2015 Cohort

Nery Nicsú Alcivar-Estrella



University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelor of Arts in English and Chicana/o Studies, Cum Laude

Biography & Interests

Nery was born in Quito, Ecuador and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Since she was a child, her mother and father exposed her to various forms of cultural production, especially Latin American music and literature. Her parents’ influence as well as her experience as an undocumented youth sparked Nery’s research interests.

After she transferred to UCLA from Cerritos College, Nery was selected to participate in the UCLA Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars Program. For her senior thesis, she explored how Chicana/o and U.S. Latina/o authors incorporate metafictional devices and shifts of narration to humanize the immigrant experience. In addition, she has analyzed the separation of transnational families in U.S. Latina/o immigrant fiction. Currently, she is a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow and plans to continue her research on immigrant subjectivities and literary production. 

Vicente Carrillo



B.A, English with minor in LGBT Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Biography& Interests

Vicente was born and raised in East Los Angeles. He attended UCLA for his undergraduate studies, majoring in English and minoring in LGBTQ Studies. As a UCLA undergraduate, he was also very active in the LGBTQ Community on campus, volunteering at the LGBT Campus Resource Center’s annual events. He also became the vice-president of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for Gay, Bi, Trans Men. As Vice-President, Vicente provided guidance and mentorship to other queer men by organizing retreats, fundraisers and social events. After taking more LGBT studies courses and becoming familiar with queer theories, Vicente became interested in queer of color experiences.

As a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, Vicente conducted an ethnographic analysis of Queer Latina/o performance art in Boyle Heights. His research addressed issues of space, race, sexuality and desire within the East Los Angeles context, highlighting the importance of queer performativity and artistic expression. As a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow, he currently plans to expand his previous projects by focusing on the intersections between Los Angeles, queerness, the Latina/o identity and popular culture. He hopes to better understand how queer Latina/os and Chican/os navigate East Los Angeles in their search for community, and how they define/redefine “home.” Research Interests: Gender and Sexuality, Queer Studies, Popular Culture, Chicana/o & Latina/o Art, Performance Studies.

Alana de Hinojosa 



B.A., Literary Journalism and Latinx Cultural Studies at Hampshire College

Biographys & Interests

Alana de Hinojosa received her B.A. from Hampshire College where she studied journalism, creative writing, U.S. immigration history and Latinx cultural studies. She is currently a doctoral student at University of California, Los Angeles in the César E Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and a recipient of the 2017 Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and the 2015 Graduate Dean’s Scholar Award. She was raised in Davis, California.

Alana is a poet and interdisciplinary scholar pursing a dissertation concerned with histories of displacement, dispossession, diaspora, loss, return, and what these sometimes have to do with rivers and bodies of water. Her poetry has been published in Huizache, Duende, Four Chambers, Track//Four, Ghost Proposal, and elsewhere. She is also a Community of Writers and Las Dos Brujas alum. Alana’s doctoral work purses a study of the Río Grande/Bravo and the river’s role in land disputes along the Texas-Mexico border -- particularly the century-long Chamizal Dispute. Her work asks, how might the meandering Rio Grande both demonstrate and assist us in reimagining alternative and more just poet geographies?

Research interests include: border and borderlands studies; diaspora studies;critical geography and urban planning; memory and place/space/land theory; collective memory and trauma; aquatic borders and the migratory movements across bodies of water; feminist ethnography, oral histories, and the archive; "other ways of knowing" through creative writing methodologies; indigenous epistemologies; women of color feminism; coalition building; state violence and production of "illegality"; and environmental racism and (in)justice.

David Flores


B.A., Sociology, San Diego State University

M.A., Social and Cultural Analysis of Education, Long Beach State University

Biography & Interests

David was born and lives in East Los Angeles.  A youth organizer since his early college days, David is now organizing through the arts and culture as a member of the musical group Las Cafeteras.  Using music as a platform, Las Cafeteras has raised issues of immigration, Chicano/a identity, physical and non-physical borders, power, and land through music.  As cultural architects, Las Cafeteras have developed workshops to encourage young people to become storytellers and writers of his/herstory through their own lens. 

As a doctoral student, David would like to further examine the role of music in solidarity building, cultural organizing, and social, identity, and language politics.

As a primary interest for future research, David has a strong personal passion in the evolving nature of Chicano/a Spirituality, particularly Chicano/as practicing Eastern Spirituality.

Lucia Leon



B.A., Sociology (concentration in Race, Class and Gender) and Women’s Studies,

California State University, Fullerton

Biography & Interests

Lucia Leon grew up in Orange County, California. She is currently a doctoral student in the Cesar E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. Her primary research interests focus on Latin American women’s experiences navigating the legalization process. As a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow, Lucia plans to explore how U.S. immigration policy intersects with race, gender, and identity among formerly undocumented women. 

Research interests include: Immigration, U.S. Immigration laws and policies, undocumented youth, Citizenship, Race and Gender


Audrey Silvestre 


B.A., Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies from California State University Long Beach 
Biography & Interests: 
Audrey grew up in Los Angeles, California. As a doctoral student, she will explore the discourses of citizenship, nation, and value by looking at the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality to further understand how these identities inform immigration reform and activism. 
Research interests include: Women of color feminism and queer of color critique. Criminalization and the prison industrial complex. State violence and institutional violence. Sexualized violence, reproductive violence, and other gender-based violence.