Member Spotlights


Andres Pinedo, M.S., Doctoral Candidate, University of Michigan

I’m still pretty early into this journey of academia and research, but my advice to folx just beginning to step into research is to pursue the questions that you’re passionate about, and not those that simply “fill a gap in the literature.” Research is an arduous process and it can often be demotivating, but what keeps me going is my genuine interest in what I’m studying and the implications that my work can have.

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Gabriela Chavira, Ph.D., Professor, California State University, Northridge

I noticed that my lived experiences were never reflected in those theories or in most concepts discussed in class. I realized that something was missing…I decided to study immigrant families from a different lens. A lens of strengths and never needing to compare Latinx experiences with others.

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José M. Causadias, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

I think the Latinx caucus offers a great opportunity to create a new Latinidad and build a community of developmental scholars of Latin American and Caribbean background. We have had great leaders in recent years that have advocated for Latino youth, and have challenged SRCD to take a stand on the issue of family separations by the Trump administration. Connecting with the Black and Asian caucuses has been a wonderful example of coalition building.

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Francisco Palermo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Missouri

I knew then that reducing the educational disparities and supporting Spanish-speaking children’s dual language development, not just English language development, would be a focus of my research. I felt connected to this research focus because I was once in a similar situation: a Spanish-speaking child learning English as a second language in U.S. schools. 

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Sarah Killoren, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Missouri

I really enjoy being involved in the Latinx Caucus. I think it is an important way to network with other Latinx developmental and family scholars. I also think that the position statements and papers, such as the research-to-policy paper on the negative consequences of separating immigrant families at the border, can have a strong impact on policy and public opinion.

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Juan José Giraldo-Huertas, Doctoral Candidate (University of Reading, UK) and Full-time Faculty & Department Chair of Psicología del Desarrollo y la Educación (Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia)

I am honored to share a place with all my colleagues and inspiring researchers in the Latinx Caucus. The caucus is an opportunity to highlight our work and research projects and to foster future alliances to improve the livelihoods of children in vulnerable conditions.

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Sabrina A. Mendez-Escobar, M.S., Full-time Faculty & Assistant Department Chair, Harry S Truman College

I strongly affirm that health and wellness precede academia. The challenges ahead will require much attention to the former in order to get any research completed. As such, I am going forward as someone who has had to overcome challenges that have taught me how cultivating relationships and caring for others is a huge part of the process. Pa’lante!

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Dolly Rojo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Mary’s University

Now that I study language in a research context, I’ve learned that bilingualism and biculturalism are arguably inseparable, and not just for my mom. For my mother (and now for me, too), speaking Spanish “came with the package” of being Mexican. To her, this is a part of our identity, and so, if we lost this skill, it would be as though we lost a part of ourselves. In attending both national and international academic conferences, I realize too that this concern and passion for maintaining heritage languages is neither unique to Mexicans nor to immigrants.

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Andrea Romero, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Full Professor, University of Arizona

There is a need for collective strength to bring voice to these issues on a national stage. Moreover, there is a need for unique perspectives that come from familiarity with the Latinx population to help identify and interpret pressing issues.

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Erika Hernandez, Doctoral Candidate, Virginia Tech

My advice to someone starting out in this area is to understand that it is perfectly fine to be interested in a research topic because it impacted your personal life. That’s where passion originates.

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