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CUNY Mexican Studies Institute




The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute is comprised of all of the faculty, students, staff, and affiliated community-based organizations working on research, advocacy, and services related to Mexico and Mexicans in the United States. All CUNY faculty, students, and staff pursuing this kind of work and research are automatically affiliated with the Institute and considered a part of our advisory board, but we would like you to be more involved. Consider joining our Executive Board or creating a working group dedicated to a specific topic or theme. Just call (347) 577-4080 or email us at to join our mailing list and tell us your ideas.

José Higuera López, Interim Director

José Higuera LópezJosé Higuera is the Associate Director, since December 16, 2016, serving as the Interim Director of the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY. He was born in Tijuana, Baja California, México and immigrated to the US in 2009. Before joining the JLMSI, José Higuera was a professor of the School of Languages and of the School of Pedagogy and Educational Innovation at the Autonomous University of Baja California. In 2011, Higuera founded CCBR Preschool, Language & Arts Center in Brooklyn, where he served as Founding Director until February 2016. Previously, as Co-founder and Vice-president of the Mexican Association of Pedagogical Consultants, he developed and implemented numerous workshops on techniques and strategies to strengthen academic practices for the Baja California State Department of Education. In 2006, he was granted a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship at the University of Arkansas and is a member of the Fulbright Association. Since 1994, he has been actively involved in diverse social and cultural initiatives with different community based organizations like SEDEPAC/American Friends Service Committee, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Senior Center, Hogar Infantil La Gloria, SOS Children's Villages, and Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York. José Higuera is convinced that a strong academic background that fosters leadership potential and promotes mutual understanding among cultures, furthers opportunities for students that can lead to success.

Marlen Fernández, Scholarship Program Coordinator

Marlen FernándezMarlen Fernández is currently the Scholarship Coordinator for the CUNY BECAS Scholarship Program at Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY. This scholarship primary aids students with little or no access to financial aid. She is the founding coordinator of educational outreach at the Institute where she led programs in Brooklyn and at the Consulate General of Mexico in New York. Her family is originally from Puebla, Mexico. Not a native New Yorker, she grew up in Westchester, just outside of New York City. Marlen is currently a graduate student at Baruch College studying Higher Education Administration. She recently received the 40 under 40 Rising Stars award by the Hispanic Coalition of New York. Marlen also has experience organizing around the issues of undocumented youth, formerly the President of the Lehman Dream Team, Co-founder of the Westchester Dream Team, and former member of the New York State Youth Leadership Council.

Rosalía Reyes, Digital Archive and Resource Unit Coordinator

Francisco Aquino RamirezRosalía Reyes is a Mexican journalist. She moved to New York City in 2012, since then she has worked for various reputable media outlets as a cultural reporter, producer and editor. Now she hosts and produces “Nueva York Entre Letras,” a TV show featuring interviews with Spanish-language authors. The program is aired on Manhattan Neighborhood Network and it is also on air in a Mexican TV channel, in Monterrey, Mexico.

She combines her journalistic work with her academic facet as a Spanish adjunct lecturer at Lehman College and The City College of New York.

She holds a Bachelors degree in Communication Sciences, Major in Journalism (UANL-Mexico), a Masters degree in Spanish Literature from City College  and a Masters degree in Humanities from The University of Monterrey.

Before moving to NYC, she worked for ten years as reporter for the two leading Mexican newspapers in her hometown Monterrey, Mexico: El Norte (Reforma Group), and Milenio, for which she covered government, politics, and conducted investigative reporting. She also covered community and cultural news and contributed radio and video reporting to Milenio's sister TV channel and Radio Stations.

After her work as reporter she worked five years for the University of Monterrey (UDEM) as School Services Communications Coordinator where she designed and developed digital and print campaigns to circulate information on academic, financial and extracurricular programs among students and their parents. After this position she worked as Media Relations Manager for the same university, where she edited and oversaw the production of the university's magazine and press releases. She also developed and conducted faculty training courses for interviews by journalists.

Reyes is co-author in a chapter of the book “Latinos in New York. Communities in Transition”, second edition, published by Notre Dame University Press in 2017.

She conducted a wide range of research, both in the field and among academic sources, for the essay on Central Americans in New York, in what one of the book's editors called "pioneering  work." Her short stories have been published in different magazines as Hybrido, the literary magazine of The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Now, Reyes will join the Mexican Studies Institute in her new role as the Digital Archive and Resource Unit coordinator.

Maria Hernandez, Research Assistant

Francisco Aquino RamirezHernandez is a 2018 Lehman College graduate with a bachelor’s in Political Science, Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her family is originally from Puebla, Mexico. Her academic interests are migration, borders studies, political theory, environmental issues, and food politics. She is currently a research assistant at Columbia University. Hernandez aspires to obtain a Ph.D. in geopolitics. Hernandez joined the Mexican Studies Institute Team as the research assistant and is very excited to begin working on the new archive.




Maria Xique Ramirez, Educational Opportunities Initiative Coordinator

Maria Xique Ramirez graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In 2012, she worked as the Education Coordinator at Mixteca Organization Inc, where she coordinated ESOL, Computer basic and Adult literacy courses. In 2013, she enrolled in Master’s program in Public Administration at Baruch College and obtained her degree in 2016. Mariais also received a CUNY BECAS award in 2013, which allowed her to finance part of her graduate studies. Today, she works as the Educational Opportunities Initiative Coordinator, which is a citywide initiative led by the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY. Her work in the initiative seeks to address the lack of bilingual, accessible information on educational pathways and services in NYC.

Francisco Aquino Ramirez, College Assistant

Francisco Aquino RamirezFrancisco is a 2016-17 Becari@. He attends Lehman College, majoring in the interdisciplinary major of Anthropology Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Political Science. The oldest of five children he aims to serve as an inspiration to his siblings and others around him by lending a helping hand to his community. He is currently the vice president of The Lehman Dream Team, a student-based organization at Lehman College, working to advocate for the rights of undocumented individuals and also addressing other pressing social issues such as discrimination and gender inequality. He also provides educational guidance for adults in preparation for the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) exam in his internship at El Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos. He was born in Puebla, Mexico and raised in the Bronx. He started as an intern in the Mexican Studies Institute and will now join the team in his new role assisting with the CUNY Becas Scholarship program.

Alyshia Gálvez, Former Founding Director

Alyshia Gálvez, Former Founding DirectorAlyshia Gálvez is the Former Founding Director of the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute. Author of two books on Mexican immigration in New York, Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers Mexican Women, Public Prenatal Care and the Birth Weight Paradox (Rutgers University Press, Oct. 2011) and Guadalupe in New York (NYU Press, Dec. 2009), she is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor of Latin American, Latino, and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman College. Her second book Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers, was awarded the 2012 ALLA Book Award (Association of Latino and Latin American Anthropologists). She is currently working on a book, under contract with University of California Press about the changing food systems in the US and Mexico since the North American Free Trade Agreement, including the public health consequences of that process of change.


The governance structure of the Institute consists of an Executive Committee and a Director.The Executive Committee shall consist of sixteen full members. Executive Committee members shall be elected during the Institute's annual meeting (comprised of the Executive Committee and the Advisory Board). They shall serve a two-year term. Executive Committee members may be reelected. For the pilot year of the Institute only, one half of the Executive Committee will be elected for a two-year term and one half for a one-year term, thus enabling future staggering of the Executive Committee elections.

The Executive Committee shall meet at least once a semester. Additional meetings may be called by the Director of the Institute or at the written request of three Executive Committee members.

The Executive Committee shall decide all policy and program issues, including but not limited to programs, invited speakers, budgetary items, and the creation of committees to facilitate operational functions.

The Institute will also be guided by an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will provide a forum for the discussion of the Institute's activities and mission and ensure its continued relevance to the community and its interests. The Advisory Board shall meet at least once per academic year. The Advisory Board will be comprised of:

  • members of the Executive Committee
  • members of the CUNY Working Task Force on Strengthening Educational Opportunities for Mexicans and Mexican Americans
  • affiliated faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students
  • community leaders and directors of community-based organizations whose mission is relevant to the Institute's work
  • others upon nomination and approval by the Executive Committee

Affiliated faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students: All CUNY graduate and undergraduate students and faculty whose work focuses on Mexican Studies (broadly defined) will be considered affiliates of the Institute and welcome to participate in its annual meeting and advisory board. Affiliation will be activated by participation in the advisory board.

    Visit Us:

    The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at The City University of New York
    Lehman College
    250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
    Carman Hall | Room 241
    Bronx, NY 10468

    (347) 577-4080

    Monday-Friday 9am-5pm