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
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 were 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 PhD in Educational Policy Studies. My doctoral research focused on the social, political, economical, 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, economical 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 Advance 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/PhD 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.
Ernestine “Ernie” Mendoza
If I could set my car on automatic pilot, I’m sure it would find its way to Claremont without a problem. After all, I’ve been driving here every morning for the past forty years. Forty, that’s correct! My first job with Claremont Colleges Services was in the Office of Admissions for Chicano Students and that was back in 1976. It certainly doesn’t feel that long ago but the physical changes that I’ve seen take place across the campuses remind me that I have been here a significant amount of time.
As Administrative Assistant, my responsibilities are many, starting with office manager duties. I am also responsible for CLSA’s monthly newsletter, CHISPAS, as well as disseminating it and all other CLSA notifications. Therefore, I am also responsible for the student databases used to keep students informed electronically. I supervise the CLSA Interns. As a member of the CLSA staff, we are each responsible for specific programming and I oversee the Alumni Reception, the Chapbook, Almas Unídas: Nuestra Visión, and the two art workshops (one each semester).
On a more personal level, I grew up in the local area of Rancho Cucamonga. I am one of four daughters born to Ernesto and Amalia Franco. Yes, I’m named after my Dad. The Colleges are a big part of my family history. My mother worked as a Building Attendant for many years at Harvey Mudd College. My husband Ray and sister Josie are Pitzer College alums and my daughter is a recent graduate of Scripps College.
If you stop by my office you’ll notice that I love collecting small bear figurines as well as Mexican folk art although my favorite hobby is still scrapbooking. Please stop by CLSA to visit and I will be happy to share some of the work I have created on behalf of CLSA to document our programs and events.