This article examines the experiences of first-year Latina/o undergraduates at a predominantly white institution. Through a borderlands analysis, the authors explore how these students describe their experiences participating in an ethnic studies course and mentoring Latina/o elementary schoolchildren. The authors find that these experiences served as sitios y lenguas
(decolonizing spaces and discourses; Pérez, 1998) in which the undergraduate students were able to reflect on the ongoing transformation of their social and political identities, revealing the complex and fluid latinidades (Latina/o identities; Latina Feminist Group, 2001) that exist among the Latina/o university students. This article explores the physical and metaphorical borders (Anzaldúa, 1987) the undergraduates occupy, navigate, and challenge while they work simultaneously as mentors in a mostly Latina/o setting and as college students on a mostly white campus.
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Dolores Delgado Bernal
is a former elementary school teacher and community educator who is currently an associate professor in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society and the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on the schooling of Chicana/o and Latina/o students and the experiences of students and faculty of color in higher education. She teaches courses in critical race theory, feminist epistemology, Latina testimonios, and Chicana/o studies. She is coeditor of Chicana/Latina Education in Everyday Life: Feminista Perspectives on Pedagogy and Epistemology
(with C. A. Elenes, F. E. Godinez, and S. Villenas, 2006) and the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles. She works closely with colleague Enrique Alemán Jr. in developing and researching Adelante, a universityschool-community partnership with Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
Enrique Alemán Jr.
is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. His research agenda includes studying the effects of educational policy on Latina/o and Chicana/o students and communities. He has published articles in Equity and Excellence in Education
, Educational Administration Quarterly
, and Educational Policy
, and has a chapter in the edited book To What Ends and by What Means? The Social Justice Implications of Contemporary School Finance Theory and Policy
(edited by G. M. Rodriguez & R. A. Rolle, 2007). Most recently, Alemán has worked with colleague Dolores Delgado Bernal to create and institute a university-school-community partnership with Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
is a community educator and doctoral candidate in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah. Under the mentorship of Dolores Delgado Bernal, her research focuses on the experiences of Latinas/Chicanas in higher education. Her areas of interest include Chicana feminist thought, feminist epistemology, community-school partnerships, Latina testimonios
, and critical race theory.