Who We Are
Who We Are
SIG Officers



 ChairCMSI Headshot 1636712379384347692

Dr. Gina Ann Garcia is an associate professor in the department of Administrative and Policy Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches master’s and doctoral students pursuing degrees in higher education and student affairs. Her research centers on issues of equity and justice in higher education with an emphasis on three core areas: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs; postsecondary institutions that enroll at least 25% Latinx undergraduate students), Latinx college students, and race and racism in higher education.

Dr. Garcia has made numerous presentations at national conferences, including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and ACPA College Student Educators International, and co-authored multiple publications in top journals including American Educational Research Journal, The Review of Higher Education, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. She has given talks at over 20 colleges and universities, including Guttman Community College (CUNY), the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and the University of Arizona. Dr. Garcia was the recipient of postdoctoral fellowships from both the Ford Foundation (2016) and the National Academy of Education/Spencer (2017). In spring 2018, she received the Early Career Scholar Award from AERA’s Hispanic Research Issues SIG and in fall 2018 she was the recipient of the ASHE CEP Mildred García Award for Exemplary Scholarship (Junior). She is the author of Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges & Universities, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.



Dr. Nancy Acevedo-Gil is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at California State University, San Bernardino. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Acevedo-Gil uses critical race and Chicana feminist theories to examine transitions along the higher education pipeline for Latina/o/x students. Her research has received recognition from the University of California, All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity (UC/ACCORD), MDRC, and the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education. She has published in venues such as the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, the Journal of Latinos and Education, and Race, Ethnicity, and Education.

A first-generation college student, Dr. Acevedo-Gil grew up in Northern California, working in the agriculture fields alongside her parents. She earned a BA in Chicano Studies, Legal Studies, and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, MA in Mexican American Studies from San Jose State University, and her PhD in Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Past Chair

Dr. Cristóbal Rodríguez, Associate Professor, is currently in his sixth year in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and is the Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Education at Howard University in Washington DC. Prior to residing at Howard University, Dr. Rodríguez served for five years at New Mexico State University as an assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Administration. Dr. Rodríguez received his Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Planning at The University of Texas at Austin in 2009. Being born and raised in the Texas Borderlands of El Paso under hard-working immigrant parents from Mexico, and studying in Germany as a U.S. Congress-German Bundestag scholar has shaped the world views and research of Dr. Rodríguez. As such his recent works and collaborations have been published in the Journal of Latinos and Education, Harvard Journal of African American Policy, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, and most recently in Equity & Excellence in Education and the International Journal for Qualitative Studies in Education; and Dr. Rodríguez recently provided an expert report and testimony on achievement in New Mexico in the school finance case Martinez v. New Mexico, which was decided on July 20th, 2018 for underserved families and childrenDr. Rodríguez also has various book chapters, including in Linguistic Minority Immigrants Go to College: Preparation, Access, and Persistence(Kanno, Y & Harklau, L., Eds., 2012), and a forthcoming book in Information Age Publishing with co-editors Melissa A. Martinez and Fernando Valle on Latino Educational Leadership: Serving Latino Communities and Preparing Latina/o Leaders Across the P-20 Pipeline. Further guiding Dr. Rodríguez’ work in the preparation of diverse scholars stems from 2010-2013, where Dr. Rodríguez was nationally appointed as the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Associate Director of Graduate Student Development and overseeing the Barbara L. Jackson Scholars program, dedicated to recruiting Black and Latinx scholars into professoriate. Because of these and other efforts, Dr. Rodríguez was in 2016 recognized with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Faculty Honors by the U.S. Dept. of Education program recognizing scholars across disciplines.


Program Chair

Rebeca Mireles-Rios is an Assistant Professor in the Education Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Inspired by her 7 years of experience as a middle school teacher, Dr. Mireles-Rios conducts research on the educational expectations of Latinx students and their connections to parent and teacher support.  She is particularly interested in Latinx adolescents’ perceptions of teacher support and how educational institutions can help create more supportive and inclusive learning environments; the role of maternal expectations and education communication in the formation of educational aspirations; and Latinx student trajectories into higher education.  Her research also focuses on effective ways to train school administrators and teachers to be better serve and build relationships with diverse student populations and their families.




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Treasurer & Secretary 

Dr. Esther Garza is currently an Associate Professor of Bilingual and ESL Education at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She spent 10 years as a certified bilingual teacher and has been a faculty member in higher education for over 16 years. As a faculty member, she has served as bilingual program coordinator, faculty advisor, student mentor, committee chair, and other critical roles in higher education. Her research interests are in science education for bilingual learners, biliteracy development, bilingual teacher preparation, bilingual health education, and multiculturalism. Due to her research interests, she has published in many peer-reviewed journals such as the Bilingual Research Journal and in Action in Teacher Education. In addition to her scholarship, she has presented in international, national, state, and local conferences including the American Education Research Association (AERA) and the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). Her areas of teaching focus on foundations and methods in bilingual and dual language education, second language acquisition and teaching and multicultural education.

Dr. Garza was also part of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) executive board as the Public Relations Chair. She has also chaired student graduate research projects and served on Dissertation Committees to encourage student scholarship in dual language, bilingual and ESL education. Dr. Esther Garza received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University, College Station, Tx, a Master of Arts in Bilingual-Bicultural Education from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and a Ph.D. in Culture,Literacyand Language from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Garza has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at Palo Alto Community College, as a Visiting Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio, as an Adjunct Professor at Texas State University, as an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and an Associate Professor at Texas Wesleyan University.

CMSI_Headshot_AMSocial Media & Communications Chair

Andrew Martinez is a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and a research associate for the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. He completed an M.S.Ed in Higher Education at Penn GSE (2013) and earned a B.A. in Sociology from Cornell University. Prior to his return to Penn GSE, Andrew worked at Cornell University as an Assistant Dean of Students, where he advised and supported identity-based student organizations and served on several committees on diversity and inclusion. His research interests include the experiences of first-generation Latinx students in postsecondary education, the disaggregation of data based on ethnicity amongst Latinx students to better understand their experiences in higher education, and what elite institutions can learn from Minority Serving Institutions in improving a sense of belonging and supporting the achievement of historically underrepresented minorities at their institution. He is a featured blogger for Diverse Issues in Higher Education. 





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