Tower Center and LCLD Award New Class of Research Grants

After receiving more than 50 applications from scholars across the United States, the Latino Center for Leadership and Development (LCLD) and the SMU Tower Center awarded seven grants to scholars earlier this month interested in understanding the Latino experience in the United States focusing on issues such as immigration and education.

“We recognize the value of enhancing the opportunities of scholars across the U.S. and their ability to critically expand and contribute to the growing literature on Latinos in America,” said Patty Garcia, LCLD Vice President of Programs and Operations. “These grants serve not only as a commitment to bridging research, policy, and practice but also as an avenue to address the challenges Latinos encounter through policy-focused and action-oriented scholarship.”

One grant was awarded to a pair of researchers interested in understanding the effect the Trump administration has had on the attitudes of DACA recipients. Political Science Professors Melissa Michelson from Menlo College and Jessica L. Lavariega Monfortifrom California Lutheran University first talked to undocumented immigrants right before President Obama was reelected in 2012; they found the community was mostly optimistic about the DACA program and the future. Now they plan to follow up with the community to see how undocumented immigrants are handling the policy upheaval from the Trump administration.

“We’re hoping to get a sense of the social and political effects on undocumented Latino youth who are in the crosshairs of changing national policies regarding DREAMers,” Dr. Michelson said.

For them, it’s about more than the research. They’re hoping to bring the stories of the young and vulnerable population to light.

“This is a way to connect political science research to the consequences of policy changes in the lives of a particularly vulnerable population,” Dr. Michelson said.

The Tower Center-LCLD grant program is intended to promote a stronger understanding of the Latino community and to create a dialogue about key societal issues faced by Latinos. The final report from each scholar will include a white paper with context, analysis and policy recommendations. This paper will be converted into a one-page policy brief for policymakers to make findings accessible to policymakers.

Congratulations to all of the awarded scholars:

  • Constructing a Latina/o Educational Pipeline in Texas: A Critical Race Analysis

Enrique Aleman, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at UT San Antonio

  • Mi Existir Es Resistir: Trans Latinx Lives and Strategies of Self-Preservation

Jacqueline Caraves, PhD Candidate in Chicana/o Studies at University of California, Los Angeles

  • Serving Immigrant Communities: Immigration Nonprofits in a Time of Heightened Enforcement

Daniel Chand, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kent State University

  • Emotional Distress and Maternal Health among Pregnant Immigrant Latinas at the Intersections of Immigration and Health Policy on the US-Mexico Border

Carina Heckert, Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology at UT El Paso

  • Revisiting DACA: DREAMers in the Trump Era

Melissa Michelson, Professor of Political Science at Menlo College &
Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at California Lutheran University 

  • Leveraging the Strengths of Hispanic Enrollment and Completion Patterns for Policy Change: A Critical Exploration of Longitudinal Data in Texas

Victor Saenz, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at UT Austin

  • Competing Cues and Evaluations of Latino Candidates

Danielle Lemi, Postdoctoral Fellow at SMU