Latinx Thriving

What does it mean to be a Hispanic Serving Institution?

UCI is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). This federal designation aligns with UCI's aspiration to be a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence. As a designated HSI, UCI faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply for Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) grants, internships and partnerships.

Upcoming Events

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AY 2020-21

Spring Quarter 2021
4th annual LEAD recognizes graduate student excellence and achievement in all 15 academic units at UCI (

Fall Quarter 2020
UCI awarded UC-Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative grant for Enhancing Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Thriving in the Academy Program (

AY 2019-20

Fall Quarter 2019
UCI awarded National Science Foundation IUSE HSI Program grant for Improving the Transition of Community College Students into University STEM Programs Through Cross-Enrollment (

AY 2018-19

AY 2017-18

Spring Quarter 2018
Inaugural Latino Excellence and Achievement Dinner (LEAD): First celebration of Latinx graduate student success in UC system.

Fall Quarter 2017
UCI HSI Conference: National Science Foundation awards UCI an HSI conference grant for Pathways for Hispanics in STEM.

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman is first UC Chancellor elected to governing board of Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU).

AY 2016-17

Winter Quarter 2017
A LOOK AT LATINO STUDENT SUCCESS: Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions: The Education Trust names UCI among top 10 universities closing graduation gap for Latinx students.

AY 2014-15

Winter Quarter 2015
Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes convenes an administrative work group to prepare the campus for designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. View the report here


Elizabeth Montoya

The daughter of El Salvadorian immigrants, Montoya is the oldest of her three sisters. And as the first born, she’s also the first to attend college. As she puts it, she’s “first generation in everything,” experiences which have inspired her independence and position as a role model.

Rodriguez Wimberly lived along into her dream of motherhood — and, as she’ll soon be graduating with her Ph.D. in physics from the UCI Department of Physics & Astronomy after working with Professor Michael Cooper and moving on to a position as a postdoctoral researcher at UC Riverside supported by a first-of-its-kind National Science Foundation Mathematical and Physical Sciences Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, she’s now also another thing she dreamed of becoming long ago: an astrophysicist, one who now studies what may be the oldest known galaxies in the Universe.

Katy Rodriguez Wimberly

Assistant Professor Adriana Villavicencio was recently awarded two grants, both to begin in 2022, aimed at reducing inequalities among English Learners and dismantling racism in K-12 schools.

An event to celebrate Dia de los Difuntos was put on by UCI’s Latinx Resource Center for UCI students and staff on Nov. 5. Find out what this celebration means to those who celebrate and why it’s so important to hold events like this at UCI.


Sandra Campero will join the Office of Inclusive Excellence as the inaugural assistant vice chancellor for community engagement and development, effective immediately. In this role, she will help expand the capacity and extend the impact of UCI as a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence.

National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month/El Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana provides a fitting moment to recognize Latinx contributions to our school, university and nation. But it also offers the opportunity to move beyond easy expressions of appreciation and into the more difficult work of critically evaluating our school and university contributions to Latinx success and wellbeing. As you will see in the stories featured below, our Latinx faculty, staff and students play an irreplaceable role in the school’s research and teaching missions, while also assuming much of the often-invisible labor of empowering the Latinx and underrepresented minority leaders of tomorrow.

Glenda Flores
APSA Spring Diversity Fellows

Angelica Garcia Macias and Geidy Mendez, University of California, Irvine political science graduate students, have been named as 2021-22 American Political Science Association Spring Diversity Fellowship Program recipients. The honor, awarded each semester to a select group of political science graduate students across the nation, comes with a $2,000 award.

UCI doctoral student in anthropology explores the experiences of undocumented people and exposes their mistreatment

Orlando Lara
Michael Méndez

Michael Méndez, assistant professor of urban planning and public policy, has received a $400,000 National Science Foundation Early Career Faculty Award for research on underrepresented disaster victims.

Méndez has also been appointed by state Gov. Gavin Newsom to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

A first-generation college student, Professor Contreras will be the first Chicana/Latina dean to head a school of education in the University of California system.

NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee, Brianna Villanueva

NCAA member schools across all three divisions nominated 535 female student-athletes for the 2021 Woman of the Year award. Of the 251 Division I nominees, Villanueva was one of eight from the Big West Conference.

Law Student Sandra K. Guzmán  named the recipient of the 2021 Sidley Austin LLP Scholarship awarded by the Mexican American Bar Foundation.

Sandra K. Guzman, Sidley Austin LLP Scholar
2021-22 Hellman Fellows

Seven assistant professors at UCI will receive $50,000 Hellman Fellowships, which are bestowed annually to support research by junior faculty. They join an elite group of 63 UCI Hellman Fellows since 2013, when the Hellman Fellows Fund established the program here. The program began in 1995 at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego and has since expanded organically to all UC institutions. In 2020, after 25 years of funding the Program, the Hellman family generously established an endowment to allow the program to continue in perpetuity across UC’s 10 campuses.

The Eugene Cota-Robles (ECR) Fellowship is the most prestigious diversity fellowship offered at UC Irvine. This award is used to release recipients from employment or loan obligations that might delay progress in graduate study. The fellowship is designed to place students interested in careers in academic teaching and research on a fast-track towards completing their doctoral degree, and to increase the number of qualified candidates for faculty positions within the University of California. The Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship is named in honor of one of the earliest Mexican-American professors in the University of California System.

Shanice Hyler
Salvador Zarate

ACLS Fellowship Program 2021 | Project Title: Weed Abatement: Immigrant Workers and Fire Prevention in Orange County. Weed Abatement examines how Latino immigrant workers’ ecological labor prevents wildfires in Southern California.

UCI School of Education Assistant Professor Adriana Villavicencio presents findings from book, Am I My Brother’s Keeper? The book, released in May 2021 by Harvard Education Press, chronicles a four-year study focused on improving the educational outcomes of 15,000 Black and Latinx males in New York City public high schools.

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval headshot

Jiménez-Sandoval graduated cum laude with bachelor's degrees in Spanish and History from the University of California, Irvine, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese literatures. In addition, he has professional certificates in critical theory from Cornell University, in Spanish art history from Escuela de Arte y Antigüedades de Madrid (Spain), and in Portuguese language and culture from Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal).

Ana Muñiz, assistant professor of criminology, law and society, has been named a 2021 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader (MEFL) by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars.

Ana Muñiz awarded for inclusive scholarship and service
Daniel Joseph Martinez

Daniel Joseph Martinez, Donald Bren Professor of Art in the Department of Art at UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts, received the Abigail Cohen Rome Prize in Visual Art for his submission entitled Forum Romanum of Dissent or To See The World Without Time.

Renowned biologist is among 184 diverse recipients of prestigious award this year

LEAD is a gala that honors key leaders, graduate students, staff and faculty who support and champion student success and research excellence in the Latinx/Hispanic community at UCI and in Orange County.

Adriana Briscoe

LEAD is a gala that honors key leaders, graduate students, staff and faculty who support and champion student success and research excellence in the Latinx/Hispanic community at UCI and in Orange County.

Alumna Lauren Gómez (B.A. Spanish ’94) was named a California Teacher of the Year.

Laura Story wins California Teacher of the Year
Michael Mendez

Michael Méndez, assistant professor of urban planning & public policy, has been appointed by state Gov. Gavin Newsom to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.


Title III & Title V

The HSI Division provides grant funding to institutions of higher education to assist with strengthening institutional programs, facilities, and services to expand the educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans and other underrepresented populations.