Even growing up in bustling Mexico City among a large extended family didn’t prepare Cecilia for the shock of moving to the United States when she was just nine years old. The move was a defining experience, especially when a request for grapes at the grocery store with her father sparked a lifelong interest in labor movements, boycotts, and social justice. Cecilia went on to study at Loyola University in Chicago, where she earned her B.A. in English. She eventually went on to earn her Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University.
Over the last two decades, much of Cecilia’s research has focused on Latinx and immigrant communities, particularly regarding leisure values, STEM engagement, and experiences in museums. She has served as co-PI on various national research initiatives including the “Bilingual Exhibits Research Initiative” and studies for the development of the Smithsonian Latino Center Gallery. Cecilia’s other area of study is equity and organizational change. As part of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) initiative, she recently conducted a national landscape study on DEAI practices in museums. In another recent equity project, as co-PI for the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) Cecilia co-led the development of the Broadening Participation in STEM Toolkit.
Today, Cecilia heads a consulting firm that conducts research, evaluation, and capacity-building with cultural institutions to catalyze and support organizational change efforts toward equity and inclusion. They ground their work in culturally responsive research and community-focused participatory approaches. Cecilia lives in Chicago with her husband, where when she’s not geeking out over research and data, she’s hanging out with her nieces and nephews or playing electric guitar.