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Vanessa Torres


Vanessa (She/Her/Ella) graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Chicana/o/x-Latina/o/x Studies with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Literary Journalism in 2021. She was a part of the approx. top 2% in the Social Sciences recognized with the Order of Merit Award, Caesar D. Sereseres Outstanding Service Award, and Outstanding Chicano/Latino Community Engagement Award for her academic excellence, leadership activities, service contributions, and original research. During her last year, Vanessa created and instructed a 10-week seminar “Daydreaming: The Undocumented Immigrant Reality” (with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ experiences) through the UTeach program. The seminar revolved around the importance of written, visual, and oral testimonios to the histories of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ immigrants in the United States. Prior to this, with funding support as an undergraduate honorary research fellow, she investigated the experiences of TRIO programs’ working-class first-generation high school students striving to excel in STEM. Her research findings were presented at the Imagining America National Gathering in 2019 and virtually for the Johns Hopkins University Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium in 2020. Her article “Ascendance and Transformation: Humanizing TRIO First Generation Students of Color and their STEM Empowerment Agents” was then published in the inaugural Johns Hopkins University Richard Macksey Journal in 2020.