A UC Santa Cruz sociology professor has been appointed director of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, the first woman to hold the position, the university announced Tuesday.

Veronica Terriquez will be the 10th director of the center which is part of the university’s Institute of American Cultures and supports intersectional research, programming and advocacy related to Chicano, Latino and indigenous communities.

“I’m thrilled to be able to direct a center whose mission is to leverage original research on U.S. Latinx communities in order to have an impact on the campus, higher education and the broader society,” said Terriquez, who received her doctorate in sociology from UCLA.

“I’m honored to assume the role of director, following Chon Noriega whose visionary leadership has broadened the scope of the center’s scholarly and public impact, particularly in the arts.”

Terriquez said she will direct the center to continue generating new theoretical frameworks, concepts and empirical studies. She said the work produced by the center will aim to inform and be informed by the next generation of civic leaders and cultural workers, furthering the role in advancing scholarship and public awareness of Chicano and other Latino communities the center has played in the past.

“Today that population is growing in diversity and size, with Latinx youth approaching the majority of California’s young population,” Terriquez said. “Thus, it is an opportune time for the CSRC to center young people in its programming.”

Terriquez was also appointed as a professor at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

“Veronica will bring a valuable collaborative research practice and perspective to UCLA’s Luskin School where we know she will find like-minded colleagues who are also dedicated to advancing a more equitable and inclusive California,” said UCLA Department Chair of Urban Planning Chris Tilly.

Terriquez’s research is geared toward policy relevance and focuses on efforts to engage youth, immigrants and other low-income residents of color.

“Looking ahead, I see dynamic points at which the CSRC’s historic achievements could be used to spearhead new collaborative efforts that respond to contemporary political, economic, environmental and social crises impacting Latinx communities,” Terriquez said.

“As someone who has tracked youth and multi-generational activism across the state over the past decade, I believe that the center can be a critical thought partner alongside educators and grassroots leaders in helping define the future of California and the country.”

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