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UCSC Professor to Unveil Research on Migration and Poverty


Patricia Zavella, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will present the results of more than a decade of research during a talk, “Migration and Poverty in Santa Cruz County,” on Tuesday. February 10.

Zavella, professor and chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies Department will deliver the Faculty Research Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall at UCSC, the university announced.

“There’s poverty all around us, and I never really paid attention to it until I started doing research,” she said.

According to the university, Zavella has interviewed more than 60 migrants, and she has conducted focus groups and a survey that reached more than 200 others.

She said she found that migrants come to Santa Cruz from a broader geographic range than is widely understood: It was well-known that many migrants came from the state of Jalisco to Watsonville, but her research shows that migrants come from 19 different Mexican states, and from urban as well as rural regions.

Language skills most acutely affect initial employment opportunities, said Zavella. She cites the case of a Mexican woman who arrived with the equivalent of a master’s degree but who worked in the fields because she spoke no English.  Now she works at a community-based organization, noted Zavella.

Zavella will also share her findings in a forthcoming book I’m Neither Here Nor There: Mexicans’ Quotidian Struggles with Migration and Poverty.  

The Faculty Research Lecture is sponsored by the Santa Cruz Division of the UC Academic Senate. One of the highest honors conferred on a faculty member, the lecture is delivered annually by a professor nominated and approved by his/her peers. For more information contact the Academic Senate Office at (831) 459-2086 or [email protected]

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