About the Staff


    AIRC Director

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    Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, PhD

    Tribal Affiliations: Mescalero and Warm Springs Apache
     
    majored in fine art as an undergrad and ​earned a BFA in Painting ​from the College of Santa Fe,​ then an MFA in Exhibition Design and Museum Studies at CS​U Fullerton​. Later ​I completed an MA in American Indian Studies at UCLA and went on to receive​ a doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. My dissertation, "Past is Perfect in the Present Tense: Exhibiting Native America in Museums and Culture Centers," combines my passion for the arts and cultural theory, and examines inherent complexities in the public representation of culture(s) -- including how the describing and defining of Native American objects aids in the construction of Amerindian identity. I am Mexican American and Native, and grew up in Los Angeles. When I'm not at work I create art, like to try new recipes, read mystery novels, visit museums and serve on several boards and commissions in Santa Cruz county. I have been Director of the American Indian Resource Center for four years.
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  • PoCSC Program Coordinator

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    Carol García

    My name is Carol García and I am the Program Coordinator for the People of Color Sustainability Collective. I received my BA in Spanish and Anthropology from UC Davis and I am completing a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. During my undergraduate career, I was a peer advisor, tutor, and resident advisor, and I am excited to be a resource for UCSC students. I am first generation Mexican American, born and raised in Salinas, CA. As a granddaughter of migrant farmworkers, I am passionate about issues of immigration, labor, the environment, health and education among communities of color. I feel privileged to collaborate with and learn from everyone involved in the People of Color Sustainability Collective! 

     


  • AIRC Lead Intern

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    Ashley Carrillo

    Tribal Affiliation: Navajo

    Major: Cognitive Science

    4th year

    I am a returning fourth year student. I am from San Diego, California and enjoy listening to music and spending time with  my family. I am both Mexican-American and Navajo. I am currently majoring in Cognitive Science and hope to be the first in my family to graduate from college. 

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  • AIRC Lead Intern

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    Rennea Howell

    Major: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

    4th year

    I am affiliated with Oakes College. I'm from a small-ish town in Northern California called Yuba City. When I'm not working or cramming for midterms/finals I enjoy reading,  going running or hiking around campus.

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  • AIRC Lead Intern

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    Jemzi Ortiz-Franks

    Tribal Affiliations: Northern Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux

    Major: Human Biology 

    4th Year

    I am an enrolled Northern Cheyenne tribal member and 3rd generation chicana from Billings, Montana, but I have also lived in Salem, Oregon, Fort Hood,Texas and Sacramento, California. I dance baile folklorico for Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas de UCSC and it brings me a lot of joy dancing with friends around the community and getting in touch with my roots. I am involved with The Cove and C.A.R.E. on campus as well. Being an intern at the AIRC for the past 2 years has been a very rewarding experience. I have a passion for healthcare and having grown up using Indian Health Services, I'd like to give back to my community and better it as a pediatrician.
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  • AIRC Intern

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    Margarita Vargas

    Tribal Affiliation: Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

    Majors: Politics and History

    3rd Year

    I am from Sacramento, California and a tribal member of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians. I am a third year and am double majoring in Politics and History. I plan on attending law school to become a lawyer. In my spare time I like to read, play video games, and travel. I hope to become highly involved on campus and help spread awareness of issues that affect our campus, community, and country.

     

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  • PoCSC Intern

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    Stephanie Hernandez

    Major: Psychology

    3rd Year

    I am a queer Xicana from Southern California and second year Psychology major at UC Santa Cruz. Serving as one of the Young Ambassadors for the Smithsonian Latino Center, I have an affinity for ancestral healing and community education. I look forward to connecting my budding interest of curanderismo with sustainability while working in the PoCSC.By combining my work with PoCSC I hope to combine the two and create more accessible pathways for People of Color to find healing within themselves.

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  • PoCSC Intern

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    Valeria Paredes

    Major: Environmental Studies/Economics
    3rd Year

    I’m a third year at UCSC and a proposed double major in Environmental Studies and Economics. I’m an Oakes College affiliate from Los Angeles county. Xicana. Social and environmental justice are key interests of mine. I enjoy listening to music, playing tennis, and writing. This is my second year working at the People of Color Sustainbility Collective and I’m very excited to meet people of various backgrounds all coming together to reflect on our cultural values and ties to the natural environment.
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  • POCSC Intern

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    Erika Hernandez Ramirez

    Tribal Affiliation: Otomi

    Major: Anthropology, Education minor

    4th Year

    I have a passion for learning about cultures unknown to me and observing the world through different perspectives. I am a BIG lover of dance and have been a traditional Aztec Dancer for 10 years. As a senior transfer from the Santa Rosa Community College, I’m currently studying Anthropology and Education. My visions are to bring back the tools and knowledge I acquire at UCSC to my community, and be a part of the creation of a farm that focuses on the restoration of Indigenous foodways, as well as opening an autonomous school that is rooted in land pedagogy and Indigenous values. My interests include: the revitalization of traditional foodways, ecological knowledge, and medicine ways; biocultural heritage; food as medicine; critical pedagogy; land pedagogy; environmental justice; Indigenous sovereignty/autonomy; and Indigenous birth and healing work. 

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  • POCSC Intern

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    Lian Utsumi

    Major: Economics/Environmental Studies 
    I am a third year student from Los Angeles. My interests include social and environmental justice, food sovereignty and sustainable farming and growing. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and hiking.