Lisette Moran

Name: Lisette Moran
Majors and current year at UCI: Chicano/Latino studies and education sciences, third year
Scholarship received: Alice B. Macy Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award
Hometowns: Zacatecas, Mexico and Inland Empire, California

How did you decide on UCI for your undergraduate studies?

One of my major priorities when choosing a school for my undergraduate education was to stay close to my family. What drew me to UCI specifically, was at first the education field of study, and the opportunity to meet and join a genuine and supportive community.

What motivated your double major in Chicano/Latino studies and education sciences?

My first experiences in school as an undocumented student have fueled my desire and aspirations to pursue a role of an educator. Early on, there was little support for immigrant students and families. My siblings and I had to navigate and rely only with the help of our family, who often couldn’t help as much when it came to school. My experiences in education as well as my desire to connect and contribute to my Latine and undocumented community have motivated me in my education and Chicano/Latino studies field studies.

When do you plan to finish your degree and what do you plan to do after?

I plan to finish my undergraduate degree in 2024. After UCI, I hope to move forward into graduate school where I can combine both my field studies to be an educator in Chicano/Latino studies.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment at UCI?

While I have been able to do relatively well academically, I think that my biggest accomplishment at UCI was being able to sustain and grow my resilience despite the difficulties of the pandemic and my personal life. I continue to be optimistic and look forward for what is to come and how I will be able to grow.

In addition to the Macy Award, what other honors have you earned while at UCI?

I recently received an award in the 2022 Upper-Division Writing Awards, the Social Sciences and Social Ecology Writing Award for my research paper, “COVID-19 Pandemic Stressors and Mental Health Dialogue within Latinx Families.”

What activities have you been involved in at UCI outside the classroom?

On campus I work as a TA in one of the UCI Child Care Service centers where I have the opportunity to assist lead teachers in engaging students in activities and meaningful conversations. I also volunteered in a Santa Ana afterschool program, where I similarly helped young students. 

Tell us a bit about your research.

Yes, this research paper which earned me the Macy Award allowed me to delve into research at UCI. I have the opportunity to work collaboratively with a Ph.D. student in their research and similar interest in the mental health and psychological well-being of undocumented students.

Who has been your biggest role model?

My sister has played the biggest role in my life thus far. As a first-generation student, she was the first in our family to navigate and graduate higher undergraduate education. Now as she continues in post-graduate education, I am following her footsteps. She has motivated and guided me to above all grow, thrive and rise above not only academically, but personally as well.

Are there any unique circumstances that stand out as having had an impact on who you are today?

Growing up as an undocumented woman of color has been a process of reclaiming and finding empowerment within my identity. I have learned that while I am not the circumstances which have been placed on me, they have shaped me into the person I am today and who I desire to be in the future.

What’s your best memory thus far from your undergraduate experience at UCI?

One of the best memories thus far in my undergraduate experience at UCI has to be during my first year after midterms, where I took some time to watch the sun set on top of a parking structure. I was able to see a significant part of campus and really take in that my aspirations of coming to UCI had come true.


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