Mayra Puente, assistant professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, has been honored by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families with a Professional Development Grant. Awarded to three early career faculty at emerging or established Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), the award provides awardees access to networking and professional development events, as well as up to $2,500 toward professional growth. This is the third award Dr. Puente, the recipient of the Division G’s and Rural Education Special Interest Group’s AERA dissertation awards, has received in recent months.

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (the Center) is a research organization dedicated to supporting programs and policy to better serve low-income Hispanic children and families. It is a collaboration between Child Trends, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and University of Maryland, College Park, further supported by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The research of the organization and those it supports centers around poverty reduction and economic self-sufficiency, family structure and dynamics, and early education and care in Hispanic communities.

Dr. Puente is an assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Education, where she studies issues of higher education for rural Latinx students and other institutionally marginalized student groups and communities. Before coming to Gevirtz and earning her Ph.D. in Education at UC San Diego, she received her B.A. in Political Science, with a concentration in Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, from UCLA. There, she also pursued minors in Education studies and Chicana/o studies.

Her passion for higher education access and equity for Latinx populations is driven by the educational barriers she faced as a first-generation college student from a Mexican im/migrant farm working family and her higher education advocacy work for rural Latinx youth in the San Joaquin Valley. As a UCSB professor, Puente seeks to extend her research and service to California’s Central Coast, studying the higher education (in)opportunities of institutionally marginalized students and communities within the region.

Mayra Puente