Lisceth Brazil-Cruz

What year did you graduate and what was your major/minor?
2005 Major- Chican@ Studies and International Relations. Minor in Education

What’s your current occupation?
Ph.D Candidate in School Organization and Educational Policy

How does your Chicana/o Studies knowledge intertwine with your current field of work or projects you have worked on?
My dissertation is focused on the multiple ways in which Latino families support, advocate and participate in the education of their students as they transition from high school to college. My background in Chicana/o Studies has provided me with an understanding of the political, geographical and cultural landscapes that frame the ways in which Latino families navigate through institutions in the United States and how this in turn informs how they navigate through educational institutions. When conducting interviews with either families or students, I am able to connect with them at a deeper level-beyond having a communal cultural background. Having a background in Chicana/o Studies has been an asset in my doctoral work because I have been asked to participate in various studies because of my knowledge of the community and my ability to contextualize experiences in research. Chicana/o Stuides is rooted in Social Justice, this is a fundamental element in the work I do with Latina/o families and in other research projects I am involved in.

What was your favorite part about the Chicana/o Studies Department or being a Chicana/o Studies major at UC Davis?
I attended Davis as a transfer student. Coming to Davis was a big adjustment for me, after having attended a community college. When I discovered Chicana/o Studies I knew I had found my intellectual home. I took as many classes as I could in the department because I felt connected to the material and I knew that I wanted to work with Latino families. I wanted to learn as much as possible because I was aware of the great diversity within the community. Here, I received unparalleled mentoring from professors. This lead to my academic trajectory, leading me to earn a masters and now completing a doctorate degree.  Dr. De la Torre was my undergraduate mentor as I conducted research and encouraged me to continue to a Ph.D. I was given the freedom to grow as a student and as an academic because professors were always available to me, validated my thoughts and guided my work.

What was your favorite Chicana/o Studies course? Why?
I took every class offered by Dr. Yvette Flores.  I migrated to the United States as a teenager. Being in Dr. Flores class made me feel for the first time that the curriculum being taught was directly reflective of my migratory experience and what I experienced after as a newly arrived immigrant in the United States. Dr. Flores then became a mentor for me and also encouraged me to continue with my studies to achieve my academic goals.