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El Centro Chicano y Latino's Summer Hours are Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

Graduate Scholars-in-Residence Program

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The Graduate Scholars-in-Residence Program at El Centro Chicano y Latino was established in 1998 and was designed to foster a vibrant, interdisciplinary intellectual community among Chicana/o/x/e-Latina/o/x/e graduate students at Stanford. The program is also designed to identify graduate student mentors for Stanford undergraduates.

Each year, El Centro Chicano y Latino selects a cohort of eight doctoral students from different Departments, Programs, and Schools with office space and a community where they can support one another and exchange ideas. In exchange, the Graduate Scholars are expected to spend time in their office space, give one research presentation for the community, and help to guide undergraduates in their academic pursuits and/or plans for graduate studies.

The Graduate Scholars-in-Residence also generously supported by the Charlene J. Porras Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Award each year.

"El Centro was critical to my dissertation writing process. It provided the academic and moral support to think through my research and complete my dissertation while navigating the job market."

Maribel Santiago, Ph.D. 
Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Alumna
Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University

2023-2024 Graduate Scholars-in-Residence

Alexia Hernandez

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Linguistics, School of Humanities & Sciences

Hello! My name is Alexia and I’m a fourth year PhD candidate in Linguistics. Growing up speaking Spanish and attending a Spanish immersion elementary school, I became particularly interested in language when my family settled in a rural Vermont town of 800 people. In middle school, I opted to take Latin and continued studying Classics throughout high school, including during a year-long study abroad program in Italy, where I focused on Latin, Ancient Greek, and Italian. At Princeton, I discovered the field of linguistics and never looked back. Through my research program at Stanford, I’ve dedicated myself to the study of Hispanic accents and the biases and stereotypes they can activate.

Because of my Cuban heritage and field work in Miami, FL, I love to talk about what’s been dubbed the Miami accent. Through the Frosh Scholars Program, I’ve also valued meeting regularly with undergraduate students and discussing the topics that are piquing their interest! As a Grad Scholar, I look forward to contributing to building back El Centro’s community post-pandemic and strengthening bonds between students and staff. The comunidad at El Centro has been so important to me throughout my PhD, and this role is just one way I hope to give back and make an impact.

Ed'd Luna Bhagwandeen

Doctoral Candidate, Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE), Graduate School of Education 

The child of an immigrant father from rural Zacatecas, México and a fiercely independent mother de raíces Chihuahuenses, I grew up in La Habra, California. The northernmost corner of Orange County untouched by freeways, it’s now a suburb that commemorates the region’s agrarian history with an annual Corn Festival even though the fields that my grandparents’ generation remembered have long since been given over to real estate developers. I was first presented with the history of my hometown–where an elder cousin of mine still serves as perennial mayor–in my middle school’s centennial yearbook.  In it, photographs of my grandfather, other Mexican children, and segregated drinking fountains appear on a sepia-toned centerfold.  And in a reprint of the student behavior code, a prohibition on the use of Spanish on school grounds calls out from decades past agnostic to the transgenerational consequences of restrictive language policies on families like mine. 

My name is Ed’d Luna Bhagwandeen (they/them), and I’m a PhD student in the Race, Inequality & Language in Education program in the Graduate School of Education. I’m a first generation college student, and I study how student-figures (prescribed ways of being and knowing for children) are developed in schools and concretized through teacher education practices. Antes de llegar a Estánfor, I was a librarian in public, college, and K-12 settings before becoming a bilingual elementary school teacher in charge of dual language immersion and newcomer program development for public schools.

Ask me about organizing your electronic documents or how to approach reading research papers si te dan ansia. Or better yet, challenge me to get through a conversation without relating everything back to libraries. You can also talk to me about language and identity and why we might encounter *all the feels* while trying to relate to each other through either (HINT: I will blame schooling). But if you’d rather make an appointment with CAPS (HINT: do it) for that, talk to me about camping and exploring California! You can also ask me about how to be a parent while in grad school (again), but honestly, I’m still figuring that out day by day.

I first came to El Centro looking for a place to commiserate, socialize, and figure out problem sets with my colegas after a particularly brutal statistics section.  At the time, much of El Centro was still in boxes in the middle of reopening from distance learning, but Margaret and the then-GSRs rearranged tables, found whiteboards, and brought in snacks so we could do our work. It’s my sincere hope que entre todos, we can keep El Centro just as welcoming as six PhD students found it to be that day and make it a place that might continually accommodate the work of generations who will follow us at this institution.

Elena Martinez

Doctoral Candidate, Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME)

My parents were raised in adobe houses without electricity, gas, and running water. With perseverance, they found their way from Presidios, Durango, and Tacambarro, Michoacan, to East Los Angeles, CA. They later moved to Monterey Park, where I was raised. Spanish is my first language, but I consider mathematics as my second. While entering school as a limited English speaker came with challenges, mathematics provided me with greater fortitude, self-confidence, and an increased desire to learn. This desire has led me to pursue my PhD in computational and mathematical engineering (CME). I am now entering my second year and conducting research in Stanford’s Cardiovascular Biomechanics Computation Lab, developing mathematical models to support pediatric surgery. 

I graduated from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) where I double majored in computer science and applied mathematics. At LMU, a tight-knit community taught me the importance of unity, support, and mentorship. I have been blessed to have such amazing mentors, without whom I would not be where I am today. I look forward to passing along the encouragement and advice my mentors shared with me. Being part of El Centro means joining a diverse comunidad of authentic people who are aspiring to do and be themselves while encouraging others to do the same. I am very excited to be a GSR and I can’t wait to support our undergraduate students in any way I can: applying to graduate school, finding internships, finding balance while managing a busy schedule, or just listening. 

Isabel Delwel

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine

I was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and grew up in Austin, Texas. I am a proud Jewish Dutch/Dominican queer woman. I completed my undergrad at The University of North Texas with a BA in Biology (minor in Chemistry) where I was first introduced to scientific research studying bacterial viruses. That led to an internship studying influenza in Seattle, a post-bac program studying Ebola in NYC, and ultimately joining the Microbiology & Immunology PhD program here at Stanford. Currently, I use molecular virology and epidemiological modeling to provide new insights critical for understanding how different manifestations of infectious diseases link to transmission rates. I have mentored students through SSRP, ADVANCE, Hermanxs, WCC STEM, the Green Scholar’s Program, and Stanford Brain Days. I am also an OCT for the Hume Center.

El Centro provides a supportive and empowering community where we always have a space to be heard, learn, and grow.

Kyalamboka Brown

Doctoral Candidate, Math Education and Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) Program, School of Education

 My name is Kyalamboka Brown, and I am a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education. The intersection of my research interests is represented by my doctoral programs of study which include 1) Mathematics Education; 2) Education Policy; and 3) Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE). I study how the sociopolitical context influences the development of mathematics identities of secondary students.  I am a first-generation college student from Pontiac, Michigan. I worked in K-12 education for a decade as a high school mathematics teacher, STEM curriculum developer, and an instructional coach. I hold a degree in pure mathematics from Michigan State University and a master's in education from the University of Michigan. At Stanford, I have also worked with the Black Community Services Center and Women’s Center. 

El Centro is a home away from home —a place to build community. I look forward to talking with you! Ask me about using technology to stay organized, summer research opportunities, or ways to improve your writing skills.

Mercedes Martinez Milantchi 

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, School of Humanities & Science

My name is Mercedes (she/her/ella) and I am a Puerto Rican archaeologist and curator pursuing a PhD in Anthropology here at Stanford. I grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and completed a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in Archaeological Studies and an Erasmus Mundus masters in ARCHaeological MATerials Sciences (University of Evora, Sapienza University and Aristotle University). Prior to joining Stanford, I worked as a curator at the Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American research at the British Museum for almost four years where I ran the artist residency program. At the museum, we focused on addressing the painful histories behind collections and emphasized the voices of descendant communities. As part of the small team of Latinx women, we aimed to mobilize heritage and research for social justice.

Following these experiences, I have focused my doctoral research at the intersection of coloniality, sovereignty, material culture, Indigeneity and the politics of the past. Specifically, I am interested in the role of museums and grassroots heritage initiatives for remembering the past in the Caribbean. I am passionate about how “things” can both tell stories about the distant past and be recalled in the present for contemporary political goals. In addition, I strive to complete my doctoral research using collaborative methodologies to counter the extractive nature of field-based anthropology and archaeology.  

Please come and chat with me about working in museums, archaeology, anthropology, contemporary art, Puerto Rico/Caribbean, etc. 

Stanford is not designed for all students, and I really appreciate el Centro as a space for community building, as a bulwark against social injustice and most importantly, as a small pocket of resistance within an elite institution.

Sergio Sánchez López

Doctoral Candidate, Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Doerr School of Sustainability

I grew up in Mexico City and consider myself a proud Chilango. I hold a bachelor's degree in International Business from Tec de Monterrey, a Law degree from UNAM, and an LL.M. in Environmental Law & Policy from Stanford Law School. I am an environmental advocate and focus my research on how to accelerate the clean energy transition equitably. My research highlights the unique qualities of the communities, recognize past harms, and amplifies the voices of those most marginalized by the current energy system. 

El Centro is a space where I have found community and where my culture and language are celebrated. For two years now, I have had the privilege of contributing to strengthening El Centro’s community through the Frosh Scholars program. Beyond any professional or academic advice I have given as a mentor, my biggest satisfaction has been helping young students feel welcome at Stanford.

Xavi Luis Burgos

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of Education 

Xavi Luis Burgos is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, researching the pedagogical, political, and prophetic histories and strategies of Caribbean communities, with a focus on African diasporic religious traditions. A longtime educator, writer, organizer, artist, and curator, Xavi’s work includes developing and directing educational programming utilizing public art, film, poetry, photography, and popular education on radical histories, community organizing, LGBTQAI cultures, Caribbean religions, and sexual health. He co-founded the ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! campaign, which worked to assemble resources and agitate consciousness of gentrification in Chicago. 

He served on the board of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, one of Chicago’s largest affordable housing developers. He co-developed, curated, and moderated the Afrorriqueñes symposium, exploring Afro-puertorriqueñidad between Puerto Rico and Chicago. He was Editor-in-Chief of Que Ondee Sola, and published essays in Gozamos, La Voz del Paseo Boricua, Claridad, and 80 grados. Xavi is the co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of La Respuesta, a publication that cultivated bridges between the diverse communities of the Puerto Rican Diáspora. 

2022-2023 Graduate Scholars-in-Residence

Brian Cabral

Doctoral Candidate, Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program, School of Education

young man with glasses and a beard stands with his arms crossed. The Centro Chicano y Latino mural is visible in the background.

I’m from arguably one of the most complicated cities in the world: Chicago. As a Chicagoan, I was born and raised in the Mexican diaspora, in the Little Village (or La Villita) neighborhood specifically. Both my parents are Mexican, from Jalisco and Zacatecas. This is important because race, ethnicity, class, and place are integral to the ways that I move in the world and in the kind of research I engage in during my day job as a PhD candidate. I am currently a fourth year in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program, and recently completed my MA in Sociology at Stanford.

Because I am at the graduate school of education, it’s safe to assume that education and schooling were influential throughout my upbringing. I didn’t always like to read or do schoolwork, but I liked to learn and ask questions. I got kicked out of school in the 6th grade, which was a pivotal moment for me. I eventually got accepted again at my neighborhood elementary school, then ended up at Social Justice High School. I went through three different and painful interviews that led me to Oberlin College in Ohio as a Posse fellow. From there, I applied to graduate school during my senior year, and matriculated into the PhD program in Education here at Stanford in 2018. While on paper this educational trajectory appears to be straightforward, it’s a lot more complex that what’s at the surface. But I am grateful for the mentors and spaces that made it so that I got past all the bumps and barriers along the way.

When it comes to research, I’m interested in a lot of things. But what I’m focused on studying right now is the deeply problematic history and interconnectedness between schools and carceral spaces, with the prison and the spaces within prisons being one of them. I’m interested to learn how carcerality appears to trickle into spaces where young people and adults navigate complex inter-institutional contexts. I am also a student of abolition, so I think carefully and critically about what an abolitionist framing might look like in the education and the schooling space—where ‘learning’ and ‘development’ for young people is presumed to take place. Lastly, I am interested in the ways school-carceral-abolitionist geographies are sites where difference-making or difference-maintenance projects are reformulated or rearticulated, and I explore which form they take place (e.g., via race, ethnicity, gender, ability, etc.). 

This is my second (and sadly, final) year as a GSR fellow at El Centro. I was initially drawn to this place for a variety of reasons related to comunidad and the practice of affirming our presence at a predominantly white and elite institution like Stanford. In fact, one of the best things about my experience here is that they accepted and created a space for me despite all identities I hold, any institutional accomplishments and failures, or despite my complexities. The struggle and messy work of building and sustaining community is tough, but El Centro has made things a lot easier for me as a doctoral student, and for that I remain grateful.

Isabel Delwel

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine

I was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and grew up in Austin, Texas. I am a proud Jewish Dutch/Dominican queer woman. I completed my undergrad at The University of North Texas with a BA in Biology (minor in Chemistry) where I was first introduced to scientific research studying bacterial viruses. That led to an internship studying influenza in Seattle, a post-bac program studying Ebola in NYC, and ultimately joining the Microbiology & Immunology PhD program here at Stanford. Currently, I use molecular virology and epidemiological modeling to provide new insights critical for understanding how different manifestations of infectious diseases link to transmission rates. I have mentored students through SSRP, ADVANCE, Hermanxs, WCC STEM, the Green Scholar’s Program, and Stanford Brain Days. I am also an OCT for the Hume Center.

El Centro provides a supportive and empowering community where we always have a space to be heard, learn, and grow.

Kyalamboka Brown

Doctoral Candidate, Math Education and Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) Program, School of Education

My name is Kyalamboka Brown, and I am a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education. The intersection of my research interests is represented by my doctoral programs of study which include 1) Mathematics Education; 2) Education Policy; and 3) Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE). I study how the sociopolitical context influences the development of mathematics identities of secondary students. I am originally from Pontiac, Michigan and worked in K-12 education for a decade. I hold a degree in pure mathematics from Michigan State University and a master's in education from the University of Michigan. 

At Stanford, I have been a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students. I also serve as a graduate student coordinator for the Women’s Center and an editorial board member of Stanford’s Public Scholarship Collaborative.

El Centro is a welcoming space to make genuine connections and build community. I am looking forward to this year as a graduate scholar in residence!

Marisol Zarate

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences

Hi! My name is Marisol Zarate (she/her) and I am from San Bernardino, California. I am currently a student in the Sociology Ph.D. Program. I am very interested in public scholarship exploring cities, policing, neighborhoods, and transformative methods of social change. I did my undergrad here as well (’19) in the program of Urban Studies. During undergrad, I found a home with the Latinx and the first-generation, low-income communities at Stanford. Now as a graduate student, El Centro continues to mean a lot to me because it is a safe space where my identities are celebrated and where I can feel supported and support others thrive in their research and as human beings. I always love talking about self-care, mental health, music, and mystery tv shows. 

Martín Acosta Parra

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Chemistry, School of Humanities and Sciences

Photo of Martín Alonso Acosta

I was born and raised in Sinaloa, MX until I was seven at which time my family decided to move to the United States. My formative years were spent in the small-town community of Turlock, CA which has the distinct pleasure of having Colin Kaepernick as a hometown hero.  I began my undergraduate education at Duke University in North Carolina but came back to California to finish at Pomona College. Pomona not only offered me academics that were more aligned with my values, but I finally began to develop an identity through my participation in community. My journey as a transfer informs me to this day and has always compelled me to motivate others to seek what they need to succeed academically. Most importantly, it was the supportive network of professors and mentors I met at Pomona that paved the way for me to complete a successful degree in chemistry and arrive at Stanford as a grad student in the department of Chemistry. 

 My research interests have always been all over the place but nowadays I consider myself a chemical biologist with an inclination for chemical synthesis. Organic chemistry but specifically synthesis was the first topic to truly excite me about science. However, I now understand that I am interested in the design and synthesis of chemical tools to study biological systems and pair this with molecular insight to enhance my progress. I am currently studying the DNA glycosylase MUTYH as part of a larger effort to study and modulate DNA repair. I am specifically working on medicinal chemistry campaign to design a potent inhibitor of its activity. MUTYH activity has been implicated in several cancer pathways as well having a link to inflammation. The latter has been associated with the presence of MUTYH activity and as such inhibition present a possible therapeutic strategy for inflammation. 

Mentoring is a large part of my story as an academic and as such I have tried to bring that to my Chemistry department. I have been involved with academics as a TA trainer and took the initiative to form my own “Ask a Grad Centro Scholar” office hour space to begin creating community for our chemistry undergrads. I am so grateful for El Centro because they have given me a community, I would never find in my home department and empowered me to build that community for our prospective chemists. In just a few months, being a Grad Scholar-in-Residence has completely changed how I feel about the future of my graduate career. I know that El Centro will continue to provide me a nurturing community that I know I am safe with, and I can reach out to in my times of desperation. I am excited for the return of the El Centro community and am so excited to convive with all of you soon!

Sergio Sánchez López

Doctoral Candidate, Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Doerr School of Sustainability

I grew up in Mexico City and consider myself a proud Chilango. I hold a bachelor's degree in International Business from Tec de Monterrey, a Law degree from UNAM, and an LL.M. in Environmental Law & Policy from Stanford Law School. 

I am an environmental advocate and focus my research on how to accelerate the clean energy transition equitably. My research highlights the unique qualities of the communities, recognize past harms, and amplifies the voices of those most marginalized by the current energy system. 

El Centro is a space where I have found community and where my culture and language are celebrated. For two years now, I have had the privilege of contributing to strengthening El Centro’s community through the Frosh Scholars program. Beyond any professional or academic advice I have given as a mentor, my biggest satisfaction has been helping young students feel welcome at Stanford.

Tania Flores

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures (ILAC), School of Humanities and Sciences 

Tania Flores (she/ella/ela) is a oaxacaliforniana born in México and raised in northern California. A queer, mixed-race woman of Mixtec descent, Tania attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and studied abroad in Morocco. Between college and grad school, Tania worked at Zócalo Public Square, completed a Fulbright Research Grant in Granada, Spain, and managed the Solís Policy Institute, the flagship program of the Women’s Foundation California. Her research examines questions of race, gender, and empire in Iberian, Latin American, and Latinx cultural production from the nineteenth century to the present.

At Stanford, Tania serves as an active member of the Stanford Solidarity Network, a Frosh Scholars Mentor, co-coordinator of Generaciones: A Collaborative Research Group on Diasporic Mexicanidades, co-coordinator of New Flamencologías: A Collaborative Research Group on Critical Flamenco Studies, and co-president of Flamenco Cardenal.

Tania is passionate about El Centro as a space for community joy as well as political resistance and solidarity. El Centro has played a central role in Tania’s ability to build a home at Stanford, an institution that can feel particularly alienating and oppressive for grad students of color, queer grad students, and grad students who are not cis men. She is passionate about supporting El Centro’s ability to grow its capacity to reimagine and remake Stanford.

Victoria Melgarejo Vieyra

Doctoral Candidate, Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) Program, Department of Education

Victoria Melgarejo

I was born in Michoacan, Mexico and grew up in the Eastern Coachella Valley. I am a first-generation student and the first in my family to pursue undergraduate and graduate education.  For my undergraduate studies, I attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where I double majored in Language Culture & Society and Spanish. Currently, I am a 5th year PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Education in the Race, Inequality, and Language, in Education program. My research focuses on examining language in education. Specifically, I explore the academic trajectories and schooling experiences of Latinx students designated as Long-term English learners. 

At Stanford I have been in the leadership team for the Women of Color Collective and the Resilient 1st Gen student organizations. Additionally, this year I have the amazing opportunity to be one of the Frosh Scholars Program coordinators. As a Grad Scholar in Residence, I am excited to get to know new and returning undergraduate students!

"El Centro provides a sense of support and belonging. It was comforting to have a place where others would understand my background and life experiences. I felt heard and understood at Stanford because of El Centro."

Jesus Madrid
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Neurosciences, Stanford School of Medicine

"I consider El Centro my home on campus and am grateful for the space, support, and community the center offers to graduate students."

Vanessa Seals
Doctoral Candidate, Department of English