Sandra Calles, PhD

Dr. Sandra Calles is a psychologist, educator, life coach, mentor and activist. Her passion is to advocate for causes she believes in, teach about mental health topics, and guide others, so they may achieve success in their personal and career endeavors.

She has over 11 years of experience as a mental health professional having worked at various mental health facilities. Most recently she was a therapist at Los Angeles Harbor College at the Life Skills Center. While at Harbor College, she helped many students overcome emotional obstacles so they could transfer to universities and meet their career goals. She devotes her personal and professional life to political causes, and activities that promote mental health, women’s issues, the empowerment of Latinas through education, business ownership, financial literacy and political engagement. Dr. Sandra is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills, earning both a BA in Human Services and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She earned her doctorate from Saybrook University in Psychology, where she developed a treatment modality from her research on survivors of sudden cardiac death. The treatment plan known as PROSPER, is an acronym detailing a healing plan that can be applied to survivors of various traumas and is the underpinning for the work she does with her clients..... Continue Reading

Mexican American Professionals: Clarification

The previous two articles I wrote regarding Mexican American Professionals were based on a broad definition of professionals. I used our population with college degrees or higher as the bases for my articles. Since then I have obtained new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to broaden my definition of Mexican American Professionals to include most individual who are employed as doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc. (see the list of professions on the next page to the article)

In 2007 the total white employment for age 16 years and over was 146,047,000.

The total employed persons of Mexican ancestry was 12,908,000, or about ten percent of the white employed population. The total Non-Hispanic white population in 2007 was 199.1 million and for Mexican Americans it was 29.1 million.

If you compare the percentage of Mexican Americans vs. White Professional workers:

Mexican vs White Professional Workers by Percentage 2007

Mexican vs White Professional Workers by Percentage 2007

The chart shows what minuscule portion of employed professionals Mexican Americans occupy. Mexican Americans were only 3.63% of Professionals in 2008 as compared to the total Mexican American vs. white worker population which is about 8.84%. The Healthcare field shows only a 6.69% showing among this professional group.

The following chart is a detailed comparison of the percentage of Mexican Americans vs. White Professional workers. It is significant to note that among professionals Mexican Americans represent only 2.13% of employed professionals as compared to White workers in computer and mathematical occupations while in service occupations such as farming, fishing and forestry they weigh in at 27.3%.

Mexican vs White professional workers detailed breakdown 2007

Mexican vs White professional workers detailed breakdown 2007

The following charts show the distribution of Mexican Americans and White workers by sector.

Mexican American occupation by sector 2007

Mexican American occupation by sector 2007

White American occupation by sector 2007

White American occupation by sector 2007

These charts show the distribution of occupations and it is clear to see the disparities in management and professional occupations. 15% of Mexican Americans are involved in management and related fields where 35% of Whites are professionals. Roughly 24% of Mexican American workers are employed at service occupations whereas less than 17% of White workers are doing those jobs.

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One final note

It is interesting to note that in 2008 there are (0) averages for Mexican Americans involved in the following professions:

  • Funeral directors

  • Financial examiners

  • Mathematicians

  • Actuaries

  • Agricultural Engineers

  • Biomedical Engineers

  • Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers

  • Nuclear engineers

  • Conservation scientists and foresters

  • Physical scientists

  • Sociologists

  • Urban and regional planners

  • Nuclear technicians

  • Directors, religious activities and education

  • Archivists, curators, and museum technicians

  • Media and communication equipment workers

  • Podiatrists

  • Audiologists

  • Health diagnosing and treating practitioners

  • Fish and game wardens

  • Ship and boat captains and operators

Conclusions and Prospects

If you examine the trend for the years from 2007 to 2008 it’s not an optimistic one. In the chart Management and professional occupations the numbers are not moving up from year to year and in some cases the number have gone down.

I have not read any studies that nail down why these numbers are not showing improvement, but there are some writers who do offer some explanations.

Mitchell A. Kaplan in an article for the Hispanic Outlook on March 3, 2009 states that Hispanics face five major social and economic barriers to educational opportunity. They are:

  1. Lack of supportive social and economic resources….

  2. The immigrant and socioeconomic status of their parents.

  3. The lack of parental knowledge of the internal workings of the American educational system.

  4. Inadequate school resources to help compensate for educational disparities.

  5. Weak relationships that Hispanics form with their teachers that tend to undermine their success.

Once again, please note that the above statements refer to Hispanic and not specifically to Mexican Americans.

It is my hope that some of these negative trends turn around.  They are a reminder that great disparities in professional employment still exist between the white community and the Mexican American community.


1. “Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity”, 2007. U.S Department of Labor. Report 1005.   P. 4, 9

2. Household Data: Annual Averages. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employed Hispanic or Latino workers by sex, occupation, class of worker, full-or part-time status, and detailed ethnic group.

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“…And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while…”

T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Press Release

2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals Now Available

The 2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals is now available on

News from the 2015 American Community Service shows good increases in the numbers of Mexican Americans attending college, achieving educational attainment, and holding jobs in industries including science, management, and business.

• Mexican American college enrollment increased from 18.7% to 18.9% between 2014 and 2015
• Graduate or professional degree attainment among Mexican Americans rose from 2.9% to 3.0%
• The number of Mexican Americans achieving bachelor’s degrees rose from 7.6% to 7.8% in 2015

Despite these numbers, Mexican Americans are still near the bottom of college enrollment and educational attainment by race and ethnicity.

The University of California is proactive in pushing for a greater number of underrepresented minorities. The number Chicano/Latino students attending UOC increased by 2.7% since 2014; this group now makes up 32.3% of admitted university freshmen.

In terms of occupations, the number of Mexican Americans making up part of the management, business, science, and art occupations continues to rise, from 16.6% to 17.5% from 2012 to 2015. Mexican Americans have also seen consistent numbers in the professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services occupations, keeping steady at 10.2% of all jobs in these fields held by Mexican Americans.

These numbers represent continuing gains in higher education and professional jobs for Mexican Americans. For more, visit