About the Staff


    AIRC Director

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    Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, PhD

    Pronouns: She/Her
    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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  • AIRC Program Coordinator

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    Arianna Basped

    Pronouns: She/Her(s)

    Greetings all, I am a UCSC alumna and I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Education. I am a first generation college student and the first woman in my family to graduate from a 4 year university. During my undergraduate career I worked as a peer advisor for EOP and as a student ambassador for the Career Center. Along with these two student staff positions, I held multiple positions in student organizations on campus. Now, I get to serve as the Program Coordinator for the American Indian Resource Center and the African American Resource and Cultural Center. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with you all!

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  • PoCSC Program Coordinator

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    Carol García

    Pronouns:She/Her

    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

    Pronouns: She/Her

    Tribal Affiliation: Navajo

    Major: Cognitive Science

    4th year

    Yá'át'ééh! My name is Ashley Carrillo and I am a member of the Navajo nation. This will be my fourth year as an intern for the AIRC and my second year as a Lead intern. I am currently majoring in cognitive science and am interested in using virtual reality as a tool for education, social disorders, entertainment and more! The AIRC is a great place to work at because we get to connect face to face with Native: students, faculty and community members. In spite of our low numbers at UCSC, the AIRC/PoCSC team strives to promote Native visibility and together we stand as a symbol of resiliency for our people!
    In my spare time I like to listen to music (alternative/indie is my favorite) or catch up on some of my favorite shows ( The Good Doctor or Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

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  • AIRC Lead Intern

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    Rennea Howell

    Pronouns: She/Her

    Major: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

    4th year

    Hi all, my name is Rennea. I am a fourth year MCD biology major and a second year intern from Yuba City, California. I am passionate about issues within Native communities, particularly those concerning access to education, traditional foods, and cultural/language revitalization. I hope to be the first in my family to graduate, and eventually work to increase the number of Native students who go into STEM disciplines. The AIRC has provided me a gateway into the intersection of higher education and ethnic identity and I hope to continue both learning and educating about this work post-graduation.

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  • AIRC Lead Intern

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    Jemzi Ortiz-Franks

    Pronouns: She/Her/ Ella

    Tribal Affiliations: Northern Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux

    Major: Human Biology B.S.

    4th Year

    I am an enrolled Northern Cheyenne tribal member and 3rd generation chicana from Billings, Montana navigating the university as a first generation student. I do baile folklorico for Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas de UCSC and dance with friends around the community and getting in touch with my Mexican raices. I am involved with The Cove, C.A.R.E., and I.T.S. on campus as well as being an orientation leader in the summer! Working at the American Indian Resource Center and the Ethnic Resource Centers has helped me to learn about the issues faced by my community and find community with people who can relate to my struggles as a first gen, mixed person. I have a passion for health sciences and having grown up using Indian Health Services, I would like to give back to my community and better it from within as a pediatrician. Na'este. 
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  • AIRC Intern

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    Margarita Vargas

    Pronouns: She/Her

    Tribal Affiliation: Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

    Majors: Politics and History

    3rd Year

    Hello! I am a tribal member of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians and have lived all throughout California my entire life. I am a 3rd year undergrad double majoring in Politics and History, with a focus on American political development. This will be my second year interning with the American Indian Resource Center. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, I plan on attending law school and establishing myself in the field of politics. As someone from an underrepresented and underprivileged community, activism is important to my, so I hope to use my experience with the AIRC to strengthen my advocacy skills and help create real positive change. Other than working and studying, I enjoy reading, traveling, playing video games, Netflix binging, and spending time with my family and friends. 

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  • PoCSC Intern

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    Stephanie Hernandez

    Pronouns: They/Them

    Major: Psychology

    3rd Year

    I am a queer SalviMex Xicanx bruja poet from Norwalk, CA. Along with being an intern for AIRC and PoCSC, I am a Neighborhood Assistant at Oakes College and a member of Poetically People of Color. I also work with Oakes Garden creating an inclusive garden space for students of color and building a community of intersectionality advocating for issues outside of environmental spaces. I enjoy rollerskating and hot cheetos.

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  • PoCSC Intern

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    Valeria Paredes

    Pronouns: She/Her/Ella
    Major: Environmental Studies/Economics
    3rd Year

    My name is Valeria Paredes. Chicana and Oakes College Affiliate. I’m a third year double-majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. This is my second year interning at the People of Color Sustainability Collective. I love working closely with American Indian Resource Center because we must always acknowledge whose land we occupy. I am interested in community health, food sovereignty, land politics, urban planning, herbalism, and more! Environmental justice issues are strongly tied to (and unfortunately contingent upon) economic interests, this inspired me to study both of these areas. I enjoy laying out in the sun, dancing, taking care of my little brother and sister, and eating apples.
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  • POCSC Intern

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    Luna Hernandez Ramirez

    Pronouns: She/Her/They/Them

    Tribal Affiliation: Otomi

    Major/Minor: Anthropology, Education 

    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

    Pronouns: She/Her
    Major: Economics/Environmental Studies 
    I am a third-year from Los Angeles majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies. This is my second year working with PoCSC and the AIRC. This intern position has taught me so much about Native foodways, sustainability, social and environmental issues, and I am excited to continue to learn, as well as spread this knowledge to others in the community.