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Research Justice at the Intersections

Jesica Fernandez
Jesica Fernandez
PhD Social Psychology/Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Latina/o Youth Rights Photovoice Project

Cultural citizenship has contributed greatly to Latinas’/os’ enfranchisement in the United States; however most empirical research has focused on adults and college students. Few studies have explicitly centered the children and youth’s (under the age of eighteen) cultural citizenship process, and how it informs their conceptualization of and claims to rights. This omission is consistent with dominant sociocultural constructions of childhood that views young people as citizens in the making and their citizenship status as subordinate to adults. Expanding on my dissertation, the proposed research will explore Latina/o youth’s rights through a Participatory Action Research (PAR) photovoice project with youth from im/migrant families. Given that a well-functioning democratic society necessitates civically engaged and social justice-oriented youth, who can practice and exercise their rights as citizens, the proposed research project will facilitate the sociopolitical participation of youth by centering their voices and experiences in the construction of rights.


Jesica Siham Fernández is a social community psychologist and Chicana/o/Latina/o scholar. She received her PhD in social psychology with a designated emphasis on Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research examines social constructions of citizenship in the United States, and how members of disenfranchised communities define, embody and practice citizenship. She specifically studies cultural citizenship and civic engagement as ways of enacting citizenship. Jesica’s expertize in community based participatory action research (CBPAR) have led her to collaborate with children, youth and adults from communities of Color on various projects, including photovoice exhibits and murals. Jesica is an ethnographer on the International Study on Youth Organizing and Civic Engagement; a research affiliate at the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC); and a fellow of the Santa Cruz Feminist of Color Collective and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). In 2014–15 Jesica was the recipient of UC President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship.

Research Justice at the Intersections


RJI Scholars Program

2015-16 Scholars

Last Updated: 9/5/17