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PBS video highlights Associate Vice Chancellor and Professor Aldana's path to UC Davis

News Posted on October 8, 2018

In a video made as part of the “Curiosity Project” collaboration between UC Davis and KVIE public television station, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity and Professor of Law Raquel Aldana talks about immigrating to the United States from Central America at age 10, and how her mother’s example guided her toward leadership and service.

“My mother in particular was very instrumental in my identity,” Aldana says in the video. “She always had a service vision, and went into very poor communities both in El Salvador and Guatemala. … I became my mother’s right hand.”

Aldana became the first member of her family to graduate from college when she received a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. She went on to Harvard Law School.

Her current position, she adds, involves asking “Is there anything that we can do, as institutions of higher learning, to not only transform the lives of the students we are admitting, but transform the lives of the communities from which they come?”

Raquel E. Aldana joined UC Davis in 2017. She was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, before joining the McGeorge School of Law faculty in 2009. Her scholarship has focused on transitional justice, criminal justice reforms, and sustainable development in Latin America, as well as immigrant rights in the United States. She founded and directed the McGeorge School of Law’s Inter-American Program, which trained bilingual and bicultural lawyers for transnational careers or to work with the growing Latino population in the United States. She served as the school’s associate dean for faculty scholarship, 2013-17.