As we reach the end of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we want to highlight and celebrate some of our HESA faculty and educational leadership doctoral students’ recent contributions to scholarship, practice, and activism in higher education. Our faculty and students are uplifting Latinx voices and experiences, contributing to the policy and public discourses, and centering, celebrating, and pushing the boundaries of Latinidad in student affairs and higher education.
In this post, we highlight program faculty Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya and Dr. Kenny Nienhusser, recent graduate Dr. Joshua Abreu (‘20G), and current Ph.D. student Luz Burgos-López. Though all of their work integrates and spans research, public engagement, service, and activism, we have put specific publications and projects into those categories below. We hope that you will learn more about and engage with their work as we end this month of celebration and uplift, and well beyond.
Castillo-Montoya, M. & Verduzco Reyes, D. (2020) Learning Latinidad: The role of a Latino cultural center service-learning course in Latino identity inquiry and sociopolitical capacity, Journal of Latinos and Education, 19:2, 132-147, DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2018.1480374
Nienhusser, H. K., & Oshio, T. (2020). Postsecondary education access (im)possibilities for undocu/DACAmented youth living with the potential elimination of DACA. Educational Studies, 56(4), 366–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2020.1757448
Nienhusser, H. K., & Oshio, T. (2019). Awakened hatred and heightened fears: “The Trump Effect” on the everyday lives of mixed-status families. Cultural Studies « Critical Methodologies, 19(3), 173–183. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708618817872
While Dr. Nienhusser’s scholarship does focus on undocumented students and about 80% of undocumented immigrants are Latinx, he does not hold this as synonymous to Latinx. In other words, the undocumented community comprises a diverse membership of individuals from a wide array of racial/ethnic identities.
Dr. Nienhusser on the Hablemos de Política podcast. The podcast episode, which is in Spanish, though it did not focus on the U.S. Latinx population, provided an overview of the U.S. higher education system and current issues, including cost of college, international students in US higher education, and undocumented students. The podcast audience is for Spanish-speaking audiences in the US and abroad.
Dr. Joshua Abreu’s article in La Galería magazine, “Gaining Political Power and Losing Bodegas: A Dominican-American Paradox” reflects on community voter engagement in Dominican-American communities, engaging with the tension of increasing voter participation at the same time of increasing gentrification in communities like Washington Heights.
In a recent article in The Crime Report, which was informed by his dissertation research, Dr. Abreu critiques and provides recommendations for criminal justice education. Dr. Abreu highlights the importance of examining instructional equity in Criminal Justice education, “given that about 40 percent of criminal justice degree recipients are either Latinx or Black college students.”
Service and Activism
At UConn, Dr. Nienhusser serves as the faculty director for La Comunidad Intelectual, which is a learning community with a residential community component focused on supporting students who are a member of or have a strong appreciation for the Latinx diaspora.
Ph.D. student Luz Burgos-López is actively involved in activism and community engagement, including founding the online community Non-Black Latinx in Higher Ed: Addressing Antiblackness in Comunidad, the purpose of which is “for non-Black Latinx folx to engage in unpacking our antiblackness in ourselves, our familia, our community, and within our field of higher education.” Luz’s research interests focus on antiblackness in constructions of Latinidad in higher education, and she will also be presenting a scholarly paper titled “The erasure of Blackness and role of Antiblackness in the Construction of Higher Education Latinidad” at the upcoming Association for the Study of Higher Education annual conference.
Luz has also recently co-founded Colectivo Bámbula, a coalition of anti-racist Eduvists cultivating Puerto Rican liberation politics, artistry and scholarship with the intent to re-imagine and honor ancestral knowledge and work towards the decolonization of the past, present and future.