Vanessa Moreno

Graduate Student, Doctoral Program (Ph.D.)

Vanessa Moreno is a PhD Candidate in the Mexican American Studies department at The University of Arizona. She is the daughter of Mexican migrants and was raised in the San Joaquín Valley (Yokuts lands) and San Francisco Bay Area (Ohlone lands) of Northern California. Vanessa is of Purépecha heritage on her paternal side, with her father originating from Aguililla, Michoacán, and of Tepehuán/Acaxee heritage on her maternal side, with her mother originating from the El Comedero region of Sinaloa. Her dissertation research will focus on the Aguililla-Redwood City transnational community, documenting its establishment and development for the past century, along with the recent and rapid changes the community has experienced including gentrification, ongoing intergenerational displacement, and various restrictions to the community’s practices of transnationalism. Vanessa’s research interests include Indigenous migration and diaspora, de-Indianization and retribalization, historical trauma, transnationalism, collective memory, oral history, and community-based participatory research.

She has served as a Teaching Assistant in the MAS department for four semesters from Fall 2020-Spring 2022. Vanessa was awarded the 2022 Crossing Latinidades Mellon Humanities Fellowship and participated in the Crossing Latinidades Summer 2022 Institute at The University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently part of The Latinx Past: Archive, Memory, and Speculation working group as part of her Crossing Latinidades Mellon Humanities Fellowship. Vanessa is also writing her dissertation about the Aguililla-Redwood City transnational community based in North Fair Oaks, titled: Intergenerational Displacement in Aguililla-Redwood City: Migration from Michoacán and Diaspora in Silicon Valley."

Courses Taught

  • Fall 2020 Teaching Assistant for MAS 150B1: Sex and AIDS in the 21st Century with Dr. Antonio Estrada
  • Spring 2021 Teaching Assistant for MAS 160A1: American Indian Medicine and Wellness with Dr. Patrisia Gonzales
  • Fall 2021 Teaching Assistant for MAS 150B1: Sex and AIDS in the 21st Century with Dr. Anne Segal
  • Spring 2022 Teaching Assistant for MAS 150C1: Popular Culture, Media, and Latina/o Identities with Dr. Luis Coronado Guel"


  • BA in Psychology, minor in Latin American Studies from San José State University
  • MA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University