Community Connect
Office of the Vice President for Community Services

Mexico Center

Supporting Latino students pursuing graduate degrees and research


First cohort of the UTSA Mellon Humanities Pathway Program visit University of Houston graduate school.

First cohort of the UTSA Mellon Humanities Pathway Program visit University of Houston graduate school.

A year after receiving the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, the UTSA Mexico Center and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts faculty have mentored 12 students to enroll in graduate studies to conduct research in the humanities. Dr. Harriett Romo, director of the Mexico Center, is the Principal Investigator for this grant.

Under the UTSA Mellon Humanities Pathway Program, students from underrepresented backgrounds receive one-on-one guidance from a faculty mentor when applying to graduate programs. Additionally, students get in-depth research experiences and participate in professional development workshops.

“Being a recovering addict, and being from a Latino working-class family, made the odds impossible for someone like me to enroll in graduate school,” said Matthew Hinojosa, an anthropology and Mexican American studies major, and one of the beneficiaries of the program. “But the love and community on this campus is real. My mentor and Chicano historian, Dr. Jerry Gonzales, has helped me in my research but also in validating my work as a brown scholar minority in the anthropology field.”

Increasing the diversity of scholars in the humanities and Latino researchers is vital for the changing demography in the U.S. “Currently we see a lot of emphasis in the STEM fields, and we see an alarming decrease of funding and support for the humanities,” said Olivia Mogollon, program coordinator at the UTSA Mexico Center. “This is why students in the program represent an underserved community and why their research focuses on the challenges Latinos face today.”

Matthew Hinojosa at UTSA Main Campus.

Matthew Hinojosa at UTSA Main Campus.

This three-year program is set to help 36 students, 12 each academic year. Students enter the program in their junior year, when they choose a research topic for graduate studies and participate in seminars to improve their writing skills. In their senior year, students start applying for graduate programs through the assistance of their faculty mentors.

“The faculty that direct this program are beyond helpful,” said Hinojosa. “I had an entire network help me prep for the GRE, write personal statements and submit my applications. I couldn’t have asked for more!”