President (November 2022-2024)
Leo R. Chavez is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Chavez received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University. His research has focused on various aspects of the migration experience: families, work, immigration status, access to health care, cancer and Latinas, and media representations.
In addition to scores of academic articles, he is the author of Shadowed Lives: Undocumented Immigrants in American Society (1st edition 1992; 3rd Edition, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning 2013); Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of the Nation (University of California Press 2001); The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation (Stanford University Press, 1st edition 2008; 2nd edition 2013); and Anchor Babies and the Challenge of Birthright Citizenship (Stanford University Press, 2017). His current research examines the effects of political rhetoric, especially anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric, on emotions and psychological well-being.
Dr. Chavez has received a number of awards over his career. In 1992 he was received UCI Lauds and Laurels Award for Distinguished Teacher. He received the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1993, the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists’ Book Award for The Latino Threat in 2009, and the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s award for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America in 2009. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018. The Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists (ALLA) gave him the Distinguished Career Award for 2019. The Society for Applied Anthropology awarded him the Bronislaw Malinowski Award, 2021, for distinguished lifetime contributions.
President-Elect (November 2022-2024)
Dr. Guillermina G. Núñez-Mchiri is Director of Women and Gender Studies and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Núñez received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California Riverside in 2006, her MA in Latin American Studies in 1998, and her BA in International Business in 1994 from San Diego State University. Dr. Núñez-Mchiri began teaching at UTEP since 2004-2005. She teaches courses in Ethnographic research methods; Interdisciplinary Feminist theory and Methods, Anthropology of Food, Gender, and Culture for the College of Liberal Arts and Culture. She also teaches an online course on Death, Dying, and Bereavement for the College of Health Sciences. Her classes incorporate research and community engagement opportunities through service learning. She received the UT Regents Outstanding Teaching Award in 2012.
Dr. Núñez-Mchiri is an applied anthropologist who promotes service learning and engaged scholarship efforts on the U.S.-Mexico Border. She is the academic partner to Wise Latina International, a non-profit organization that empowers Latinas through the arts and entertainment. She is currently Co-Chair for the L.E.A.D. project, an executive leadership program that prepares women with the skills and tools necessary for them to launch projects and initiatives that support the development of Latinas, their families, and community. Dr. Núñez-Mchiri has a 7 year partnership with the City of El Paso’s Park and Recreation Department working with older adult athletes who are seeking to challenge the stigmas of aging through active living and competition in physical activities. She specializes on ethnographic research on the U.S.-Mexico border region and has published on a number of topics related to colonias, immigration and human rights, housing and social justice, Latina identity, Latinas in STEM fields, immigrant youth and education, and the applications of Ethnography and Service Learning in higher education. Her most recent publication addresses women negotiating food insecurity in colonias in the El Paso del Norte border region.
Cecila Vásquez is an American Council of Learned Societies Postdoctoral Scholar. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2021. Her research interrogates the California Values Act and identifies the shortcomings of the policy in protecting undocumented immigrants in the Inland Empire. Her research explores how grassroots organizers developed sanctuary practices for addressing immigrant needs in the Inland Empire. Research interests are citizenship and belonging, prison to ICE pipeline, carceral studies, necropolitics, abolition, and fugitive anthropology.
Cecilia describes herself as a community-based scholar. She seeks to find ways to build bridges between academia and local community through research. Cecilia has led community-art projects, organized conferences, and educational events to discuss issues such as migration and detention. As she is committed to accessibility and decoding academia, she has a book chapter that will be published in 2022 that maps out the challenges and offers tools in accessing funding for community-based research. Cecilia is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the Mapping Academia Series hosted by the Association for Latinx & Latina/o Anthropologists. Each month a different Latinx scholar shares their knowledge and experiences of navigating academia.
Graduate Student Representative (2021-2023)
Nicole Hernández is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at Arizona State University, holding a Master’s in Visual Anthropology from USC. Her research focuses on the Puerto Rican diaspora in California, particularly their early 20th-century history. She is a Digital Archive Fellow at the Diaspora Solidarities Lab for ‘Survival of a People,’ supported by the Mellon Foundation. Focusing on diasporic subjectivity and community memory practices, Nicole’s work employs traditional and digital archives, exploring how technology aids in cultural remembering and resistance. She co-founded Puerto Ricans in Action – Los Angeles in 2016, and her work can be further explored at the California Puerto Rican Archive.
Members at Large (2022-2025)
Miguel Díaz-Barriga, Manuel Galaviz-Ceballos, and Almita Miranda
Daiana Rivas-Tello (she/her/ella) is an anthropological archaeologist and Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at Brown University. She received her M.A. in Anthropology from McMaster University in 2017. Her research explores the intersections between craft production, labor policies, and Indigenous persistence in the Andes. With support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and by employing archaeological, archival and ethnographic methods, she traces how potting communities in Amazonas (Peru) adapted to shifting political regimes from the Late Horizon period (ca. 1470-1535) under Inka rule, to the Spanish Colonial period and into the present. Through this work she examines the strategies of resilience employed by Andean potters and considers the role crafting played in maintaining community identity and memory.
Lisa K.E.M. Cuéllar (she/her/ella) is a Colombian-Floridian scholar who graduated in 2020 from the University of Chicago with a Master’s degree concentrated in Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality Studies. Her Master’s thesis, Mujeres Latinas en Acción: Anti-Oppressive Practice through Panethnic Matching- which won the 2020 ALLA Graduate Student Paper Award, focused on how the domestic violence workers at MLEA simultaneously mobilize latinidad to build community and navigate their intersectional differences to build coalition while serving their mainly 1st generation Latin American immigrant survivor program participants. This ethnographic study with 9 months of field work as an intake worker is the beginning of a long-term project detailing the nuanced ways panethnicity and other similar experiences are mobilized to break cycles of oppression on all levels, interpersonal and structural, through consciousness raising. Lisa took some time off from academia to provide High School Equivalency in Spanish preparation courses to the Latine community of rural western North Carolina and study Loyola’s Online Bilingual MSW while preparing to apply for a PhD in medical/ psychological anthropology. She aspires to focus her dissertation on the mutual healing found in many movements.
ALLA Junior Scholar Outstanding Scholarship and Engagement Award
Julie Torres, Almita Miranda
Book Award Committee
Vanessa Díaz, Hilario Lomeli, Rebecca Gamez, Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera
Graduate Student Paper Prize Committee
Ambar Reyes, Lupe Flores, Miguel Diaz-Barriga
Nuevas Direcciones Committee
Miguel Díaz-Barriga, Margaret Dorsey, Lisa Cuéllar
Bylaws Review Committee
Manuel Galaviz-Ceballos, Gina Núñez
SPECIAL COMMITTEE: Committee for AAA Recommendations
Santiago Guerra, Natalie Martínez, Margaret Dorsey