Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Graduate Students

Student

Melanie Z. Plasencia


Race, Ethnicity & Aging, Social Stratification and Inequality, Social Networks, Urban Ethnography

Contact:


Bio & Research Interests

Melanie Z. Plasencia studies how race, ethnicity, class and gender affect the experiences of aging minorities in the United States. In her dissertation, “Rich by Other Means: How Aging Pan-Ethnic Latinos Make Ends Meet,” Melanie explores the lives of older Latinos in order to understand how they envision, as well as redefine their well-being post-retirement.

Education:

PhD.    Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of California-Berkeley; Expected: May 2019

M.A.   Ethnic Studies, University of California-Berkeley; May 2014

  • Certification in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 2016.

B.A.    Latino & Hispanic Caribbean Studies, Rutgers University;Summa Cum Laude; May 2012

  • Minor in American Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies
    • Certification in Women's Leadership, Institute for Women's Leadership, 2013.

Academic Affiliations:

  • Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty, Fellow, 2017. University of California, Riverside.
  • The Institute for Health, Health Policy and Aging Research, Visiting Scholar, 2016-2017. Rutgers University.
  • Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Resident Scholar, 2014-2016. University of California, Berkeley.

Honors & Awards:

  • Second Place in Poster Competition, 2017 ICAA - USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, “No Tengo Dinero, Pero Tengo Mucha Gente”: “I Don’t Have Money, But I Have A lot of People”: A Qualitative Exploration of How Older Latino Immigrants Age in Place in an Ethnic Enclave.
  • AARP Travel Grant for ICAA- USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, Fall 2017.
  • New York Metro Leaders Graduate Fellowship 2017-2018, ($30,000).
  • Rutgers University/Douglass Alumnae Fellowship for Graduate Study, 2017-2018 ($1,500).
  • Tuition Scholarship, Columbia Center for Oral History Research Summer Institute, “Oral History & Aging: Transmitting Life Stories of Being and Becoming Across Cultures and Generations” ($1,100) and ($1,100) from Department of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley, Summer 2017.
  • AARP Travel Grant for Conference on Aging in The Americas, University of Texas, San Antonio, Fall 2016.
  • The Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees (CACSSF) Grant for Graduate and Undergraduate Mentorship Program ($50,000 for three years), 2016-2018.
  • UC Berkeley Cota- Robles Multi-Year Fellowship ($22,000), 2012-2015.
  • UC Berkeley Research Grant to Cuba ($2,000), 2014.


Advisor

Cristina Mora (Sociology), Stacy Torres (Sociology, SUNY Albany)
Lok Siu
Evelyn Nakano Glenn


Courses Taught or Assisted

Teaching Interests:

Latino history, racial formation, racial and ethnic relations, immigration, urban sociology, urban aging, social stratification and inequality, qualitative methods.

*Instructor

   Latinos & Migration

   Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Spring 2018-Present

*Instructor

   Latin@ Diasporas in The United States and Introduction to Puerto Rican and Latino Studies

   City University of New York- Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, Spring 2017-Fall 2017.

*Instructor

   R1B: Latin@s & Community

   University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2016.

*Co-Instructor

   Latino Documentary Film

   University of California, Berkeley, Summer 2016.

*Discussion Section Instructor

   Introduction to Chicano History

   University of California, Berkeley, Summer 2015 and 2016.

*Instructor

   R1B: Latinos and The Politics of Belonging

   University of California, Berkeley, Fall 2016.

*Discussion Section Instructor

   11AC: Theories & Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies

   University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2015.

*Instructor

   R1A: Latino Literature

   University of California, Berkeley, Fall, 2014

*Instructor

   EDU198: Adjusting to the Research University for Community College Students

   University of California, Berkeley, Fall and Spring 2012-2014.

*Discussion Section Instructor

   Introduction to Chicano Culture

   University of California, Berkeley, Summer 2013.

Guest Lectures:

  • Graduate Student Keynote Speaker, Graduate Diversity Day, University of California, Berkeley, March 6, 2016.
  • “Developing an Interdisciplinary Study to Examine Ethnic Minorities in the U.S.”, Guest Lecture for Introduction to Ethnic Studies, Ethnic Studies Department.  University. St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA, Spring 2015.
  • “Lessons From the Field: Studying Older Latinos in Urban Communities,” Guest Lecture for Undergraduate Methods Course, Ethnic Studies Department.  University of California, Berkeley, Fall 2014.

Service to the Community:

  • Graduate Minority Outreach, Recruitment & Retention Project Director, Graduate Assembly at the University of California, Berkeley, Fall 2014- Summer 2016.
  • UC-Berkeley Transfer Student Center, Fall and Spring, 2013-2015.
  • Chicano Latino Student Development Office at UC-Berkeley, Fall and Spring 2012-2014.
  • Intern at La Casa De Don Pedro Non-Profit for Youth, Family & Health Services Division, Newark NJ, 2010- 2011
  • Field Volunteer, CENSUS, New Brunswick, NJ, 2010.

 


Select publications

  • "How Aging Latino Immigrants Make Ends Meet," forthcoming.
  • "Review of Latinas in Milwaukee." Latino Studies 15, no. 3 (Autumn 2017).
  • "Antonio Ibarria (1935-) & El Especialito (Union City, NJ) (1985-)." Latinos in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of Latinos as Voters, Candidates, and Offices. ABC-CLIO, under review.
  • "Robert "Bob" Menendez (1954-)." Latinos in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of Latinos as Voters, Candidates, and Office Holders. ABC-CLIO, under review.
  • Why Latinas Do IT: A Qualitative Exploration of Women in Information Technology” NCUR Conference Research Proceedings for University of North Carolina, 2011. https://ncurdb.cur.org/ncur2016/archive/Display_NCUR.aspx?id=51632.

Professional Affiliations:

Latino Studies Association, American Sociological Association (section membership: Aging and the Lifecourse), Gerontological Society of America, Phi Beta Kappa.