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

My Professional Journey

MJT Vasquez – Journeys to Professional Excellence: Stories of …, 2017 –
The most wonderful, exciting, humbling, and intimidating period in my life was my service as
president of the American Psychological Association (APA). The decision to run, the process
of campaigning, the election, and the period of service were all part of that phase of my…
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Fact Tank – Our Lives in Numbers September 18, 2017 How the U.S. Hispanic population is changing

The Latino population in the United States has reached nearly 58 million in 2016 and has been the principal driver of U.S. demographic growth, accounting for half of national population growth since 2000. The Latino population itself has evolved during this time, with changes in immigration, education and other characteristics.
This summary draws on a statistical portrait of the nation’s Hispanic population, which includes trends going back to 1980. Here are some key facts about the nation’s Latino population…
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When it comes to the Emmys, where are the Latino nominees?

It has been two years since a joyful Rita Moreno took the stage to accept her SAG Achievement Award, where a star-studded crowd celebrated her impactful contribution to film and television. As an ex-actor and writer (but more importantly as a Latino) I witnessed with so much pride and admiration because it was a moment where Hollywood was rightfully acknowledging a Puerto Rican powerhouse, the first and only Latina to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. The historical importance of her career – or those of Desi Arnaz, Cantinflas or the Mexican spitfire, Lupe Velez (I recommend 1933’s Hot Pepper) – cannot be taken for granted because it opened the door of diversity and acceptance…
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The Importance of Training Teachers to Better Understand Their Native Students

Native American students make up 1.4 percent of the students in Washington state public schools. And they have the lowest graduation rate of any ethnic group, with just 56.4 percent earning a high school diploma in four years.
“I was that young person, I dropped out of school. I was one of those statistics of Native women dropouts,” says Dawn Hardison-Stevens, who is a member of the Steilacoom Tribal Council…
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Minority support programs lay the groundwork for broader student success

Miguel Angel Acosta Muñoz is immensely frustrated by the idea that there is little recognition that much of what we now see as innovative practices in student affairs were actually incubated in ethnic studies departments on campuses across the country. After working in higher education in both Chicago and New Mexico for 25 years and serving on the board for Albuquerque Public Schools, Acosta Muñoz is these days channeling his efforts towards family-community-school partnership in New Mexico, but feels those still carrying the torch in higher ed are still largely going unrecognized…
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From Music to Movies to TV, Latinos Are Widely Underrepresented – And I’m Done With It

Following the ‘Despacito’ VMA snub, actor John Leguizamo pens a powerful essay on Latinos’ absence from film, TV and media in general.
It was OK in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s because we’d tell ourselves, “They don’t know better,” as a justification to ease our alienation. It wasn’t fair, but it was status quo. Not knowing better is a symptom of ignorance, not evil. We assumed people over time just needed to become educated, and in turn would empower Latino equality in the arts. We were wrong… I was wrong…
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A Nomadic Life Draws Writer To Border Lands, Meet Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Stephanie Elizondo Griest grew up between two cultural identities: her father is white from Kansas, and her mother is Chicana, or Mexican-American.
As a young child she discovered that when she identified as Chicana, she had access to fewer opportunities, and doors that were once open seemed to close. She later spent decades re-discovering Mexican-American culture and fought to highlight the stories of those living at both cultural and physical borders…
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Savoring the Spanish of My Youth, as the Language Marches On

ALBUQUERQUE — Something about the languages we speak fascinates me.
Roaming around Latin America as a correspondent for more than a decade, I wrote about Palenquero, a Creole language kept alive by descendants of runaway slaves in northern Colombia; Sranan Tongo, Suriname’s lingua franca; Papiamentu, the vibrant language of Curaçao; and even learned how to say “Mba’éichapa?” — How are you? — in Guaraní, the indigenous language that holds sway in Paraguay.
When I returned to the United States in July, I wondered what it would be like to live in a country where the Spanish language is so politicized that some speakers are facing new hostility. I was puzzled as to why Spanish seemed so threatening in an English-speaking superpower. I asked myself, what does the future hold for Spanish in the United States and around the world?…
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Professor Monica Varsanyis NEH-Funded Research Looks at Hispanic Identity in New Mexico

Monica Varsanyi, associate professor of political science at John Jay College, obtained a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her research project, “The Contentious Evolution of Hispanic Identity During the Chicano Movement in New Mexico, 1962-1974,” which she has been working on this summer.
The project is inspired by research Varsanyi first conducted for Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines, a book she co-authored with Doris Marie Provine (along with Paul Lewis and Scott Decker), who is also part of the NEH project. During her research, Varsanyi became fascinated with the dynamic between New Mexico and Arizona, two neighboring states with much in common but vastly different stances on immigration policy. Arizona, for example, does not allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition while New Mexico does. Similarly, Arizona doesn’t allow undocumented people to hold a driver’s license, while New Mexico was one of the first states to extend this privilege to that community. Arizona has among the strictest, most conservative immigration policies in the nation while New Mexico’s policies are among the most liberal…
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How can higher ed institutions increase access for high-achieving, low-income students?

A new report from the Jack Kent Coolke Foundation found well-off students outnumber their low-income peers at selective colleges 24:1.
“Selective colleges and universities must commit to expanding access for high-achieving, low-income students and opening the doors of our higher education system to students based on true merit rather than family income,” Jennifer Glynn, Ph.D. wrote in the report, “Opening Doors: How Selective Colleges and Universities Are Expanding Access for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students.”…
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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