Graduate Assistant, Fall 2016 to Present
Sarita Hernández is a XicanaDyke nerd from Norwalk, CA in Los Angeles County. As a femmeboi child of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants, Sarita is always thinking about TQPOC love, cycles of Chicano family violence and resistance, and payasa resilience through digital storytelling, silkscreen printing and painting, and creative nonfiction writing. Sarita received a BA in Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, Chicanx Studies minor at University of California, Davis in 2014 and is striving for an MA in Museum and Exhibition Studies with a concentration in Gender Studies at UIC. As a graduate assistant, Sarita engages with the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Storytelling project that actively listens to oral hxstories shared by Chicago Mexican communities on Monarch conservation knowledges.
Rey L. Irizarry
RMI Ambassador, Fall 2016
Rey Lester Irizarry is a non-binary Boricua born in Chicago's Humboldt Park community. Having received a Bachelor's degree in 2014 from NIU in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement with a minor in Latino and Latin American Studies, Rey continues to pursue the Master's degree in NEIU's ENLACE program of Higher Education. In the community, Rey merges the Boricua and Latino experiences of the diaspora with that of the culture in Chicago through music, which produces a sound that could be described as Neo Latin Soul and Boogaloo Urbano. Known as Lester Rey on stage, the band has toured several cities in the U.S. and performed at several festivals and venues across Chicago. At UIC, Rey will be assisting with the Reimagining Masculinities Initiative (RMI). www.lesterrey.com
Lena Guerrero Reynolds
Graduate Assistant, Fall 2014 to Summer 2016
Lena G. Reynolds is a third-generation Irish/Mexican Chicagoan. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 2010, then worked at the Chicago History Museum and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, exploring the history of social change. She recently completed a Master's in Museum and Exhibition Studies at UIC with concentrations in History and Environmental issues. At the Latino Cultural Center (LCC), Lena has curated an exhibition for the "Chocolate: Drink of Gods, Food of Mortals" series in 2015, she organized the Center archives in preparation for the 40th anniversary September 2016, and she created grant-funded guide for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience to help museums and cultural centers host community conversations about issues of Environmental and Climate Justice. Lena continues to lead civic dialogues and tours using the LCC mural to explore collective creative solutions for common challenges, and she is currently working on creating two traveling exhibitions to visit museums, universities, and libraries in the region: the Chocolate exhibit, and a traveling mural entitled "Awakening Hearts, Changing Lives." Lena believes in the power of cultural spaces to entertain, educate, and challenge our communities to build a more just society.
Graduate Assistant, Fall 2014 to Spring 2015
Cristina Correa grew up in Logan Square and Humboldt Park, and straddles the beautiful asymmetry of a Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage through her creative and academic work. For more than a decade, she has served Latino, youth, and arts-focused community-based organizations throughout Chicago as a grant writer, administrator, and/or educator. Her creative writing is concerned with Latina/o, Midwestern, female, and youth perspectives and seeks to open a dialogue regarding the commingling of these identities. She holds a BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago, and is currently working towards an MA in Latin American and Latino Studies at UIC. As a graduate assistant at the LCC, she has researched funding opportunities, and helped to generate writing for grant applications and promotional materials that represent the breadth of rich cultural programs available here.
Xavier Luis Burgos
Graduate Assistant, Fall 2013
Xavi was the Graduate Assistant for Graphic Design for the Fall 2013 semester while pursuing a Ph.D in Educational Policy Studies at UIC. He was the editor-in-chief and co-founder of La Respuesta, an online magazine to (re)imagine the Boricua diaspora.
Mario Alberto Lucero
Graduate Assistant, Spring 2012 to Summer 2013
Mario A. Lucero was the Graduate Assistant for Graphic Design & Marketing from Spring 2011 to Spring 2013 as he worked on his Master's in Latin American and Latino Studies at UIC. His community research focused on the humanities as a vehicle for civic engagement and empowerment for Latino communities in Chicago, through an internship with El Proyecto Odisea (The Odyssey Project) at Illinois Humanities.