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Rita Rico - November 2009

Name: Rita Rico
Azteca America Foundation International Affairs Graduate Fellow
Chicago, IL
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Ph.D., Political Science
Placement: The Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Rita Rico received a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a dissertation entitled "Labeled as ‘Latino': How Racialization, Agency, and Context Affect Panethnicity." She has a Master's in Latin American Studies from the Universidad de Guadalajara (UDG) in Mexico, and a dual BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Latin American Studies from Stanford University.

As an undergraduate, she received a research grant to conduct fieldwork in Cuba, studied abroad in Chile and Brazil, performed spoken word for Stanford events, and took on many leadership roles, including leading a broad fundraising campaign for the various Latino organizations on campus. Many generous entities have invested in her education. She received undergraduate fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, graduate fellowships from the Ford and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, as well as from the Organization of American States.

After college, she felt strongly that she should gain an academic perspective on Latin American studies from within Latin America itself. This led her to complete a graduate program as the first American to receive a degree from her department at the Mexican institution of UDG. Rita subsequently began at UCLA, and throughout her doctoral career worked as an international development and early education consultant, traveling throughout rural parts of the US to work on evaluations of the national preschool program Head Start, including the migrant component.

Rita counts among her greatest accomplishments her ability to finish her fieldwork with LA-based organizations Homeboy Industries and Chirla while 8 months pregnant, and finishing the dissertation during her newborn daughter's naps. In her free time, she enjoys putting on puppet shows for her daughter and learning how to rock climb with her husband, whom she met while studying in Guadalajara.

As the CHCI Azteca America Foundation International Affairs Graduate Fellow, she will explore ways in which she can work on both improving the quality of lives of Latinos in the US, and integrating more Latinos into the international development and diplomacy spheres.

Past Fellow of the Month

Sarah Diaz - April 2015 Fellow of the Month
Rafael Hurtado Jr. - March 2015 Fellow of the Month
Claudia Flores and Emily Noriega - February 2015 Fellows of the Month
Braulio Salas - January 2015 Fellow of the Month
Araceli Gutiérrez - December 2014 Fellow of the Month
Margarita Chavez - November 2014 Fellow of the Month
Cheye-Ann Corona - October 2014 Fellow of the Month
Eric Hernandez - May 2014 Fellow of the Month
Scott Astrada March 2014 Fellow of the Month
Daphne Delgado - February 2014 Fellow of the Month
Carolina Rizzo - January 2014 Fellow of the Month
Elizabeth Padilla-Crespo - December 2013 Fellow of the Month
Yesenia Lopez - November 2013 Fellow of the Month
Norma Salazar-Ibarra and Pedro Suarez: October 2013 Fellows of the Month
Reuben Kapp - May 2013 Fellow of the Month
Michael Bueno - Fellow of the Month - April 2013
Jennifer Castillo - Fellow of the Month March 2013
Morgan Brand - Fellow of the Month February 2013
Aurelia De La Rosa Aceves & Daniel Lind - January 2013
Aurelia de la Rosa Aceves - January 2013
Pamela Diaz - December 2012
Jose Plaza - November 2012
Elizabeth Salinas - April 2012
Mario Flores - March 2012
Tomas Robles, Jr. - February 2012
Cristal Ruiz - December 2011
Monica Bautista - November 2011
Alyssa Padilla - May 2011
Josefina Villanueva - April 2011
Alexis Ruiz - March 2011
Judith Perez -- February 2011
Romie Barriere -- December 2010
Miguel Lopez -- November 2010
Evelia Castillo -- May 2010
Julio Costa - April 2010
Ulises A. Gonzalez - March 2010
Andrea Serra - February 2010
Bertha Guerrero - January 2010
Rebecca Medina - December 2009
Rita Rico - November 2009
Craig Martinez-May 2009
Daniel Montes-April 2009
Stephen Perez-March 2009
Veronica Duron-February 2009
Esther Valle-April 2008
Robert Fuentes-March 2008
M. Lucero Ortiz-February 2008
Daniel Herrera-January 2008
Frinny R. Polanco-November 2007
Betsaida Alcantara-April 2007
Jose A. Medina-March 2007
Angelica M. Reza-February 2007