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Coming of Age in South Central: Gender Ideologies, Youth Activism, and The Carceral State

My dissertation project makes theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on masculinity, youth criminalization, youth activism and social movements, urban and community sociology, and intersectionality. Drawing on interviews, survey data, and four years of participant observations, I examine how the carceral state and its logics, community-based organizations, and youth activism shape the lives of Black and Latino young men. As such, my research addresses the following strands: (1) ethnographic accounts of Black and Latino manhood and gender ideologies amid the carceral social order and social movements against it, (2) Black and Latino young men’s understanding of interlocking axes of race, gender, sexuality, class, and age, (3) organizational, intersectional, cultural, and community based practices that inform Black and Latinx gender ideologies, and (4) the organizational, cultural, and intersectional strategies Black and Latino young men activists adopt in their efforts to decriminalize youth of color.

Locating Carceral Logics

Drawing on different cases from 2010 to the present, this project examines how carceral logics operate in school board meetings and organizational responses to abolitionist youth movements and demands. Moreover, it explores the relationship between carceral logics, schools, youth, and anti-blackness.

Other Research Experience

Mapping Youth Power in California

Since 2016, under the guidance of Dr. Veronica Terriquez I have worked on several projects that examine youth of color organizing and civic engagement across California. Informed by a community-engaged approach—which includes undergraduate and high school students from the communities we study—this research draws on mixed-method approaches to examine how youth of color across the state impact social change, youth voter engagement, trauma and healing informed practices, personal growth and well-being, critical civics education, and political identity.

Community Based Participatory Research

By involving members of the community at multiple levels, and incorporating and validating multiple sources of knowledge, I have co-created community based participatory research projects with youth organizations in Los Angeles and the Student Success Equity Research Center at UCSC. These projects have centered addressing the well-being of college students and youth of color. As such, I have mentored, trained, and published with first-generation college students and high school students.

Campus Racial Climate and Hispanic Serving Institutions

My prior research includes examining campus racial climates on two university campuses designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, these studies examined how students experience and perceive what I refer to as “campus racial microclimates.”

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