Hello! Welcome to my website. I am an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Sociology, and affiliate faculty member in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Film & Media Studies at Davidson College, a highly selective small liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina.
With a long history in the U.S. Southwest, I am a Chicana feminist motherscholar from New Mexico-Colorado-Texas. I earned my B.A. in 2004 from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX, then my M.A. in Mass Communication at the University of Houston, where I completed my M.A. and earned a Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate in 2007. I then spent four years at Texas A&M University completing my doctorate in Mass Communication and Health Communication in 2011. I taught at the University of Houston Downtown full time and worked part time as a Research Assistant for a litigation consulting firm for a year post-grad before moving to North Carolina to begin my tenure-track position at Davidson College in 2012. I earned tenure in 2018 and became the Chair of the Communication Studies Department. I am the first tenure-track/tenured professor-scholar in Communication Studies at Davidson College. I took on the administrative role of Director of the Speaking Center within the Center for Teaching and Learning since spring 2021.
I have played a pivotal role in growing the Communication Studies department to include a Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS)-established major in Communication Studies established in 2016, and recently, a stand-alone major housed outside of the CIS and in the Communication Studies department (approved by the Educational Policy Committee and faculty in December 2021). The Communication Studies minor continues to thrive for over 15 years now. In Fall 2023, we received approval by the National Communication Association to establish our Davidson College campus chapter, Alpha Beta Alpha, of the honor society, Lambda Pi Eta ~ our majors are thrilled with this new noteworthy addition to highlight their excellence in our discipline!
I co-founded the Davidson Microaggressions Project in 2017 in collaboration with students after serving as an elected faculty member on the Diversity Committee and realizing I could develop a grassroots service project collaboratively with students to promote awareness and ongoing educational resources concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion regarding campus climate. I served as co-Chair of the Faculty of Color Caucus for three years, a crucial affinity space where advocacy and mentorship guide our focus particularly in the best interest of junior pretenure and contingent faculty of color colleagues, and I have co-Chaired the Junior Faculty Network for a year pre-tenure. I recently completed a two-year term as an elected member on the Educational Policy Committee at Davidson. I have held elected leadership positions in La Raza Caucus and the Latina/o/x Communication Studies Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) and I co-founded the Raza Mentorship Initiative in 2017. We prepare panels each year for the national conference by and for our Latinx professor-scholar colleagues and guided by the goal of fostering connections for lasting mentorship and networking relationships; our panels are developed from our Latinx communication scholars’ feedback and expressed needs, among other topics. I have been recruited by sitting presidents of NCA to co-plan NCA’s G.I.F.T.S. (Great Ideas For Teaching Students) program and the Scholars’ Office Hours panels.
My research interests reside at the intersection of mass media and health communication with particular focus on intersectionality including race, ethnicity, gender, cultural communication and identities. My recent work focuses on how racial and ethnic stereotypes in entertainment media are framed in entertainment comedy or humorous communication contexts. I am interested in how diverse audiences interpret and respond to stereotypes beyond media effects and how those message perceptions might impact real-world interactions.
I co-edited the 2019 book, Latina/o/x Communication Studies: Theories, Methods, and Practice with colleagues. I am co-editor of the Cultural Media Studies series with Peter Lang Publishing. When my teaching and research interests coalesce with my advisees’ interests, sometimes co-authoring becomes a real possibility. I co-authored a chapter, based on Alexa Landsberger’s (Class of 2019, Comm. Studies major) honors thesis research, published in Research Perspectives on Social Media Influencers and Brand Communication (2020). I most recently co-authored a chapter with two graduates and honors thesis advisees, Daniel Bunson (Class of 2020, Comm. Studies major) and Mariana Crespo (Class of 2020, Sociology major) in the book, Strategic Social Media as Activism: Repression, Resistance, Rebellion, Reform (2023).
On January 13, 2022, I gave a research seminar upon invitation for the Latinx Digital Media seminar series through the Department of Communication at Northwestern University. My seminar, “Latinx Audiences & Laughter: The Power & Limits of Stereotype Humor,” is recorded and available here. I was interviewed about my career path, research, and leadership roles for El Café Latinx Podcast, which is available wherever you stream podcasts and here.
In November 2022, I received the honor of being awarded the inaugural Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship Award from the Latina/o Communication Studies Division & La Raza Caucus. Additionally, my collaborators and I were recognized for our outstanding contributions to NCA through creating and administering La Raza Mentorship Initiative since 2017 and that thrives today. We received a Presidential Citation of Service award.
When I’m not on my usual prof-scholar academic work flows, I enjoy reading a lot (I’ve set a 70 book challenge for 2023!), bike riding, photography, gardening, Pilates, meditating, watching movies, doing crafts like making jewelry, knitting, scrapbooking, and painting, trying new recipes, playing board games, checking out local breweries, hanging out with my family & 11 year old dog, Opal, sipping a glass of wine or cup of coffee, and traveling to the beach, mountains, or the southwest U.S. I live a full life beyond my academic grinds to practice what I preach to my students and colleagues ~ striving to maintain balance is always a good goal even if imperfectly accomplished at times!
Please feel free to browse the contents of my website. For questions about my work, or to request .pdfs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that for the academic year 2023-2024, I am on sabbatical and will be slower than usual to respond to many forms of communication. Thanks for visiting my website!