UCR’s Graduate School of Education Announces New Faculty

L to R: Dr. Cati V. de los Ríos, Dr. Leigh Patel, and Dr. Tara J. Yosso join GSOE.


UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education is delighted to welcome three new faculty: Drs. Cati V. de los Ríos, Leigh Patel, and Tara J. Yosso. All three hold appointments in GSOE’s Education, Society, and Culture program.

Assistant Professor Cati V. de los Ríos officially joined GSOE in Winter 2016. A former high school teacher in Pomona Unified School District and Boston Public Schools, and teacher educator in New York City and Oakland, California, her research spans a number of phenomena, including Chicanx and Latinx adolescents’ critical and close readings of corridos, Chicanx and Latinx youth’s multimodal and translingual literacies, youth community organizing, and the civic literacy practices extant in secondary Ethnic Studies classrooms. Her teaching and scholarship are informed by ethnic studies frameworks and sociocultural and critical theories of language and literacy, and she has over a decade of community organizing for K-12 Ethnic Studies efforts nationwide. Dr. de los Ríos has been published in academic journals including Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Race and Social Problems. She is a former Cultivating New Voices (CNV) Fellow with NCTE, and in 2016, she was selected for dissertation fellowships from both the Ford Foundation and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation. In 2017, she was awarded the Jean Anyon Award from AERA’s special interest group Grassroots Community and Youth Organizing for Education Reform.

Professor Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. Her work addresses the narratives that facilitate societal structures, and she works extensively with societally marginalized youth and teacher activists. Dr. Patel is the author of four books, over 100 articles and essays, and has been featured in media outlets including The Atlantic, HuffPost live, and the Feminist Wire. Prior to working in academia, she was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society and the stories that are told about those opportunities. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, To Study is to Struggle: Higher Education and Settler Colonialism.

Professor Tara J. Yosso joins GSOE as a recruit from the UCR cluster hire focused on scholars working with the diverse U.S. populations who are part of what are identified by Américo Paredes as “Greater Mexico.” Her research and teaching apply the frameworks of critical race theory and critical media literacy to examine educational access and opportunity. She has authored numerous collaborative and interdisciplinary chapters and articles in publications such as the Harvard Educational Review, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and The Blackwell Companion to Social Inequalities, and has been awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity and Excellence in University Teaching. Her article, “Whose Culture has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth,” has become the top cited article in Race Ethnicity and Education since its publication in 2005, with over 3,000 citations. The American Educational Studies Association recognized her book, Critical Race Counterstories along the Chicana/Chicano Educational Pipeline (Routledge) with a 2008 Critics’ Choice Book Award. Prior to joining GSOE, Dr. Yosso was a Professor in the School of Education and a faculty affiliate in Latina/o Studies at the University of Michigan, and held previous positions as assistant and associate professor with tenure in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her Ph.D. in urban schooling in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Donor Honor Roll

UCR’s GSOE would like to recognize the generous contributions of our donors!

June 2017-present

Bezos Family Foundation
Dr. & Mrs. John and Kathy Allavie
Drs. Irving Hendrick & Linda Scott Hendrick
Drs. Stephen & Ruth Sandlin
Dr. Patricia A. Hatch
Haynes Foundation
John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation
Justice Barton C. Gaut & Mrs. Merla C. Gaut
MacArthur Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth and Nancy Noller
Mr. Chester G. Fossum, Jr.
Mr. Clyde Derrick
Mr. Dwight A. Tate & Dr. Katherine A. Wright
Mr. James C. Calkins
Mr. John Torres, Jr.
Mr. Ted & Dr. Jo Dutton
Mrs. Christine R. Jones
Mrs. Paula E. Torres
Mrs. Sara K. Peck
Ms. Barbara Kerr
Ms. Elizabeth V. Dunne
Ms. Esther Severy
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
Spencer Foundation
Stuart Foundation
The Tower Foundation of San Jose State University

Areas of Support
June 2017-present

Athena Waite Teacher Education Fund
Beckman Coulter Foundation Scholars Fund
Bridge to Success Teacher Education Endowed Student Award Fund
Flora Ortiz Endowed Scholarship Fund
General Support for Teacher Education
General Support for the Graduate School of Education
Graduate School of Education (GSOE) Colloquium Fund
GSOE Teacher Education Fund
Institute for Teachers of Color (ITOC)
James E. and James C. Calkins Endowed Teacher Preparation Graduate
Award Fund
John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation Teacher Education Scholarships
Operation Education Fund
Research in the School of Education
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Teacher Education Professional Development Seminar Fund
SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center
UCR-RUSD Pipeline Scholarship Fund

Alumni Spotlight: Zelma Ballard ’59

by Deanna Wheeler and Kate Beach

Zelma Ballard ’59 reflects upon her undergraduate student experience at UCR during the late 1950’s with a lasting recollection of caring faculty, advisors and fellow students, and attending class at The Barn. She chuckles as she explains that class sizes were roughly six students to every professor. Needless to say, they were a tightknit group where everyone knew each other.

Zelma represents an important perspective as the first African American female graduate at UCR, which she humbly admits, is a designation she was not aware of until nearly five years after graduating with her BA in Social Sciences. She and former UCR Alumni Association Board President, Kyle Hoffman, flipped through yearbooks one afternoon in the early 1960’s to confirm his “hunch” that she may have been “a majority of one” as she refers to herself.

Zelma is a woman of many firsts and a trailblazer in her own right. She was the only African American in her graduating class from Mecca Elementary School as well as in her graduating class at Coachella Valley Union High School as well as in her graduating class at Coachella Valley Union High School; and the first teacher of color at Grand Terrace Elementary School during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. She remembers being asked from a young black alumnus how she endured the lack of diversity in these educational settings; to which she responded, “I didn’t pay much attention to it. I worked two part-time jobs while in school at UCR and was too busy to be preoccupied with anything else.” Zelma said, “my siblings and I always had a goal we were working towards.” She credits her success and perseverance to staying goal oriented and the support she received from her community, mentors, and family.

Zelma Ballard, UCR’s first African American male graduate Roy Overstreet (left) at the 2011 Black Graduation with Chancellor Tim White, Ken Simmons, and students.

Zelma’s determination paid off. She remained hyper-focused to achieve her academic goals which included: completing her practicum at University of Redlands to earn a teaching credential, followed by earning a Master’s in Language Arts with an emphasis in Elementary Education from California State University San Bernardino.

As a junior at UCR, Zelma was encouraged by her late advisor, Dr. Arthur Turner, to apply for a National Defense Scholarship; of which she was awarded. This financial assistance allowed Zelma to travel to Germany on assignment with the Department of Defense as a director of recreational programs for deployed servicemen, after graduating from UCR. She expressed great appreciation for Dr. Turner’s encouragement and guidance he gave to her as a student. While Zelma thought she would join the ranks of the FBI post-graduation, it was the sage advice of Dr. Turner that steered her focus toward teaching, a profession that peeked her interests and complemented her talents.

A woman of many talents, Zelma says that many of her colleagues were impressed by her progressive applications of the sciences and worldly perspective in social sciences in the classroom. Her keen interest in geology, international affairs, and social studies captivated her students and made learning fun in Ms. Ballard’s class.

Zelma shows her appreciation for those at UCR who influenced her path to becoming an educator by supporting programs and volunteering her time at UCR. She supports UCR’s African Student Programs, she has served as a board member of the Alumni Association and has been active in community organizations such as the Community Players, the Riverside Mission Belles, an all woman’s chorus, and she served as a health educator for the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation for several years. She has also been active in her church.

Zelma is in awe of the continual growth she sees today compared to the much smaller campus she set foot on in the 50’s. This growth is exciting to her and she is pleased to see UCR and its students continuing to thrive. She looks forward to being involved and hopes to share some of her wisdom with the next generation of teachers in the Graduate School of Education.