Dr. Rubén O. Martinez is professor of sociology and director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. His research interests include neoliberalism and Latinos, diversity leadership in higher education, institutional and societal change, education and ethno-racial minorities, youth development, Latino labor and entrepreneurship, and environmental justice. Dr. Martinez is the editor of the Latinos in the United States book series with the Michigan State University Press. He has numerous publications, including three co-authored books: Chicanos in Higher Education (1993), Diversity Leadership in Higher Education (2007), and A Brief History of Cristo Rey Church in Lansing, MI (2012); one edited volume, Latinos in the Midwest (2011); and two co-edited volumes: Latino College Presidents: In Their Own Words (2013), and Occupational Health Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Formulating Research Needs and Directions (2017).
Dr. Jean Kayitsinga is a sociologist demographer for JSRI. He received his Ph.D. in sociology at Michigan State University in 1999. His areas of specialization include rural sociology, sociology of families, demography, research methods, and statistical methodologies.
Dr. Marcelo E. Siles is a Research Specialist at JSRI. He has extensive experience working in higher education as an administrator and as a researcher. His previous posts include serving as Executive Director of International Programs at Old Dominion University, Dean/Executive Director of International Programs at Northern Michigan University, and as Co-Director of the Social Capital Initiative at Michigan State University. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University.
Richard Cruz Davila
Dr. Richard Cruz Davila joined JSRI as a researcher in August of 2017. He recently completed a PhD in Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. His dissertation traces the history of Chicana/os and Latina/os in punk scenes in Los Angeles and Chicago. He is currently researching the evolution of Tex-Mex music in Michigan. He is a member of JSRI’s Black/Brown Dialogs task force, which seeks to achieve a more equitable and inclusive Michigan through sustainable intergroup collaborative relationships.
Yoshira D. Macías Mejía
Yoshira D. Macías Mejía is a postdoctoral scholar with the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. Yoshira received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 2019. Her research areas revolve around Latino politics and public policy. Specifically, her research explores how ethnic identity is shaped among younger generations of Latinos and how this impacts their political participation. She also studies how new information platforms (digital media and social media) are shaping political engagement among Latinos and other racial and ethnic groups. Other research interests include social, family, health, and immigration policy areas affecting Latino communities.
Office Assistant III
Alyssa Bedaine has been with Michigan State University since August 2014, joining JSRI in September 2018 as an office assistant. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in English with a concentration in creative writing. She currently resides in Grand Ledge, MI. Her office responsibilities include maintaining accurate records, processing travel reimbursements, and providing general leadership to student and on-call employees.
David Figueroa Martin
Office Assistant III
David Figueroa Martin has been with MSU since September 2016 and joined JSRI in October 2019. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Capital and Society and plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Labor Relations. David is originally from Cuba and currently resides in Lansing, MI. During his time at MSU, he has participated in different research projects and volunteer activities involving community improvements, policy changes and financial stability among different departments in the city of Lansing.
Filiberto Villa-Gomez is a research associate at the Julian Samora Research Institute and the Spanish-speaking Outreach Coordinator for Michigan Food and Farming Systems. He tailors MIFFS programming and outreach to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking producers in Michigan and works closely alongside them to address needs and develop new opportunities. Villa-Gomez collaborated with growers in Southwest Michigan to establish Farmers on the Move, the first Latino growers’ cooperative in the state. Villa-Gomez studied agriculture and as an employee of Mexico’s Department of Agriculture worked with small-land farmers, women and youth until he moved to the United States.
Student Clerical Assistant II
Alexa Delon is a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities Program, with a minor in Korean Studies. She is from Kalamazoo, Michigan, residing in East Lansing during the school year. She is also a participant in the Citizen Scholars Program in the College of Arts and Letters, and will participate in various community service projects throughout the year. She plans to go to South Korea through the study abroad program. She also plans to join clubs this year to make more connections around campus. Her goal after graduation is to travel to many regions of the world in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the different cultures.
Student Clerical Assistant II
Maria Fabian is a junior at Michigan State University majoring in Molecular Genomics and Genetics and minoring in Health Promotion. She originates from Florida and came to MSU through CAMP. Her goal after graduation is to attend medical school and become an Obstetrics and Gynecologist. She is a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc., and holds three e-board positions: the VP for scholarship chair, VP of the Multicultural Greek council, and the VP for Marketing for Dia de La Mujer Conference committee. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her sorority sisters, go to the gym, and read.