I am Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University and teach classes in U.S. Latino, labor, immigration, and working class history, as well as U.S.-Mexico and global borderlands history.
I was born and raised in a small town in south Texas, and never traveled far from home until I acted against my parents’ wishes and decided to attend Yale University. To make the journey, I applied to every scholarship I could and held multiple work-study jobs. To this day, I consider leaving for college one of the bravest and best decisions I have ever made, both because of the people I ended up meeting and the possibilities it opened up in my life.
During my first year at Yale I experienced a lot of fear, insecurity, and culture shock, but gradually made connections with friends and professors who helped me believe that I could belong and thrive at an Ivy League institution. During my sophomore year, I took my first class in Mexican American history, and quickly realized that I wanted to make a career out of reading, writing, and teaching on the subject. After graduating, I moved to Stanford University to pursue my doctorate in history, and received my Ph.D. in 2011.
I have received honors for my research and writing including a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, the Stanford Humanities Center's Geballe Dissertation Prize, a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Bowdoin College, and residential fellowships at the Huntington and Beinecke Libraries.
My award-winning first book, Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale University Press, 2016), analyzes the relationships between Mexican Americans, bracero guestworkers, and undocumented immigrants in their struggles for civil and labor rights in California’s Salinas Valley from the 1940s to the present. It has been named Best First Book by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and Best History Book by the International Latino Book Awards.
When I’m not writing, teaching, or traveling, I spend my time running (5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons), kayaking (what I really want is this), cheering on the San Francisco Giants, exploring Brooklyn, and taking photos of beautiful places.