Robert Hernandez (he/him)
Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Native to Los Angeles, Robert Hernandez aims to educate and engage in practice-driven research to address critical areas of society that continue to hinder communities from flourishing. His areas of interest include vulnerable youth populations, adolescent social issues, adolescent gang intervention, strength-based/resiliency and youth empowerment models of practice. He was recognized and awarded by the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly & Academic Culture Assembly as the most influential Professor of Color.
Juan De Lara (he/him/el)
American Studies and Ethnicity, Center for Latinx and Latin American Studies
Juan D. De Lara is the Director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies Center and an Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Dr. De Lara writes about social movements, Latinx geographies, the U.S./Mexico border, urban political economy, and the intersections of data, race, and social justice. He is from Coachella, CA and proudly comes from a family of migrant farmworkers.
Manuel Pastor (he/him)
Sociology / Equity Research Institute
Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His book, State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future, came out in 2018 and was lauded in a New York Times review as “concise, clear and convincing.” 2021 sees the publication of two new books, South Central Dreams: Finding Home and Building Community in South L.A. (co-authored with Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo) and Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter (co-authored with Chris Benner).
Natalia Molina (she/her/hers)
Dornsife / Department of American Studies and Ethnicity
Natalia Molina is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. She is the author of two award-winning books, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts and Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1940, as well as co-editor of Relational Formations of Race: Theory, Method and Practice. Her work examines the interconnectedness of racial and ethnic communities through her concept of “racial scripts” which looks at how practices, customs, policies and laws that are directed at one group and are readily available and hence easily applied to other groups. She continues to explore the themes of race, space, labor, immigration, gender and urban history in her forthcoming book Place-making at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles Nourished its Community (University of California Press, 2022). Professor Molina is working on a new book, The Silent Hands that Shaped the Huntington: A History of Its Mexican Workers.
Diego Lopez (he/him)
Dr. Diego Lopez is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy for the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. He has been teaching various classes for Occupational Science Minor program for the past 2.5 years but has been involved in the program since 2014 when he first took OT 250. Fun fact, during his undergraduate career, he threw javelin for the USC’s Men Track and Field Team and was a two-time Captain. He completed his Doctorate in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in 2019 with an emphasis on the mental health and well-being of college students. He has a strong passion for helping college students embrace their natural strengths and promote a strong sense of well-being, especially in classes such as OT 100:THRIVE. During his summers and most weekends, he works as a clinical occupational therapist for various skilled nursing facilities all throughout Southern California, helping adults regain their independence and reengage in activities they love doing.
Dean Pedro Noguera (he/him)
Rossier School of Education
Pedro Noguera is one of the nation’s leading scholars on issues related to race, inequality and education. Prior to coming to USC to serve as the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the Rossier School of Education, he was a Distinguished Professor of Education and holder of endowed chairs at UCLA, NYU, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of 15 books. His most recent book A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Tough Questions and Complex Issues Confronting K-12 Education in the United States Today with Rick Hess was the winner of the American Association of Publishers Prose Award in 2021). Noguera is the son of Caribbean immigrants, and proud of his roots in Brooklyn, NY. He is the father of five, grandfather of five, and a lover of books, sports, gardening, travel and cooking.
Oliver Mayer (he/him/his)
School of Dramatic Arts (THTR)
Oliver Mayer is a tenured professor of dramatic writing, associate dean of strategic initiatives and associate dean of faculty at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. He is a playwright, poet and librettist, whose new opera 3 Paderewskis, composed by Jenni Brandon, received its world premiere at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Mayer is the author of more than 30 plays including Blade to the Heat. He also wrote the libretto for the opera America Tropical, composed by David Conte. Along with assorted publications, Mayer wrote the children’s books Big Dog on Campus Learns to be a Trojan, and its follow-ups Big Dog on Campus Goes to the Library and Big Dog on Campus Goes on Patrol. Mayer is also an published essayist and poet. On campus, he has received several university honors, including the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching and a Mellon Mentoring Award for mentoring undergraduates. His writing has received various awards, including The American Prize for new opera.
Adrian Huerta (he/him/his)
Rossier School of Education
Adrian H. Huerta is a tenure-track faculty member in the Pullias Center for Higher Education located in the Rossier School of Education. His research centers on boys and men of color, college access and (in)equity, and gang-associated individuals. He earned his Ph.D. in Education from UCLA in 2016.
Naddia Palacios (she/her)
Rossier School of Education
Dr. Naddia Palacios (she/her) serves as the Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Student Equity and Inclusion at the University of Southern California. In her role, Naddia oversees a cluster of student development centers and initiatives within the Division of Student Affairs that offer student support services and programs that focus on intersectionality, sense of belonging and well-being. SEIP consists of Asian Pacific American Student Services, Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, First Generation Plus Success Center, Latinx/Chicanx Center for Advocacy and Student Affairs, LGBTQ+ Student Center, Student Basic Needs and the Veterans Resource Center. Additionally, Naddia has programmed and trained around issues of diversity, identity, social justice, sexual violence prevention and intervention. She earned a B.A in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University, a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and a Ed.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Daisy Guzman (she/her/hers)
Marshall/Office of Undergraduate Advising & Student Affairs
Daisy Guzman is one of the Assistant Directors in Marshall’s Office of Undergraduate Advising and Student Affairs. Daisy identifies as a proud first-generation Mexican American. She is originally from the sunny Southern California neighborhood of Gardena, but she also calls Philadelphia her second home. After receiving her B.A in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, she relocated to Philadelphia where she worked in college success and retention initiatives for under-resourced communities. While in Philly she pursued her M.S.Ed in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Daisy worked at Philadelphia Higher Education for Neighborhood Development at UPenn overseeing a college retention program called the Next Steps AmeriCorps, supporting first- generation college students through civic engagement, mentorship and leadership development. Currently Daisy serves in the Council of Academic Advisors at USC as the Communications Co Chair.
Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola (she/her/ella)
Office of Equity and Community Engagement, Rossier School of Education
Dr. Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola directs programming for the Office of Equity and Community Engagement at USC Rossier’s School of Education and serves as Adjunct Associate Professor in Rossier’s Educational Leadership Doctoral program. She has held leadership positions in K-12 education and non-profit spaces. Her leadership centers advocacy for the positive conditions that educators, children, families, and communities need to thrive. Dr. Mateo-Gaxiola has presented at international, national, and local conferences on critically reflective and culturally relevant teaching and coaching practices, teacher wellbeing, resilient school environments, participatory decision-making, and community school implementation. As a volunteer, Dr. Mateo-Gaxiola serves the community by supporting artists, arts education, and arts advocacy as Chair of the Board of Directors for Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, CA. In 2022, Angels Gate Cultural Center was named non-profit of the year by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Mateo-Gaxiola earned a Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from USC Rossier’s School of Education; Master of Arts in Education Leadership from Pepperdine University; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Global Strategy and Law from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; and she holds credentials and certificates in Multiple Subjects with CLAD, Single Subjects-Mathematics, School Administration and Cognitive Coaching.
Dolores Sotelo (she/ her/ella)
Associate Director of USC Latino Alumni Association
Dolores Sotelo oversees the LAA scholarship program and plays a key role in LAA’s annual events. A member of the Trojan Family since 1980, she previously held positions in the USC Office of Admissions and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Minority Engineering Program. She has also been involved with the USC Latino Forum and University Staff Club and is an active member with Town & Gown of USC. Sotelo has been honored for her commitment to USC Latino students by the USC Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the USC Latino Business Student Association, USC Chicanos for Progressive Education and the USC Latina/o Student Assembly. She is an avid Trojan football fan.
Allan Lopez (he/him)
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Allan Lopez is an award-winning news writer and producer who’s covered local, national and international news. He brings close to 20 years of professional journalism experience into the classroom. Prof. Lopez has worked for several English and Spanish language media outlets including KTLA, ABC Network News and Univision. During his career, he has covered breaking news, entertainment, sports, technology, and financial news. He is also passionate about Latinx issues, with experience covering immigration and culture stories in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. He is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University, and he obtained his higher education teaching certification from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University. Allan is also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Society for Professional Journalists, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
Ariela Nerubay Turndorf (she/her)
Marshall School of Business
Ariela Nerubay is EVP and Chief Marketing Officer responsible for business strategy, brand positioning and online expansion efforts for Curacao retail stores. Since hire, she has led Curacao’s brand repositioning and target expansion efforts that scaled the business by attracting new customer segments. She designed programs to deliver better customer experiences, streamlined creative production processes to reduce friction and cost, and championed a culture that is customer-centric, data driven, and agile
Gerardo Munck (he/him)
Department of Political Science and International Relations
I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to the United States during the country’s last military regime to study. I taught at the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, before moving to USC. I teach courses on Latin American Studies, comparative politics, democratization, and research methods. I have just finished writing a textbook on Latin American politics: “Latin American Politics and Society: A Comparative and Historical Analysis” (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
Maria Romero Morales
Office of Inclusion and Diversity
Maria is an administrative leader and interdisciplinary scholar whose work at the intersection of public policy and education informs her efforts to translate theory into practice that improves higher education. Dr. Romero-Morales brings along with her over 15 years of experience in k-12, community college, and higher education, where she has developed wide-ranging expertise spanning from recruitment and retention of students with non-traditional experiences, equity focused professional development for STEM faculty, and strategies to support higher education staff and students of color. In addition, Maria has cultivated in-depth knowledge of college retention and access and academic challenges that prevent first-generation and student of color populations from succeeding in a higher education environment. Based on her administrative, classroom, and research experience, Maria has had the distinct honor to provide consultation and professional development to California State University, University of California, and community college practitioners offering them resources on high impact practices focused on college access, retention, and academic success.
Her commitment and passion for higher education has led to her service on a range of committees on campus and in her community as an elected member of the El Monte city council. Maria is a distinguished first-generation, Triple-USC Trojan earning her Ed.D. with an emphasis on high impact practices for students of color, an M.P.A. from Price School of Public Policy, and B.S. focused on organizational change from Marshall School of Business.
Nancy Alonzo (she/her/ella)
I am a Salvadoreña living en La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles with a beautiful pup named Apollo. I am a mom, a gramma, a Doctora, and a passionate educator. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, exploring the city, and enjoying yummy food. Love meeting Latine students, so stop by my office anytime. Fight On!
Amara Aguilar (she/her)
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Amara Aguilar is a professor of journalism who centers her work around emerging technology, visual journalism, social media, design, Latinx audiences and engaging diverse communities.
USC Latino Alumni Association
Isabel Aranda, USC LAA Assistant Director: manages alumni and student relations, and provides support for fundraising, communications and event planning. Prior to joining LAA, she served as executive/research assistant at a public policy research company, worked as a college advisor at Santa Monica College and a development manager for several Santa Monica-Malibu School District community projects. Isabel received a BS in public policy and management from the USC Price School of Public Policy; she later earned a master in public administration from California State University, Northridge. She is a former USC LAA scholarship recipient and has served on the LAA Scholarship Committee.
Annenberg School of Journalism
Oscar Garza is a veteran journalist who has worked in TV, print, radio and digital platforms and has spent most of his career in cultural journalism. He is a former senior producer and senior editor at KPCC (NPR) in Los Angeles, where he co-created the daily culture program, “The Frame.” He was the founding editor-in-chief of Tu Ciudad magazine and is a former senior editor at the Los Angeles Times. His writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, Texas Monthly, and the Journal of Popular Music (Cambridge University Press). He was a co-writer on the theater production, “By the Hand of the Father,” which toured throughout the U.S.
USC Latino Alumni Association
Vivian Sampson joined the LAA in 2014. She has nearly 30 years of administrative experience working for national and international corporations, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, LA Care Health Plan and Columbia Pictures. Sampson earned an associate’s degree in business administration from Missouri Southern State University, as well as a BS in business management and a MBA from University of Phoenix. She is currently pursing a master’s in Project Management at USC.
Viterbi School of Engineering Admissions and Student Engagement
Lorena Duran serves as the Director of Student Wellness for the Viterbi School of Engineering. She is a data-driven mental health practitioner passionate about building organizational capacity to ensure student well-being in academic settings from preschool to college. She draws upon her experience as a licensed clinical social worker to build robust and coordinated social, emotional, and behavioral health support systems for students to pave a solid pathway toward academic success. Lorena, a first-gen student, received a B.A. (Psychology & Sociology) and a master’s in social work from USC and a doctorate in educational leadership from Azusa Pacific University. While a student at USC, Lorena was involved in MEChA, Latino Student Assembly, and the Latino Social Work Caucus and spent a lot of time in what was then El Centro Chicano, now La CASA.
USC Latino Alumni Association
Mercy Willard was named Executive Director of the USC Latino Alumni Association in 2016. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University. She became a USC alumna in 2021, when she earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership. Her research focused on the impact of academic scholarships on the persistence of first-generation low-income Latino students attending public universities. Mercy is also an alumna of CORO Health Leadership Fellowship Program.
Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures in Dornsife
Profesora Consuelo Sigüenza-Ortiz has taught Spanish at USC since 1982. Her pedagogical focus includes language curriculum at all levels, specializing in Spanish for medicine and the arts. Her scholarly interests include U.S. bilingualism, sociolinguistic research, the teaching of culture, language acquisition and learning, and teaching methodology and assessment. She is currently a faculty mentor for the USC Spanish Undergraduate Student Association, USC LA CASA, and USC Joint Educational Project.