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by Guadalupe Ortega

The following reflection piece, “Escondido”, came as a reflection after partaking in the 2022 Lavender Languages Institute as a part of Professor Salinas’ Latin* class. I self-identify as Latinx and throughout the week of classes, I reflected on what Latinx meant to me. My initial understanding of Latinx was that the term would allow me to express my non-binary gender identity and be more inclusive of gender divergence. The Latin* class unsettled that superficial understanding as I realized the X meant more than showcasing gender inclusivity. To me, the X meant embracing my hometown in the San Diego-Tijuana borderlands. Escondido translates to “hidden” in Spanish, and my hometown is often called the Hidden Valley. The X meant embracing the hidden quality of my home and embracing the borderlands community, as well as empowering me to no longer hide.


Lost in the center, lost at the edge. How can someone find a home in nowhere? Somehow, I can. I can find a home in this space that pulls me in different directions, towards two ends of a rope that I do not want to meet. Towards two different countries, two different cultures that ask you to belong to them -- but somehow, you are never enough to be fully part of either one. Towards a space on the map that doesn’t seem to exist past the mark of an “X.” And yet, even from within this X, nobody seems to notice. In reality, we all notice, but we don’t say anything because even if we do, what good would it do? There’s nothing to discuss; after all, this is the reality we live in, so why fight it? With this X, you learn to hide, to not look for answers elsewhere. After all, the answers seem to be hidden within this contradictory space.
My home is in a shallow valley hidden behind rocky hills. All the signs and people proudly call us the Hidden Valley, but sometimes we take being hidden too seriously. We are proud to be nothing more than an X, a space on the map that most people don’t look twice upon. No one wants to stay here for long, even though it is the perfect destination. Forty minutes away from everything: the beach, the actual city, the border, the mountains. Forty minutes away from escape, from existence anywhere but here. People say a space like this is a wound. But to many of us, it’s a home, a space where we can hide- because no one wants to look at this X for too long. When you successfully hide in the X, you realize you can’t leave. Somehow, we fall into the trance of believing that this place holds all the answers. Everyone always asks, why leave? But why stay in a space that everyone wants to leave? Maybe it’s about feeling bad for the valley, for letting it be alone, or maybe it’s because we too want to hide from everyone else.

Guadalupe's Bio

Guadalupe Ortega is a rising senior at Dartmouth College studying Linguistics and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. They are interested in pursuing a career in academia and plan on applying to Ph.D. programs this fall. Their research interests involve queer creations of home, diasporic world making, borderlands studies, nonbinary language, affect theory, and sociolinguistics/raciolinguistics.

Twitter: @guadalupe_o_26

Favorite word

serendipity (n): phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

What advice would you tell other undergraduate students?:

I wish someone had told me early on in college that everyone is struggling or has struggled at some point, even if they don’t show it. It’s okay to struggle during college since progress and healing are not always linear.

On the News

Giving Voice to People Who Have Been Left Out” from Dartmouth College News Website.

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Dr. Camacho (he, him, él) graduated from the Higher Education Leadership Ph.D. program at Florida Atlantic University in Spring 2021. As the Program Coordinator, and Faculty of Practice, for the College Student Personnel program, College of Education and Professional Studies, at the University of Rhode Island, he is responsible for teaching, admissions, academic and career advising, curriculum development, and program assessment. Dr. Camacho’s research critically explores the educational outcomes of men of color and historically marginalized students through a focus on men and masculinities, intersectional socialization, mentorship, and community college-based educational pathways.

You can follow him on

Twitter: @lazcamacho

Instagram: @lazcamcho

Favorite Quote: "It's like a sin not to live up to your potential." - Al Morro

What advice would you give other graduate students?

To be a successful grad student, one must strike a balance between finding and nurturing, a community that will support your holistic needs, and the ability to be singularly focused on your work. In finding the compromise between these two spaces, you will find your greatest success.


“We need to have more conversations about masculinity”: A phenomenological exploration of masculinity and the undergraduate experiences of Latino men

This study addresses existing gaps in the literature concerning the undergraduate experiences of Latino men students as examined through an intersectional and masculinities-based lens. Due to a dearth of literature centering on the exclusive study of Latino men in higher education, researchers are challenged to offer a comprehensive understanding of their postsecondary experiences and outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand how currently enrolled Latino men undergraduate students make meaning of their undergraduate experiences. Relying on the lived experiences of Latino undergraduate men, this study collected data through three sets of interviews (Seidman, 2013). The examination of data was considered through the Multilevel Model of Intersectionality (Núñez, 2014a), which allowed for the participants’ lived experiences to be examined at multiple levels of intersectionality and centered in social oppression and privilege. The findings center the role of the Latino family, navigating and overcoming pan-ethnic discrimination, and evolved understandings of masculinity. Recommendations include the incorporation of the Latino family into the postsecondary experiences of Latino men, discontinuing the study of Latino masculinities as a homogenous concept, and equity-based institutional policies that center on the intersectional needs of Latino men undergraduate students related to academic and personal success.

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Camacho, L., Salinas, C., Rodriguez, S. Vasquez, M., & Izaguirre, J. (2021). A values based leadership approach to (re)defining Latino manhood and masculinity. International Journal of Leadership in Education. Advance Online Publication.

Salinas, C., Riley, P., Camacho, L., & Floyd, D. L. (2020). Mentoring experiences and perceptions of Latino male faculty in higher education. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.

Book and Monograph Chapters

Floyd, D. L., Garcia Falconetti, A., & Camacho, L. (2022). Postsecondary higher education pathways to workforce credential attainment in the USA. In Equity, high skills and productivity through higher level vocational education. Palgrave.

Camacho, L., Burmicky, J., Cervantes, D., & Salinas, C. (2021). Community college competencies for student educational leadership development and degree pathways. In R. Whitney & J. D. Collins (Eds.). New Directions for Student Leadership: No. 171. Advancing racial equity in leadership education: Centering marginalized institutional contexts (pp. 45– 55). Wiley.

Elliott, K., Salinas, C., Torrens, O. D. & Camacho, L. (2018). No role models: The experience of Black and Latino men in a mentoring program at a two-year Hispanic serving institution. In J. McClinton, D. S. B. Mitchell, T. Carr, M. A. Melton, & G. B. Hughes (Eds), Mentoring at Minority Serving Institutions: Theory, design, practice and impact, (pp. 45-62); Information Age Publishing.

Creative and other Scholarship

Salinas, C., Riley, P., Camacho, L. & Floyd, D, & (2021). Mentoring experiences and perceptions of Latino male faculty in higher education. Project MALES, University of Texas Austin. Book Review

Camacho, L., & Salinas, C. (2020). [Review of the book La familia and other secret ingredients to Latinx student success, by Jennifer M. Matos]. Teachers College Record.

Honors and Awards

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), 2022-2023

Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy (Cohort VII)

NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 2022

Socioeconomic & Class Issues in Higher Education Knowledge Community Outstanding Professional Award

ACPA – College Student Educators International, 2020

Coalition on Men & Masculinities Outstanding Graduate/New Professional Award

Project Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success (MALES), 2019-2020

Graduate Scholars Program


As an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Research Methodology Department at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), I have had the opportunity to develop a curriculum for, and teach undergraduate, master, and doctoral students. In these courses, I foster co-learning environments where students engage in collaborative learning. I draw from critical pedagogy, which challenges students to explore personal and systemic assumptions. In these classes, I seek to provide an education that will allow them to figure out the more complex problems, issues, and dilemmas within the macrosystem they belong to. Part of this process is to help students understand the complexity of higher education and discover the many areas that are understudied. All students can and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on this most complex world. Therefore, I encourage all students to do research, present at conferences and publish their work in academic journals. And I hope that in this blog I can highlight students’ critical thinking and scholarship.

I created this spot in my blog to highlight doctoral students I worked with during their graduate school experience. In particular, in my blog, I highlight postgraduate students for whom I served as a dissertation chair or co-chair.

I believe that it is crucial to highlight their work on this platform as another form of promoting and elevating them and their work and as a simple way of saying THANK YOU for trusting me in your academic journey. So, again, thank you, Dr. Lazaro Camacho, for allowing me to learn with you and from you.

In Spring 2021, Dr. Camacho graduated, and I had the honor to serve as his dissertation co-chair. Dr. Jenny Bloom also served as a co-chair.

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Our book Studying Latinx/a/o Students in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis of Concepts, Theory, and Methodologies received the 2022 Book of the Year Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).

This award recognizes the authors' accomplishments at the highest level of literature and scholarship. Throughout the book, the authors acknowledge and honor the power of the written word to share the Latin* experiences in research, theory, and practice.

This edited volume is culturally relevant and sustaining for how we make sense of the knowledges, skills, and abilities Latinx/a/o students bring from their communities into higher education institutions and community-based settings. To read more an overview of the book, read a previous post Overview of Book: Studying Latinx/a/o Students in Higher Education, where I share a short description of the book, by providing the abstracts of each book chapter.

Order your copy at Routledge, and enter the code FLA22 for a 20% discount.

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