In Their Words: Mireya Mateo

Mireya Mateo's research explores birthing experiences in the Central Valley of Oaxaca. Mateo took this photograph in Tlacolula's Emergency Waiting Room.

Mireya Mateo, a double major in the division's Latin American and Latino Studies and Anthropology Departments received the Dean’s and Chancellor’s awards for her research project titled “Untold Delivery Stories: Zapotec Women's Birthing Experiences in the Central Valley of Oaxaca.”

Name: Mireya Mateo

Department/ Major: Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive? Dean’s and Chancellor’s

Graduation year: Spring 2016

College: Oakes

Where do you call home? Anywhere my parents are currently at, which is now West Los Angeles (Palms area).

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? The inviting environment UC Santa Cruz had towards undocumented students, and was a school I could afford. When I first came to UC Santa Cruz for Spring Spotlight in the spring of 2011, I had many questions regarding my retention as an undocumented student and afraid my questions would not get answered, as was the case with the other universities I visited. To my surprise, there were orientation leaders that knew who to direct me to and just there I knew that UC Santa Cruz cared for their undocumented student population, making me place my acceptance notification the next day.

What is your field of focus? My field of focus is the perinatal health of indigenous communities of Latin America.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I will be pursuing my interest in indigenous perinatal health at San Diego State University this fall, in their concurrent master program of Public Health and Latin American Studies. My future goal is to establish a home birth center involving indigenous perinatal care for indigenous communities of Latin America in Southern Los Angeles.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? Looking out from an open window in my core-writing course at Oakes freshmen year, and telling myself, “I really did, I made it to UCSC!”

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz? Go to office hours and speak in class! I cannot stress the importance of these two things, as you do not know what it can bring you. In my case it made possible a summer internship in the Central Valley my freshmen summer around younger voter participation overseen by Professor Jonathan Fox, and obtain an invitation from Professor Flora Lu to conduct research in Ecuador my junior year.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research? These scholarships will impact my academic life by contributing to my tuition at San Diego State University this fall.