Ambar Hernandez Negrete is a fourth-year doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of California, Davis. In pursuing her doctorate, Hernandez Negrete aims to leverage policy research as a tool to transform the educational experiences of historically marginalized students of color. For her dissertation, she is conducting a critical race policy analysis of two Ethnic Studies related policies (California Assembly Bill 2016 and Arizona House Bill 2281). Her research interests are influenced by her personal journey navigating predominantly white public educational systems as an immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Her personal experience as an immigrant also motivates her interests in advancing research that recognizes the strengths and wealth of resources present in historically marginalized immigrant communities. As part of these efforts, Hernandez Negrete will be presenting the findings from an analysis of over 300 immigrant narratives from her work with Dr. Monica Torreiro-Casal and Dr. Linn Normand on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Her presentation, Documenting and Uplifting Immigrant Lived Narratives through a Strength-Based Perspective, is hosted by the UC Davis Global Migration Center. In this presentation, she seeks to highlight the strategies and mechanisms immigrants employ to overcome the challenges of navigating the current anti-immigrant climate.
Mentors have been foundational in supporting Hernandez Negrete’s drive to use research as a tool for advocacy and transformation for immigrant communities and other marginalized groups. Mentors, through their encouragement and support, made it possible for her to reimagine the different routes she could pursue to advocate for historically marginalized communities. As well, many of the extraordinary mentors in her life, through their resilience, served as sources of inspiration for Ambar to pursue her educational and professional dreams. Counter to deficit-perspectives that often only focus on what communities of color “lack,” Hernandez Negrete recognizes the profound impact the wisdom, knowledge, and guidance she received from community mentors had on her persistence. The dedication, cariño, and empowering lessons mentors, throughout her educational journey, provided have been essential in her progression as a doctoral student; she advanced to candidacy last Fall after successfully defending her dissertation proposal to her qualifying exam committee members: Dr. Cati de los Rios, Dr. Danny C. Martinez, Dr. Maisha T. Winn, Dr. Margarita Jimenez Silva, Dr. Michal Kurlaender, and law Professor Raquel E. Aldana.