UHD’s Center for Latino Studies Hosts Emerging Scholars of Color ‘Reimagining the Academy’
UHD’s Center for Latino Studies is proud to host this year’s Emerging Scholars of Color April 12-14.
This unique visitation program’s theme, “Reimagining the Academy,” is designed to provide participants with robust feedback and learning experiences in preparation for the academic career search process. Now in its fourth year, the Emerging Scholars of Color program provides a forum for early-career scholars from underrepresented and historically excluded groups to gain valuable experience with the major components of a standard academic interview process, while also showcasing their teaching and scholarship on a public stage. Program participants contribute to the teaching and research environments at UHD by introducing students to intellectual role models of diverse backgrounds and modeling for faculty and administrators the latest cutting-edge research and pedagogies.
2022-2023 Emerging Scholars of Color
“American Food History and Latinx Food Memory”
Lopez is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Texas where he is specializing in American food history and Latinx food memory and representation. In his research, he provides food narratives as epistemic resources that are layered with historical and cultural traces. While many may not leave behind an official historical record of themselves, some do leave behind their stories embedded in written, remembered, and performed food narratives. This idea forms the foundation of Lopez's work. Currently, he is writing his dissertation, “Joteria In and Out of the Kitchen,” where he traces food narratives by queer Latinx from 1980 to the present. Lopez is a co-editor and contributor to El Paso Food Voices, an open-source digital archive, and he co-authored the entry on Latinos and the Food Industry for the Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies.
Dr. Evelyn Valdez-Ward
“Marginalized Identities in STEM”
UHD alumna Evelyn Valdez-Ward (she/ella) is a Mexican, formerly undocumented, Ford Foundation Predoctoral, and Switzer Foundation Fellow who studied the effects of drought on plants and soil microbes for her Ph.D. Her final dissertation chapters studied marginalized scientists and their use of science communication and policy for social justice. Valdez-Ward earned her doctorate from the University of California in 2022 and is continuing her research on marginalized science communicators as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Rhode Island. She was named one of 2020’s Grist 50 Fixers and a 2018 UCS Science Defender; voted best of Story Collider 2018 in LA; awarded UCI’s Dynamic Womxn’s Award for Outstanding Social Justice Activist; and is the recipient of the Svetlana Bershadsky Graduate Community Award for her advocacy for undocumented scientists. Valdez-Ward co-founded and co-directs ReclaimingSTEM Institute—the first of its kind to address the need for science communication and policy training spaces for marginalized groups.
Cynae Punch Brown
“Educational Leadership and Policy Studies”
Brown is a certified educator with more than 22 years of experience working in public, private, and higher education institutions. Brown earned a B.A. in Spanish from Howard University, an M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Regent University, and an additional graduate degree in School Leadership & Development from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Currently, Brown serves as the Director of the Center for Professional Development of Teachers at UHD while pursuing her doctorate in K-12 Professional Leadership at the University of Houston’s College of Education. Her current research interests focus on culturally responsive capacity-building practices within family and community engagement and interrupting systemic practices that marginalize communities of color. She is also a co-founder of the Arts & Enrichment Conservatoire—a start-up organization dedicated to amplifying the creative voices of children from historically marginalized communities—and an author passionate about connecting stories of grief, loss, and triumph.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.