Image: Camilo Jimenez
Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response Grant – Summer 2020


Consistent with other crises, the Covid-19 pandemic portends substantial challenges to Latino college students, many of whom are first-generation college attendees and members of lower-income families. Significant increases in the percentage of Latino students enrolled in institutions of higher education are offset by Latinos’ persistent lag in college completion compared to other racial/ethnic groups (Excelencia in Education 2015). Disruptions created by Covid-19 threaten to exacerbate existing inequities and create new challenges to Latino student success. While Latinos are often characterized as “at-risk,” several studies have found that many Latino youth demonstrate resilience in crises which allows them to recover and adapt to adverse life situations. This project seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic on Latino university students in a Hispanic-erving and research level 1 Institution with one of the most diverse Latino student populations in the country. We combine survey data with a data visualization project that uses ArcGIS Story Map to engage Latino students in project-based learning. StoryMap combines interviews, text, interactive maps, and multimedia content to allow students to share their experiences with the pandemic in digital form. These stories can be examined for commonalities and the resources and adaptive strategies used by participants. Our goal is to provide needed information on the support structures, networks, and campus climate necessary to advance Latino college student well-being and academic achievement and to build a model of resilience available to all students.

Principal Investigators

Pamela Quiroz

Executive Director, Inter-University Program on Latino Research

Pamela Anne Quiroz (PhD, University of Chicago, 1993) is executive director of the national research consortium the Inter-University Program on Latino Research. She is director of the Center for Mexican American Studies and professor of sociology at the University of Houston. A researcher of youth, family, and identity, Professor Quiroz is author of Adoption in a Color-Blind Society (Rowman and Littlefield). She has published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Journal of Family Studies, Sociology of Education, Anthropology of Education, and Childhood. She has been a fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, and the Great Cities Institute. Professor Quiroz has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, American Sociological Association, US Department of Education, and Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. She served as editor of Social Problems, the journal of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (2014–2018) and is currently vice president (elect) for the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Her books Personal Advertising: Dating, Mating, and Relating in Modern Society (McFarland Press) and Latinos Navigating the Academy (Oxford University Press) are forthcoming.

Maira Alvarez

Director, IUPLR Houston OfficeIUPLR Houston Office

Maira Alvarez (PhD, University of Houston, 2019) is the Houston director for the headquarters of the Inter-University Program on Latino Research, and a scholar of Hispanic studies and digital humanities. She is currently the team leader for the digital project, Latino cARTographies, Houston’s first portable interactive digital board featuring Latino visual art on a 3D map. Her digital scholarship also includes Borderlands Archives Cartography, a transnational archive that consists of a digital map that displays a US-Mexico border cartography and records geographic locations of nineteenth- and mid-twentieth-century newspapers. She is a team member of Torn Apart / Separados, a rapidly deployed critical data and visualization intervention in the USA’s 2018 “Zero Tolerance Policy.” Dr. Álvarez is also a member of United Fronteras, a team-based digital humanities project that features a digital map and record works about the borderlands. Professor Álvarez’s forthcoming publications include “DH Challenges: Working with the United States and Mexico Borderlands Archives” and “Nuestra Frontera: Fronterizas Contesting Toxic National Discourses in the 21st Century."

Jeronimo Cortina

Associate Professor, University of Houston

Jeronimo Cortina is an award-winning associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the associate director at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston. He earned a PhD in political science from Columbia University, where he previously earned a master's degree in public administration and public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs. Dr. Cortina specializes in survey research, immigration, development, and quantitative methods. His work has been published in scholarly and policy journals such as Political Research Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, Foreign Affairs in Spanish, and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. His latest books include (with Andrew Gelman, David Park, and Boris Shor) Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do, published by Princeton University Press; A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences, published by Cambridge University Press (with Andrew Gelman); and New Perspectives on International Migration and Development (with Enrique Ochoa-Reza), published by Columbia University Press.