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


“Hay Que Ponerse en los Zapatos del joven”: Adaptive Parenting of Adolescent Children Among Mexican-American Parents Residing in a Dangerous Neighborhood

M CRUZ‐SANTIAGO, G RAMÍREZ… – Family Process, 2011
… “Hay Que Ponerse en los Zapatos del Joven”: Adaptive Parenting of Adolescent Children
Among Mexican-American Parents Residing in a Dangerous Neighborhood. … All participants
were born in Mexico and identified as Mexican or Mexican American. …

Link to article

The Mexican American Second Generation in Census 2,000

J Perlmann – The Next Generation: Immigrant Youth in a …, 2011
… It does not follow, however, that Mexican American patterns will parallel those of the European
immigrant past—if by that we mean … widening gap between the minimally paid menial jobs that
immigrants commonly accept and the high-tech and professional occupations requiring …

Link to book

Mexican American and Immigrant poverty in the United States

G. Garcia – 2011
… and health care applications • Methods and estimates for unique populations such as schools
and students Volumes in the series are of interest to researchers, professionals, and students …
Ginny Garcia Mexican American and Immigrant Poverty in the United States 123 Page 5. …

Link to article

Issues in Mexican American Education: Addressing the Academic Needs of Mexican American Students at the Secondary Level

Author: Alvarez, Ricky A
Abstract: In light of the growing number of ethnic minority adolescents in the United States, it has long been recognized that the level of educational attainment of Mexican-American students is below to that of other ethnic minority communities in the United States. From towering impoverishment rates, lower parental education, dilapidated neighborhoods and communities, to a clash of culture, marginalized education, and impersonal behaviors, Mexican-American students have endured an educational challenge that has become more difficult to win than imagined. Entailed by cultural identity, exceptionalities, language, gender, economic status, health, beliefs, values, and perceptions of education, this thesis will not only make possible recommendations for the plight among Mexican-American education, but will also investigate the socioeconomic, sociocultural, and the supplementary issues and factors that influence the academic advancement of Mexican-American students at the secondary level.

Link to thesis

Self-Knowledge and Identity in a Mexican American Counseling Course: A Qualitative Exploration

Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences – December 15, 2010

Manuel X. Zamarripa, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Ileana Lane, Austin Independent School District
Eunice Lerma, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Lyle Holin II, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

This study explores the lived experiences of Mexican American graduate students who completed a course on Mexican American counseling and mental health. The experiences of Mexican American students taking a mental health course that focuses on their own ethnic group has not been previously discussed in the literature. Given the history of exclusion in the educational system and the increase in the U.S. Latina/o population, it is important to give voice to the experiences of these students. A phenomenological approach is utilized to reveal the essence of the students’ experiences. A total of 3 female and 3 male Mexican American graduate students participated in the study, and five themes emerged: history matters, personal connection, self-discovery, LGBT Mexican Americans, and “Wow!” The results of this study suggests that the course had academic and personal significance for these participants. Furthermore, these experiences may inform future course construction and training in the area of Latina/o mental health

Article at the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences: article link

Michigan State launches new Ph.D Chicano Studies Program

MSU offers Midwest’s first Ph.D. in Chicano/Latino Studies

Contact: Andy Henion, University Relations, Office: (517) 355-3294, Cell: (517) 281-6949,

E-mail Editor

Published: Sept. 26, 2007


EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State University has launched the first doctoral program in Chicano/Latino Studies in the Midwest – and only the second in the nation.

The interdisciplinary graduate degree, which grew out of MSU’s undergraduate Chicano/Latino Studies program, is offered by the College of Social Science. Like many doctoral programs, it is starting small; five students are enrolled for the 2007-08 academic year.

Dionicio Valdes, program director and MSU professor of history, said the Chicano/Latino population is simultaneously the fastest-growing and least-studied major ethnic group in the United States. Hispanics are also the largest minority group at nearly 43 million people.

“This program is important for many reasons,” Valdes said. “But the biggest single reason is that it offers a much different approach to knowledge and an understanding of our increasingly complex society that academia has not yet come to terms with.”

Doctoral candidates will explore the historical and contemporary experiences of Chicanos and Latinos in social, cultural, political and economic contexts. Doctorate courses range from “Latina Feminisms” to “Globalization and Mexican Immigration to the United States.”

The University of California, Santa Barbara, offers the only other doctorate focusing specifically on Chicano studies.

Valdes said Michigan State’s relatively large number of Hispanic students and reputation for Chicano/Latino scholarship make the new doctoral program a logical fit. According to the provost’s office, 1,309 students are enrolled at MSU this fall – a 34 percent increase over 1997.

MSU also has the Cesar E. Chavez Collection, one of the nation’s largest library holdings representing the life and philosophy of the late civil rights activist and the Chicano/Latino community.

In addition, the Julian Samora Research Institute is located on campus. The institute, named after the former MSU professor and pioneer in Mexican-American studies, conducts research and projects targeting the needs of the Hispanic community in the areas of economic development, education, families and neighborhoods.

Rubén Martinez, who became the institute’s director on Sept. 1, said a deeper understanding of Chicano and Latino groups “will contribute to the betterment of the nation as a whole as it moves forward into the 21st century.”

“Previous scholarship has argued that the flow of Mexican and Latino immigrants into cities and states has coincided with their development and prosperity – both the people and the economies have benefitted,” Martinez said. “We see this in many communities in the South today, even though local institutions struggle to meet the educational and health needs of their newest community members.

“The scholarly work of doctoral students in the new program,” he added, “will enhance our understanding of these dynamics and ultimately contribute to the betterment of intergroup relations in this country.”

For more information on MSU’s doctoral program in Chicano/Latino Studies, visit

For more information on the Julian Samora Research Institute, visit

For more information on MSU’s Cesar E. Chavez Collection, visit:


UTEP awarded $13 million

GEAR UP awarded $13 million

The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded more than $12.9 million from the Department of Education GEAR UP Program to help more than 3,000 area middle school students prepare for college.

Now in its fourth year at UTEP, the program is expected to receive $2.15 million each year during the next six years.

The award will fund UTEP’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) where students from 11 Ysleta Independent School District middle schools are enrolled.

GEAR UP is a federal program that helps youth from low-income communities obtain a postsecondary education through tutoring programs, standardized testing preparation and other programs. The course was enacted as a result of Congress’ passage of the Higher Education Amendment of 1998 where students in grades 6-12 are encouraged to stay in school and apply for college.

Gear Up link


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