Meet the CLSA Staff
Dedicated to providing programs and services that enhance the academic success and personal development of Chicano/Latino students at The Claremont Colleges.
Dean of Students
Hometown: Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA
I grew up in Barrio Logan, a Latino immigrant community in South East San Diego located 15 minutes away from the international border. Both of my parents immigrated from Jalisco, Mexico and labored with limited resources to provide a better life for my brother, sister, and myself. With my parent’s hard work and dedication, my brother, sister, and I was able to achieve the dream of attending college and create upward mobility in the Latino educational pipeline.
I earned my undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. The following year I went on to earn my master’s degree in Education, with an emphasis in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. While at Harvard, my research consisted of examining issues of diversity, access, and equity in California. In particular, I examined the effects of the elimination of affirmative action in undergraduate admissions at UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego.
After completing my masters, I attended the University of Illinois earning my Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies. My doctoral research focused on the social, political, economic, and cultural effects of the elimination of affirmative action in admissions for African Americans and Chicano/Latinos at UCLA. In order to answer these questions, I incorporated, social, cultural, economic capital, reproduction, and Critical Race theories.
Working on my research has enabled me to present at national conferences such as the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). I have also served in the Editorial Board of the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ). In addition, I have 2 publications; Hiding the Politically Obvious: A Critical Race Theory Preview of Diversity as Racial Neutrality in Higher Education in the Journal of Educational Policy and Another Side of the Percent Plan Story: Latino Enrollment in the Hispanic Serving Institution Sector in California and Texas, a book chapter in Understanding Minority-Serving Institutions.
Prior to coming to the Claremont Colleges Services, I coordinated the University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) at UC Merced and was Project Director of the National Science Foundation California Alliance for Minority Participation (NSF CAMP). Both of these programs aimed to expand the graduate pool of underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). I also managed the recruitment, retention of graduate students. Prior to coming to UC Merced, I coordinated the MD/Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
As a first-generation college student, I experienced, first-hand, the trials of adjusting and navigating environments that were foreign to me. Coming from a working-class background, I am appreciative the guidance of my mentors. It is my desire to be able to assist students at the Claremont Colleges on how to be successful both in the classroom and in their communities.
Assistant Dean of Students
Hometown: Downey, CA
Pay it forward. This motto has always been the driving force behind my decision to go into student affairs. In fact, my passion for student development stems directly from my unique upbringing. I was raised in a single-parent household, with fifteen siblings -that’s right, 15 brothers and sisters -and yes, they’re from the same set of parents! I have many fond memories growing up in a large family, but it also came with great sacrifice. Many of my older siblings were unable to pursue a college degree, due to family obligations, but by the time I graduated from high school, I was able to go directly into college. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as a master’s degree in Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership. After graduate school, I went into the nonprofit sector to work with various grassroots organizations. As a researcher and policy analyst, I helped create holistic “cradle to college” pipelines for low-income, first-generation college-going Latinx students.
After leaving the nonprofit sector, I worked for the state and federal Department of Education, as a consultant on equity reports, focusing on underrepresented ethnic student populations. Much of my assessments impacted policies that promoted access and equity, for underrepresented populations in higher education. I also have experience working with federally funded programs (EPOCHS, GEAR UP, and Upward Bound), at a Hispanic Serving Institution, in north Orange County. These college access and retention programs broadened my perspective of student success, and these experiences have laid a solid foundation for me to fully support Latinx students.
It is an honor to serve as the Assistant Dean of Chicano Latino Student Affairs at The Claremont Colleges; after all, this is my way of doing what I love, paying it forward by influencing the next generation of Latinx leaders.
Administrative and Events Coordinator
Hometown: Alta Gracia, Córdoba, Argentina
When I started working with students over 13 years ago, I found my passion and my calling. I never thought my heart and mind could expand so much as I got to know them, learned about their culture, listened to their dreams and their fears, and walked with them through their academic and personal journeys. They became my sons, my daughters and my friends! My life is so much richer because of that.
I strongly believe in the power of encouragement and support, as I personally would not have made it many times in my life without those who cheered me on and encouraged me to keep my “eyes on the prize.” A timely, kind word can change the course of history! And that is my continued mission as I start my new position of Administrative and Events Coordinator at the Chicano Latino Student Affairs.
On a more personal note, I am from Argentina and contrary to what most people assume, I am not a soccer “fanática”. Terrible, right? However, I must confess that I get very passionate during World Cups supporting all the Latino teams, beginning first of course with my country’s.
I love traveling and my ambitious dream is to visit the countries of all the students I have ever met. Please, stop by my office so that I can learn more about you and where you are from. I am so excited to meet my new Latino community!
Ph.D. Student, Claremont Graduate University
Hometown: Pomona, CA
As a first-generation college student, and now a graduate student, I know how difficult it can be to navigate higher education. I was born and raised in Pomona, and although not far from here, my life and educational experience are deeply shaped by my community and my experience as a first-generation, working-class Latina. Nonetheless, I made it to college! In 2013, I graduated from UC Riverside as a double major, earning my Bachelors in Sociology and in Chicana/o Studies. My experience at UC Riverside was positive and challenging. I worked multiple jobs throughout my undergraduate career and was not able to study abroad or intern because of my need to work to stay in school. My experience was typical of a first-generation student and I decided that I wanted to build bridges to higher education for the students that would come after me. As the oldest of four children, leading the way is not new to me, but I have never been interested in being the first, I have always been concerned with not being the last. Now as a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs concentration at CGU, I am learning how to turn my experience and those of my other first-generation students of color into clear pathways for success. My position as a Graduate Fellow at CLSA is essential to building these bridges for both undergraduate and graduate students, and I am proud to be a part of the CLSA familia.
Pomona College, Junior
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Like many other students, my journey through college has been filled with challenges and setbacks. Since the beginning, CLSA has been a source of support. By working at CLSA, I am able to give back to the community that has always been there for me. It is a privilege which I will always treasure. I am currently a senior at Pomona College majoring in Computer Science. My work at CLSA consists of program organization and outreach, in addition to helping with any ongoing projects. I encourage all Latinx students at the 7C’s to take advantage of the resources CLSA has to offer.
Elia Gil Rojas
Pomona College, Sophomore
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
I am currently a third-year at Pomona College, originally from the East Los Angeles area, majoring in Public Policy Analysis with a concentration in Politics. I visited CLSA for the first time during Pomona’s Admitted Students Day and decided I wanted to be more involved with the center once I started college. Coming from a predominantly Latino city, I began working with CLSA to be more involved with the Latino community within and beyond Pomona. As a CLSA intern, I have worked on flyers, calendars, greeting cards and other miscellaneous tasks. I have also worked alongside other interns to plan workshops, presentations, and community activities for the 5C students. My objective as an intern is to make current and prospective students feel as supported and welcomed, as I once did when I visited CLSA two years ago.
Pitzer College, Sophomore
Hometown: Houston, TX
I was born in Guatemala but raised in Houston, Texas, where I was able to find my passion for medicine. Now, as a first-generation student, I am living the dreams of my grandparents and parents by attending a prestigious college in California. I am currently a third-year at Pitzer College where I am majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Chicanx-Latinx Transnational Studies. With this, I am planning to eventually attend medical school in order to provide medical care to low-income communities. As a CLSA intern, I have been to meet other students with similar dreams, network with graduate students at CGU and KGI, and celebrate my heritage. CLSA has given me the opportunity to grow as a woman of color and expand my roots.