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

Two Mexican American Faces

Mexican Americans professionals come from every place in the spectrum of what we may consider “new arrivals to our country” to professionals who are descendants from many generations of Mexican Americans living in the United States.

I want to introduce you to two professionals who meet these criteria. Flor, on the one hand is a first generation Mexican American professional who has lived her early life in Mexico and has decided to move to the United States.  On the other side we have Dan whose’ family has lived in the United States for many generations.

Here are their stories.

Name: Flor Elena Garcia-Urias

I live in El Paso, TX. and currently working full time at an adult learning center for 8 years. I teach English as a Second Language, conversation, reading, and transition to college classes. I also work part time at El Paso Community College.  I’ve worked here for 6 years and teach a Curriculum Development class to rural Central American and Caribbean teachers.  Working as an educator is my passion and I cannot see myself doing something different.  I believe that one person can make a difference to change the world, and I chose teaching adults.

What motivated you to follow your particular career path?  Family, friends, vocational tests, other?

A cousin inspired me to become a Special Education teacher, therefore I got my degree in elementary education specialized in Special Ed.  There, I met Dr. Elva Durand, a professor, whom I worked with on a few projects; she is a very strong advocate for minorities such as ELL’s and Special Ed. Kids.  I worked in my career for a while, but decided to become a full time mom to raise my children although I was always involved in some kind of activity related to education.  Before I knew it, my children grew and started to leave for college; it was time to go continue my career.  It was a big eye opener since I realized everything had changed; I had to go back to school and got my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and specialized in ESL.  Although it was hard to work, go to school and take care of teenagers, I enjoyed this time immensely and met new friends; committed and revolutionary professors and classmates.

What part of you-if any-do you consider Mexican American?  Has this been a positive or negative influence on your career path?

I grew up in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua and came to live to the US in my late teens to start college. Nowadays, I consider myself a human being that is part of the world.  After knowing people from different cultures and backgrounds, I don’t think I can say I consider myself one or the other.  I feel fortunate because I know Mexicans, Anglo-Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos, Mexican Americans, Hispanics from different countries, and a few from other continents; they all have influenced me, transformed me, and educated me in many ways.  However, my foundation, my principles, and many of my customs are Mexican.


Name: Dan Herrera

In addition to working as an artist, I’ve been teaching as an Adjunct Professor for the past 6 years. I teach various design software, and photography at American River College, and at The Art Institute of California, Sacramento.

What motivated you to follow your particular career path?  Family, friends, vocational tests, other?

I’ve always enjoyed photography and graphic design. My family has always been very supportive. After graduating with my BFA from San Jose State University, I spent a year or so freelancing and working on a loading dock to make ends meet. Eventually I landed a Full-time position as an in-house designer. I spent about 6 years working there when I had an opportunity to teach some classes in the Art New Media department at American River College. I thought it was great, and eventually picked up some more classes at The Art Institute, which allowed me to quit my design job and focus on my own art career, as well as complete my MFA degree at San Francisco State University.

What part of you-if any-do you consider Mexican American?  Has this been a positive or negative influence on your career path?

I grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento where there wasn’t really a significant Mexican-American community I could identify with, so I definitely feel pretty disconnected from my cultural heritage. I’m pretty light skinned and my Spanish is amateur at best. But, I’m sure there have been times my last name has both helped and hurt my career.

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Photo Collections

Selected photos England and Belgium, 2016


Selected photos Filoli Gardens, Spring 2017, Spain, England, and Belgium

You may purchase any photo from the Photos Collections for $.99 each. Please email with your order request.

“…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