dr. Kristina Flores Victor is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Her work focuses on American Politics, California Politics, Immigration, and Latinx Politics. Recent projects include changing perceptions of discrimination within Latinx communities, how voters use ethnic and policy cues to make decisions, how race and ethnicity impact support for redistributive social programs. Dr. Flores Victor also taught at the UC Center Sacramento where she taught California Politics and Policy, and Research Methods in the internship program. She is a first-generation scholar and former alumna of California State University, Sacramento.
  • Laura Zaragoza is a Sociology master graduate from California State University, Sacramento. She received her B.A from the same institution, after transferring from Solano Community College. As part of the Pathways Fellowship’s initial cohort, she conducted a research project that explores the experiences of undocumented students in higher education. During her time at Sacramento State University, she has been a research assistant and presented at conferences such as California Sociological Association, Pacific Sociological Association, and Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Socia (MALCS). Her own immigrant background motivates her research around immigration, stratification, social inequalities, race and education. She has also been active in community service and has volunteered at various organizations that do work around social justice and immigrant rights.