Marlen Kanagui-Muñoz, ’07 UCI cognitive sciences and sociology and ’13 University of Missouri-Columbia Ph.D., and Caroline Martínez, sociology Ph.D. candidate

Marlen Kanagui-Muñoz, ’07 UCI cognitive sciences and sociology and ’13 University of Missouri-Columbia Ph.D., and Caroline Martínez, sociology Ph.D. candidate, were among the 2023 Latino Excellence and Achievement Award recipients honored at the annual dinner held April 6 by the UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence. The awards celebrate research excellence and achievements across all schools on the UCI campus and specifically those who provide encouragement and support for the Latinx community. 

Learn more about Kanagui-Muñoz and Martínez below, and congrats to all honorees!

Marlen Kanagui-Muñoz, ’07 UCI cognitive sciences and sociology, ’13 University of Missouri-Columbia Ph.D.
Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award

Marlen Kanagui-Muñoz, Ph.D. is a bilingual and bicultural licensed psychologist. She is a founding faculty member and training director in the Master of Science in Counseling program (MSC) at the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences in Richmond, CA. Born in Mexico and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Kanagui-Muñoz is indebted to the incredible sacrifices made by her family so that she may pursue her education at UC Irvine.

While at UCI, Kanagui-Muñoz was a member of the Campuswide Honors Program, a founding member and past-president of the Latinx Student Psychological Association (LSPA), a Peer Educator at the UCI Counseling Center and the 2007 Lauds and Laurels Outstanding Undergraduate. Upon graduation from UCI, she pursued a doctorate in counseling psychology with an emphasis in multicultural psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia where her research focused on strength-based therapy approaches for the Latinx population. She went on to complete her postdoctoral residency at Kaiser Permanente-Richmond and helped promote culturally competent mental healthcare for Latinx clients within Kaiser Permanente Psychiatry by helping establish the La Clínica program.

Kanagui-Muñoz is a proud mamá, daughter, sister and partner. She is passionate about teaching, mentorship and scholarship. As a part of the Academic Freedom Train legacy, she is dedicated to raising the next generation of practitioner-scholars to serve the mental health needs of diverse individuals. And she is eternally grateful for the meaningful connections and mentorship she received while at UCI.

Caroline Martínez, Sociology Ph.D. Candidate
Graduate Student Excellence, School of Social Sciences

Caroline Martínez is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the UCI Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on how local communities, social movements, and governments draw racial boundaries and assign meaning to racial categories. Her work centers on Indigenous and Latinx identification in the United States and on the particular contexts that may lead to greater or lower identification as Indigenous in Latinx communities.

As someone who grew up in Ecuador and the United States, Martínez seeks to create greater understandings between the distinct racial ideologies that emerged in both areas and that inform how we think about racial categories and boundaries, and, thus, determine the allocation of resources and rights. 

Martínez has used her skills as both a qualitative and quantitative researcher to lead research projects related to the rights of women and Indigenous peoples for various organizations, such as UNICEF, The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), and the Confederation of the Kichwa Nationality of Ecuador (ECUARUNARI).

Her academic publications have been featured in the SAGE Handbook on the Sociology of Education, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Journal, and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) – Ecuador Library.

At UCI Martínez has been involved in multiple initiatives to support underrepresented students, providing mentorship and engaging in inclusive teaching practices. She is a Pedagogical Fellow in the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI), a center focused on creating equitable learning environments, where she has gained tools to make classrooms more inclusive and will train future teaching assistants on how to implement these tools. Martínez also leads a graduate student writing group through the Cascading Mentorship program, covering topics such as research planning, setting writing goals, and fellowship applications.

Martínez’ goal is to become a faculty member at a doctorate-granting institution who mentors students and conducts research that can be used to reduce racial inequalities.

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