mauricio-ramirez-400-mmk.jpgName:  Mauricio E. Ramirez

Department: Latin American and Latino Studies

What Award/ Scholarship did you receive?  Milam-McGinty-Kaun Award for Teaching Excellence

What year do you expect to graduate?  2021

Where do you call home?  San Francisco, California

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?  At the time of my application, there were no other doctoral programs that combined Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS), two different fields that are intrinsically connected. I believe the LALS program takes an innovative approach to the field of Latin American and Latino Studies and I wanted to part of it. I was also a UCSC Slug as an undergraduate (Oakes College, class of 2011) and decided to pursue my Ph.D. on this beautiful campus.

What is your field of focus?  U.S. Latino Art and U.S. Central American Studies 

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?  I hope to land a tenure-track teaching position at a research or teaching institution and continue researching U.S. Latino art.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?  I was grateful to return to the UCSC campus to begin my Ph.D. after I first attended UCSC as an Art major. I remember my first open house to visit the doctoral program. I took a break and walked by the great meadow vista point and a hawk landed on a tree with a snake in its talons. I felt like this was a good sign or an omen for change. At that moment, I was reminded of how much I enjoy nature and witnessing wildlife on campus.

What is your one piece of advice for incoming students about life at UC Santa Cruz?  Be open to trying new experiences and listening to other points of view.

How will this scholarship impact your academic life /research?  Since high school, I always had a passion and commitment to teaching others about art, and at that early age, I saw myself as an educator. I continue teaching topics around art, and I hope to inspire future generations of students. I am glad this award recognizes the hard-earned effort of educators who have made an impact on their students.

Comments from the The Latin American and Latino Studies Department:

The Latin American and Latino Studies Department selected the recipient for this award among a group of outstanding Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) from the past two academic years. GSIs must have first been accomplished TAs in order to be appointed, so the GSI status provided the first benchmark. GSIs were required to submit an application to the LALS Graduate Committee, which were evaluated based on the student's 1) Effectiveness in supporting student learning; 2) Pedagogical innovation and creativity; 3) Thoughtful course design; 4) Quality of feedback on student work; 5) Evidence of creating an inclusive classroom environment; and 6) Engagement in opportunities for pedagogical development and reflection (e.g. CITL workshops, LALS colloquium). In nominating Mr. Ramirez for this award, the LALS Department found his work as a GSI to be very impressive: his syllabi are thoughtfully designed, his lesson plans lay out key learning objectives and create opportunities for meaningful student engagement, and his faculty mentor and students indicate that his lectures are clear and compelling." 

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