Marina V. Chavez is a Ph.D. candidate in Chicana/o/x Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara examining the participation of majority first generation Latina/o/x college students in a Mexican folkloric dance organization at their Hispanic Serving Institution. Her investment in equity and the pursuit of social justice drives her 9 years of teaching and 12 years of research experience with a focus on Chicanx/Latinx communities.
Marina has taught and facilitated courses on a range of topics within the area of Chicana/o/x Studies including introductory and upper-division courses addressing 20th-century Mexican American history, the colonial origins of gender and sexuality ideologies within Latin America, Chicana feminisms and cultural production. From her experience in the classroom shaping and facilitating discussions around issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual inequalities, Marina has learned that providing an historical and systemic context of the origins of these inequalities is essential for fostering shared understanding and recognition of the real-life impacts of these issues. In her teaching approach, Marina seeks to balance an honest, growth-oriented discussion of challenging topics with a supportive community of learning that supports difficult conversations.
Marina knows from her teaching and research experiences that engaging in these deep and far-reaching conversations requires us to remember that not only are these issues systemic, historical, ideological and cultural, they are also deeply personal and interpersonal. In these conversations, it is always Marina’s goal to provide the space for participants to connect, analyze and contextualize their own lived experiences with scholarship and data so that they can make realizations, grow and be moved to affect change within themselves and in their organizations and communities.