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Who We Are

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

Olmec HeadJosé 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,
Educational Opportunities Initiative Coordinator

Olmec HeadMarlen Fernández is a 2012 Becari@ and a recent Lehman College graduate. She holds a double major in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She has been with the institute since it’s launch in 2012. She started as a volunteer and has held other positions as part of the team including College Assistant and Social Media Coordinator. She will now join us as the Coordinator for the Educational Opportunities Initiative, which will be housed at the Mexican Consulate. Her family is originally from Puebla, Mexico. Not a native New Yorker she grew up in White Plains, just outside of NYC. 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 active member of the New York State Youth Leadership Council.

Denise Vivar, College Assistant

Olmec HeadMy name is Denise Vivar and I am currently a junior at Lehman College. In 2013 I was not going to enroll in college because I did not received any support from my family and as an undocumented student my financial resources were very limited. Thanks to CUNY BECAS I was not only able to enrolled my freshman year  but with their continue support I have been able to complete two full years of college. I am double majoring in Political science and Urban Sociology. I am not an organizer nor an activist because titles corrupt. I am a brown womyn ambitiously trying to complete my bachelors degree. So my little cousins, nephews, and every brown womyn can know that it is possible my undocumented status never defined me but instead made me challenge everyone who said that I couldn’t.

Alyshia Gálvez, Former Founding Director

Olmec HeadAlyshia 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.

Executive Board

At the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY's Annual Meeting on October 7th, the Advisory Board elected the Executive Board. We are thrilled to work with this fantastic board.



José Luis


Lehman College/CUNY





Lehman College/CUNY







Lehman College/CUNY




Brooklyn College/CUNY




Lehman College/CUNY



Robert C.


Baruch College/CUNY





Borough of Manhattan Community College





Baruch College/CUNY





Queens College/CUNY


CUNY Becari@/Student
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

CUNY Becari@/Student

Jose Angel

Mejia- Martinez

College of Staten Island/CUNY




Sanchez de Ovando








Gómez Pickering


Affiliated Faculty


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.