Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana


Position Title
Graduate Student in Spanish



Dr. Robert Irwin, Ph.D.



Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana is a doctoral candidate at the Spanish and Portuguese department at the University of California Davis. Her emphasis is on Latin American Literatures and Cultures  with a designated emphasis on Human Rights. Her area of research focuses on digital storytelling, testimonial literature, and 20th and 21st Century Mexican, Mexican-American, and Chicano/a Literature and Culture.

De La Cruz’s first book manuscript draws from her doctoral dissertation. It centers on US childhood arrivals and intends to draw attention to a range of ethical-oriented concerns regarding the legal treatment of this group. Specifically, she focuses on the illegalization of a generation of immigrants raised in the country vulnerable to deportation and who have faced deportation. In her contribution, she coins the Childhood Arrivals Critical Theory (CACrit) framework, the Childhood Arrivals Diaspora, and introduces a more general definition of this group.

Her academic path and research projects have been motivated by her upbringing in a mixed-status family, community organizing around immigrant rights issues, and her ongoing participation as a researcher in the Humanizing Deportation project. This digital humanities and community participatory project documents the human consequences of mass deportation through digital storytelling. 

Her activist-oriented public scholarship includes the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project, an interactive mural on the Mexican side of the westernmost point of the US-Mexico border, which documents the stories and portraits of (deported) US childhood arrivals. Other digital humanities projects include the Leave No One Behind Mural project and DACAmented: DREAMs Without Borders digital storytelling project.  

Her research is supported by the University of California Pre-Professoriate Fellowship, the UC Davis Mellon Public Scholars Program, and the Imagining America PAGE Fellows program. 

De La Cruz has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Spanish Latin American Literatures and Cultures from Fresno State. 

For more, visit: 



Associate Instructor - University of California, Davis  

SPA 1    Elementary Spanish Fall 2016, Summer 2021

SPA 2    Elementary Spanish Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Winter 2018

SPA 3    Elementary Spanish  Spring 2018, Summer 2018 session II

SPA 31  Spanish for Native Speakers I Fall 2018, Winter 2019 

SPA 169 Topics, Chicanx/Latinx Fall 2021


Teaching Assistant - University of California, Davis  

SPA 174   Chicano Culture Fall 2019 

SPA 177   California y América Latina Spring 2019, 2020


Book Chapter(s) 




  • Penn Migration Initiative Fellows Program, 2021-2022
  • National Humanities Center Podcasting in the Humanities Fellowship, 2020-2021
  • UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellowship (PPPF), 2020-2021 
  • UCLA Law Fellows Program Central Valley (LFP-CV​), 2020 
  • Imagining America's Leading and Learning Initiative (LLI) Fellow for the Mellon Public Scholars Program, 2020
  • Imagining America PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) Fellow, 2019-2020
  • Mellon Public Scholars Fellowship, 2019
  • Mellon Comparative Border Studies Scholarship, 2019
  • Educational Opportunity Equity (EOP) Recognition, 2018, 2019
  • Curso - Taller de Proyecto Humanizado la deportación, Universidad de California en Davis y la Cátedra de Jorge Durand de Estudios Migratorios, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico,
  • Hemispheric Institute on the Americas Summer Research Award, 2018
  • Digital Humanities Institution Reading and Writing Group Award, 2017-2018
  • Digital Humanities Institute HArCS Dean’s Summer Fellowship, 2017
  • Mellon Summer Research Fellowship​, 2017, 2018
  • Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica (AILCFH) Graduate Student Scholarship, October, 2017
  • Graduate Student of Color Research Award​​, Summer 2017, Summer 2018, Summer 2019
  • Narrativa Digital como Método de Investigación: Colaboración Comunitaria, Voz Vernácula – On behalf of the Masters and Doctoral program of Cultural Studies in El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, November 2016
Education and Degree(s)
  • Ph.D. Candidate (Current) in Spanish (Latin American Literatures and Cultures) with a Designated Emphasis in Human Rights, University of California Davis
  • M.A. in Spanish, GPA: 3.8, May 2016, California State University Fresno
  • B.A. in Spanish, GPA: 3.6, May 2013, California State University Fresno
Research Interests & Expertise
  • 20th and 21st Century Mexican, Mexican-American Literature and Culture
  • Engaged Digital Public Scholarship and Humanities
  • Testimonial Literature
  • Chicano/a Literature and Art, Border Studies: U.S. and Mexico
  • Memory Studies
  • Storytelling
  • Story mapping