Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana, M.A. and B.A. in Spanish

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana

Position Title
Graduate Student in Spanish
UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellow, 2020-2021

609 Sproul Hall


Dr. Robert Irwin, Ph.D.


  • 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


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; Digital Radio/Podcast.            


Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana is a fifth year Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California Davis working towards a Ph.D. in Spanish with an emphasis on Human Rights. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Fresno State. 

While studying at Fresno State she was the senior editor for Revista Literaria Austral, Editor-in-Chief for The Collegian’s La Voz de Aztlán, graduate student representative in the President's Commission on Human Relations and Equity, Media Director for the Ayotzinapa Caravana 43 Fresno and an active member and officer of various student clubs and organizations.

In UC Davis, her academic scholarship emphasizes a Publicly Engaged Digital Humanities approach through fieldwork in the U.S.-Mexico Border. Her role as a facilitator for the DACAmented: DREAMS without Borders ( and the Humanizing Deportation ( Digital Storytelling projects provide the platform for illegalized (im)migrants and deportees to participate as knowledge creators. 

Since 2016 De La Cruz has participated as a Graduate Research Assistant for Humanizando la Deportación (, a bi-national effort to put a human face to deportation in the Tijuana, Mexico – U.S. border.

In 2017, through the HArCS Dean’s Summer Fellowship, the Mellon Summer Research Fund and the GSoC Summer Research Award De La Cruz has worked as the project coordinator for DACAmented: DREAMs without Borders - Digital Storytelling Project. This platform serves scholarship and activism purposes through documenting the experience of undocumented youth in the United States who have benefited from the deferred action program known as DACA.

As a 2019 Public Mellon Scholar, Lizbeth directed the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project (, a community mural in Friendship Park in the U.S.-Mexico Border. The mural aims to expose the myriad of stories behind the United State’s Childhood Arrivals dilemma though portraiture and digital storytelling. She envisioned this digital artivism project as part of her doctoral dissertation. 

Through her participation as a 2019 Imagine America PAGE Fellow, Lizbeth applied her research and fieldwork on the deportation of childhood arrivals by co-developing Migri Map, a directory with humanitarian aid and resources for deportees and asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico.

Currently, as part of her dissertation work, she has coined the Childhood Arrivals Diaspora term. A concept that inquires on the forced expulsion of childhood arrivals to the U.S. through the deportation apparatus. Additionally, in order to think through more ethical approaches to childhood arrivals, De La Cruz has introduced a broad definition that takes into account several different migration paths to better identify childhood arrivals. Her dissertation inquires on the deportation and deportability of Childhood Arrivals to the U.S. through the Childhood Arrivals Critical Theory framework she is currently developing and the coined term 'childhood arrivals diaspora'. It will review the ways in which this broad definition exceeds those incorporated into DACA and proposals for the DREAM Act, questioning the ethical legitimacy of the limits of these programs.  

In the summer of 2020 as an Imagining America's Leading and Learning Initiative (LLI) Fellow for the Mellon Public Scholars Program, De La Cruz engaged in action research, national networking, and the production of interactive tools and media for change agents who advocate for institutional change on behalf of public and activist scholarship.  This project is supported jointly by Imagining America and the UC Davis Humanities Institute. The Leading and Learning Initiative is a national project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Preliminary findings will be shared in the Imagining America national gathering in October 2020. 


Teaching Assistant - University of California, Davis  

SPA 174   Chicano Culture Fall 2019 

SPA 177   California y Américal Latina Spring 2019, 2020

Associate Instructor - University of California, Davis  

SPA 1    Elementary Spanish  Fall 2016

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 

Teaching Associate - California State University, Fresno 

SPA 1    Elementary Spanish Fall 2015

SPA 2    Elementary Spanish Spring 2016 


Book Chapter(s) 




  • 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
  • Graduate Studies Summer Stipend, 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