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  • Tom K. Wong

    Tom K. Wong

    Associate Professor of Political Science and USIPC Director
    tomkwong@ucsd.edu
    http://www.tomwongphd.com/

    Tom K. Wong is an associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama administration where he co-led the immigration portfolio and was recently appointed by Governor Gerry Brown to serve on the State of California 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC). He is also Director of the International Migration Studies Program Minor. His research focuses on the politics of immigration, citizenship, and migrant "illegality." As these issues have far-reaching implications, his work also explores the links between immigration, race and ethnicity, and the politics of identity. His first book, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control, analyzes the immigration control policies of twenty-five Western immigrant-receiving democracies (Stanford University Press, 2015). In analyzing over 30,000 roll call votes on immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005, his second book, The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017), represents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the contemporary politics of immigration in the United States. 

    Wong's research has been used by policymakers both in the U.S. and in Mexico, as well as by organizations that serve immigrant communities. Wong and his work has been covered byThe New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington Post, NPR and major media outlets across the country.

    He is also on the leadership committee of the California Immigrant Policy Center and the board of New American Leaders. Wong also consults on campaigns and elections, specializing in mobilizing low-propensity voters of color and immigrant communities.

  • Josefina Espino

    Josefina Espino

    Executive Assistant to the Director/Project Manager
    josefina.espino@tomwongphd.com

    Josefina Espino received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in operations management from CSU San Marcos (CSUSM). While at CSUSM she co-founded the Latino Business Student Association and the Cougar Career Closet. She has worked closely on the UndocuResearch project and on several other grant-funded research projects prior to joining the USIPC team. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organizational management with a focus on diversity and inclusion within organizations. She intends to develop management methods to ensure that under-represented groups have equal opportunities within organizations.

  • Marisa Abrajano

    Marisa Abrajano

    Professor of Political Science
    USIPC Faculty Affiliate

    Marisa Abrajano is professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests are in American politics, particularly racial and ethnic politics, political participation, voting and campaigns, and the mass media. She is the author of several books, the most recent one entitled White Backlash: Immigration, Race and American Politics (with Zoltan Hajnal), published by Princeton University Press in 2015. It was the recipient of the American Political Science Association's Ralphe Bunch Award for the best book on Race and Politics in 2015. Her other award winning bookCampaigning to the New American Electorate: Television Advertising to Latinos , was published in 2010 by Stanford University Press. She is also the author of New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America (with R. Michael Alvarez) published by Princeton University Press in 2012. Her other work has been published in leading journals in political science.

  • Wayne Cornelius

    Wayne Cornelius

    Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science
    USIPC Faculty Affiliate

    Wayne A. Cornelius is an expert on comparative immigration policy and the mass politics of immigration, focusing on the U.S., Spain, and Japan, as well as Mexican politics and development. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nearly 300 publications dealing with these subjects, including 15 books on Mexican migration. His most recent book is The New Face of Mexican Migration (2016). A frequent contributor to national news media, he has written most recently on immigration for The Los Angeles Times. His research has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other nationally circulating newspapers, as well as on CBS’ “60 Minutes” (twice), PBS’ “NewsHour” and “Frontline,” the NBC, CBS, and ABC nightly news programs, CNN, and the BBC World Service.  A summa cum laude graduate of The College of Wooster (Ohio), he earned his Ph.D. in political science at Stanford University. He has taught at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Oxford University’s Nuffield and St. Antony’s colleges, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Portland, and Dickinson College. He has also been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Faculty Fellow at Stanford University, the University of Tokyo, and the Institute for Labor Studies (IZA) at the University of Bonn (Germany). He received six national and local awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching from the University of California and MIT. He did field research with his students on Mexican migration to the United States nearly every year from 1976 through 2015, from 2004-2015 as founding Director of UCSD’s nationally recognized Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program. He was also the founding director of two internationally respected, interdisciplinary research centers based at UC San Diego: the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. He is an emeritus professor in the UCSD School of Medicine’s Division of Global Public Health, where he specialized in immigrant health. He is also Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, and the Theodore Gildred Professor of U.S.-Mexican Relations, Emeritus, at UCSD. He is the former President of the Latin American Studies Association, the world’s largest, cross-disciplinary organization of scholars specializing in Latin America. In 2012 President Felipe Calderón awarded him the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest decoration for foreign citizens, in recognition of lifetime contributions to immigration research and improvement of U.S.-Mexican relations. In 2015 the University of California awarded him the Dickson Prize for distinguished post-retirement contributions to student training, research, and national and community service. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

  • Rafael Fernández de Castro

    Rafael Fernández de Castro

    Professor School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) and Director of the Center of U.S.-Mexican Studies (USMEX)
    USIPC Faculty Affiliate

    Rafael Fernández de Castro is a professor at the School and director of its Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (USMEX). A former foreign policy adviser to President Felipe Calderón, he is an expert on bilateral relations between Mexico and the U.S.

    Fernández de Castro is founder and former chair of the Department of International Studies at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City. He has published numerous academic articles and written several books, including “Contemporary U.S.- Latin American Relations: Cooperation or Conflict in the 21st Century?” and “The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict” with Jorge Domínguez.

    He also worked as the Project Director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report for Latin America 2013-14, “Citizen Security With a Human Face: Evidence and Proposals for Latin America.” He is the founder and editor of Foreign Affairs Latin America and contributes to the daily newspaper El Financiero and a regular contributor to Televisa.

    His current research includes a book on leadership and decision-making in Mexican foreign policy and he serves as a principal investigator along with Professor Jenny Pearce from the London School of Economics for the project “Co-constructing Security Provision in Mexico: A Methodology and Action Plan from Communities to the State”. The project, funded by Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology and the UK’s the Economic and Social Research Council, works with community, civil society and state actors to build shared understandings of the differential impacts of violence, insecurity and security provision to develop local security agendas constructed from the ground up in four cities severely affected by violence: Tijuana, Apatzingán, Acapulco and Guadalupe.

  • Zoltan Hajnal

    Zoltan Hajnal

    Professor of Political Science
    USIPC Faculty Affiliate

    Zoltan Hajnal is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.  A scholar of racial and ethnic politics, urban politics, immigration, and political behavior, Dr. Hajnal is the author of White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics (Princeton – 2015 – Winner Choice Outstanding Academic Title), Why Americans Don’t Join the Party: Race, Immigration, and the Failure of Political Parties to Engage the Electorate (Princeton 2011 – Winner of the APSA’s Best Book on Race/Ethnicity), America’s Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and Representation in City Politics (Cambridge 2010 – Winner of APSA’s Best Book on Urban Politics) and Changing White Attitudes toward Black Political Leadership (Cambridge 2006) and has published in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Perspective on Politics and numerous other journals, edited volumes, and newspaper editorial pages.  He has received numerous honors for his research and writing including the Best Paper in Urban Politics Awards from the American Political Science Association.  Before joining the faculty at UCSD, Dr. Hajnal was a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Brandeis University.

  • Vanessa Ceceña

    Vanessa Ceceña

    Immigrant Rights and Justice Fellow

    Vanessa Ceceña previously served as the Director of Immigration Services at Catholic Charities, where she expanded access to immigration legal services and support for families in deportation proceedings. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. Vanessa has also worked as a clinician with unaccompanied minors, as well as with adults experiencing mental health issues while in immigration detention. Vanessa plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in social work, researching the experiences of Mexican indigenous immigrant communities. She is a native San Diegan who grew up along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Ammar Campa-Najjar

    Ammar Campa-Najjar

    Civic Engagement Fellow

    Ammar was the Democratic candidate in California’s 50th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 midterm elections. Prior to running for office, he served as Deputy Regional Field Director for a presidential reelection campaign, where he helped oversee Southern California’s grassroots operations from a headquarters in San Diego. Ammar then worked at the White House in the Executive Office of the President where, among other responsibilities, he was part of the team that selected the 10 letters that the president read every night. Ammar has also worked at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), where he served as Communications and Marketing Director, and at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he led the Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and was instrumental in promoting a nationwide effort to double and diversify the number of Registered Apprenticeships, which are "earn while you learn” jobs. Ammar was born in East San Diego County and is the son of a Mexican American mother and a Middle Eastern immigrant father.

  • Karina Shklyan

    Karina Shklyan

    Graduate Research Fellow
    Sociology
    www.karinashklyan.com

    Karina Shklyan is a doctoral student in Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include immigrant integration, local contexts of reception, and immigration policy. She is pursuing research to understand the experiences of immigrants living in 'welcoming cities' in the United States and how cities proffer rights and services to immigrant communities. Her work is driven by her prior policy research experience at Pew and the Migration Policy Group, combined with a desire to incorporate sociological perspectives into policy conversations. Karina earned her Master's degree in International Migration from the University of Kent in Belgium and a Bachelor's degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

  • Sebastian A. Bonilla

    Sebastian A. Bonilla

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020 
    Political Science - International Relations

    Sebastian is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. He is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. He is also pursuing a minor in History. Sebastian is also currently a Resident Assistant for the Raza Living Learning Community at Eleanor Roosevelt College where he helps Latinx students navigate their first years in college. He also serves as a Student Minister on the Social Justice Committee at the Newman Center Catholic Community where he is in charge of planning and executing social justice events for students to participate in. Sebastian plans to attend law school and pursue a career in immigration law where he can use his degree to help advocate for immigrant communities.

  • Essence Cardoza

    Essence Cardoza

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Political Science - International Relations

    Essence is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. She is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. She is also minoring in Law and Society. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in political science where her research will focus on the determinants of forced migration and U.S. asylum policy.

  • Anna Coleman

    Anna Coleman

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Political Science - International Relations

    Anna is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. She is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. Before becoming an undergraduate research fellow at the USIPC, she conducted research in the political science department on how moral values affect political attitudes. Outside of academia, Anna has worked on a wide range of projects, including working with refugee youth in San Diego and orphaned and abandoned children in Colombia. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, she will be traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland to intern for a member of Scottish Parliament.

  • Michelle Gonzalez

    Michelle Gonzalez

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Political Science
    Public Law

    Michelle Gonzalez is currently an undergraduate student at the University of California San Diego. She plans on receiving her Bachelors Degree in Political Science, with an emphasis in Public Law, during the 2019-2020 school year. While at UCSD she has worked closely with Dr. Tom K. Wong on research projects that have explored the links between immigration and the politics of identity. Michelle’s day-to-day tasks include monitoring the work of other undergraduate researchers and helping analyze the data that has been accumulated. Her interests include serving the community and making a positive impact in society. Michelle’s main goal is to attend law school and pursue a legal career, either in the public or private sector. She plans to use her legal degree to advocate for fair opportunities for both minority and immigrant groups.
  • Sunwoo Kim

    Sunwoo Kim

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Probability and Statistics/Political Science

    Sunwoo is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. He is pursuing a double major in Probability and Statistics and Political Science. Upon completing his undergraduate studies, he plans to pursue an advanced degree in Data Science or Applied Statistics and hopes to become a data scientist whose work will help serve underrepresented communities.

  • Valery Moya-Laurito

    Valery Moya-Laurito

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Political Science - International Relations

    Valery is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego. She is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. She is also minoring in International Migration Studies. Fueled by her personal experience as an immigrant from Latin America, Valery has volunteered with several immigrant-serving organizations. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. where her research will focus on the intersection of development and inequality. Valery is also currently preparing to take the diplomatic corps exam in her home country of Costa Rica.  

  • Erika Villarreal

    Erika Villarreal

    Undergraduate Research Fellow
    UCSD Class of 2020
    Political Science — Public Policy

    Erika Villarreal is working on her Bachelors Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public policy, as well as minoring in general Economics. While at UCSD, she became a part of the Labor Commission on campus working towards ensuring equity for workers' rights on campus. Additionally, she works closely with Undocumented students efforts as well as conducting research for Dr. Tom K. Wong. Her research interests include Immigration policy, U.S foreign policy, democratization in Latin America, and international law and regulation. She hopes to apply to UCSD’s school of Global Policy and Strategy for Graduate school. In the future, she is working on mastering Data Science and Computer languages like C++ and Java.

Former Staff

 

Nicole (Niki) Kalmus

Graduate Research Fellow
Public Policy

Jazlyn Y. Barrientos

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2019
Public Health & Global Health

 Jeremiah Cha

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2019
American Politics— Political Science

Estefania Huitron

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2019
Urban Studies and Planning

Anna Gabrielle F. Isorena

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2017
International Studies— Political Science

Justin J. Lee

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2020
International Studies – International Business

Stephanie Peng

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2017
International Studies - Literature

Elia C. Peralta

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2019
Political Science- International Relations and Ethnic Studies

Sary Perdomo

Undergraduate Research Fellow

UCSD Class of 2019

Global Health 


Belen S. Zagal

Undergraduate Research Fellow
UCSD Class of 2019
Ethnic Studies