Community Advisory Committee
- Javier Bañales, Vice President of Teamsters Local 396
- Michael Chavez, Director of IE Labor Institute
- Ricardo Cisneros, Executive Secretary/Treasurer, IE Labor Council
- Tom Dolan, Regionwide Executive Director, Inland Congregations United for Change
- Yvette Elam, Regional Director, UDW-AFSCME 3930
- Luz Gallegos, Executive Director, TODEC
- Yesenia Gonzalez, Organizing Director, UFCW Local 1167
- Louie Lopez, Ironworkers Local 433
- Sheheryar Kaoosji, Executive Director, Warehouse Workers Resource Center
- Lyzzeth Mendoza, Policy Director, Immigrant Coalition for Immigrant Justice
- Celene Perez, Chief of Staff, IE Labor Council
- Victor Quiroz, Community Action Program/Retiree Benefits UAW Western States
- Andrea Viduarre, Senior Policy Analyst, Peoples Collective for Environmental Justice
- Ben Wood, Lead Organizer, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center
UCR Faculty Co-Directors
Dr. Marissa Brookes, Ph.D.
Faculty Co-Director IELCC
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Political Science
Associate Professor of Political Science
Marissa Brookes is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Political Science department at the University of California, Riverside. She is also Faculty Co-Director of the UCR Inland Empire Labor and Community Center and a faculty affiliate of the UCR Labor Studies Program. Her research focuses on transnational labor activism, workforce development, and the politics of work and employment in the global economy. Her research has appeared in outlets such as Comparative Political Studies, Development and Change, the Global Labour Journal, and Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. Her book, The New Politics of Transnational Labor: Why Some Alliances Succeed (Cornell University Press) analyzes the causes of success and failure in transnational labor campaigns. On invitation, she has presented her research at the Center for Advanced Study in Oslo, the ILO in Geneva, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Berlin, The Worker Institute in New York, USAID in Washington, DC, and the ILR School at Cornell University, among other venues. Dr. Brookes teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations, international political economy, labor studies, and qualitative methods. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University.
Dr. Ellen Reese, Ph.D.
Faculty Co-Director IELCC
Chair of Labor Studies
Professor and Acting Vice-Chair of Society, Environment, and Health Equity
Ellen Reese is Professor and Acting Vice-Chair of Society, Environment, and Health Equity, and Chair of Labor Studies at the University of California Riverside. Her research focuses on gender, race, and class, welfare state development, social movements, and poverty and work. She is co-author of Unsustainable: Amazon, Warehousing, and the Politics of Exploitation (2023, University of California Press), and co-editor of The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy (Pluto Press, 2020), which won the 2020-21 Award for Best Book Related to Labor Education from the United Association of Labor Education. She is also the author of They Say Cutback; We Say Fightback! Welfare Activism in an Era of Retrenchment (2011, American Sociological Association’s Rose Series) and Backlash Against Welfare Mothers: Past and Present (2005, University of California Press), co-author of The World Social Forums and the Challenges of Global Democracy (2007, Paradigm Publishers), co-editor of The Wages of Empire: Neoliberal Policies, Repression, and Women’s Poverty (2007, Paradigm Publishers) and co-editor of A Handbook of World Social Forum Activism (2012, Paradigm Publishers).
Other Core UCR Faculty
Michael Bates, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Economics
Michael Bates is an Assistant Professor of Economics. His research focuses on labor economics, the economics of education, and applied econometrics. In particular, he studies teacher labor markets and how education policy impacts economically disadvantaged students’ access to highly effective teachers. His work appears in the Journal of Labor Economics, the Economics of Education Review, and the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. Dr. Bates teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in labor economics, labor supply, and microeconomic research methods. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University in 2015. Before seeking his doctorate he taught middle school in Chicago, IL, and Lansing, MI, initially with Teach for America.
Richard Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Richard T. Rodríguez is a Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He specializes in Latina/o/x literary and cultural studies, film and visual culture, and gender and sexuality studies, and holds additional interests in transnational cultural studies, labor studies, popular music studies, and comparative ethnic studies. After receiving his BA in English from UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz, he taught for several years at Cal State LA and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign before joining the UC Riverside faculty in 2016. The author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 2009), which won the 2011 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award, and A Kiss across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and U.S. Latinidad (Duke University Press, 2022), he is currently completing Undocumented Desires: Fantasies of Latino Male Sexuality. With Martin F. Manalansan IV, Chantal Nadeau, and Siobhan B. Somerville, he coedited a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies titled “Queering the Middle: Race, Region and a Queer Midwest.” His work has appeared in the journals Social Text, Cultural Dynamics, Latino Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Biography, American Literary History, Profession, Palimpsest, Aztlán, and American Quarterly, and in various edited collections including The Cambridge Companion to Latina/o American Literature, Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., The Routledge Queer Studies Reader, Latino/a Literature in the Classroom, Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, A Concise Companion to American Studies, and Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future. The Moving Image Review Editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, he also serves or has served on the editorial boards of American Literary History, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Latino Studies, and InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture. In addition, he currently serves on the PMLA Advisory Committee. The 2019 recipient of the Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award, granted by the Minority Scholars' Committee of the American Studies Association, he is the co-principal investigator on a University of California MRPI grant titled "The Global Latinidades Project: Globalizing Latinx Studies for the Next Millennium."
Gregory Blake Hutchins is currently a Ph.D. Graduate Student in the Political Science Department at the University of California, Riverside where he received his M.A. degree in 2022. His concentrations are in Mass Political Behavior and International Relations. He serves as Chief of Staff and Assistant to the Faculty Co-Directors for UCR's Inland Empire Labor and Community Center. In addition to his academic work, Greg is also a member of the Pick Group of Young Professionals, a network of young community members working towards engaging Riverside to be a better place to live while pursuing excellence in the workplace, where he serves as the Vice-Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee. Lastly, Greg is also a Riverside City Commissioner sitting on the Budget Engagement Commission.
Zoe Caras is Inland Empire Labor and Community Center’s Project Coordinator. She comes to the position with a background as a labor, environmental, and community organizer, researcher, and educator. Zoe is passionate about the power of working people, political education, prison abolition, internationalist organizing, and racial and environmental justice. She received her B.A. in 2015 from Prescott College, where she studied Social Movement History and Community Organizing. After graduating, she worked with indigenous field guides to start a union in the tourism industry as part of a larger land rights campaign. In 2018, Zoe attended CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies Union Semester, where she organized with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and New York Caring Majority. She is trained in Strategic Corporate Research from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. As a researcher at ROC United, a restaurant workers’ center, Zoe coordinated projects including a National Research Panel of 1,000 restaurant workers tracking COVID-19’s impact on the industry; the “State of the Restaurant Workforce” report, which compiled data into a comprehensive report on the industry; and trained and mentored research fellows. Zoe hopes to support students to join the labor movement as workers and organizers as well as to build the power of working people and their communities across the Inland Empire and California. She aspires to bring a collaborative presence to IELCC and is excited to connect with students, staff, faculty, and community members– please reach out to her anytime!
- Adalberto Aguirre, Sociology, CHASS
- David Brady, Public Policy, SOPP
- Chris Chase-Dunn, Distinguished Professor of the Graduate Division, Sociology Department and the UC Disaster Resilience Network (he/him)
- John W. Cioffi, Assoc. Prof. of Political Science, Global Studies, Law & Society (he/him/his)
- Kim Yi Dionne, Associate Professor of Political Science (she/her)
- Juliann Emmons Allison, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Society, Environment, & Health Equity, CHASS
- Adrián Félix, Ethnic Studies, CHASS
- Farah Godrej, Political Science, CHASS
- Catherine Gudis, History, CHASS
- Katja Guenther, Gender & Sexuality Studies, CHASS
- Bronwyn Leebaw, Political Science & Society, Environment, & Health Equity, CHASS
- Keith Miyake, Ethnic Studies, CHASS
- Sharon Oselin, School of Public Policy, SOPP and Sociology, CHASS
- Jonathan Ritter, Music, CHASS
- Jennifer K. Simmer, Lecturer in Sociology
- Dana Simmons, History and Society, Environment, and Health Equity, CHASS
- Mark Wolfson, Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health, SOM
- Wei Zhao, Sociology, CHASS
Graduate Student Researchers
Sara Bruene is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. She studies political economy, globalization, and social change as they relate to race and class inequalities. Sara’s previous studies have explored the social movements and labor rights of Los Angeles street vendors. Her current work aims to understand global food deserts and emigration, exploring human responses to global climate change under social, economic, and political contexts. Sara has studied in Hamburg, Bangkok, and Bangalore and has backpacked over 30 countries which have helped contextualize her understanding of migration and open borders. As a graduate student researcher for the Inland Empire Labor and Community Center, she contributes to reports on the working and employment conditions throughout the IE.
John Burnett is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at the University of California, Riverside and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He was raised in Riverside, CA and earned his B.A. in Political Science at California Baptist University, and then moved to Washington D.C. to earn a M.A. in Politics at The Catholic University of America while working as a research assistant at the National Defense University. John’s research focuses on Indigenous identity and participation in tribal and non-tribal politics. His long-term goals are to provide tribal governments with the resources to manage and protect data gathered on their citizens, as well as helping tribal governments develop data collection methods most compatible with their culture and traditions.
Elvira De La Torre
Elvira De La Torre is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Her research focuses on race and class inequality as they relate to the criminal justice system. She received her B.A. degree in Sociology from Whittier College where she conducted research on the social impacts of gentrification in Los Angeles. During her undergraduate career, she continued to work with local communities and nonprofits to provideresidents with accessible resources, information, and support. She is a current qualitative Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) for the Inland Empire Labor and Community Center.
Fernando Marquez Duarte
Fernando is a Mexican Marxist & Decolonial thinker from México. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of California Riverside (UCR). He is currently a GSR for the project Logistics Electrification, Workforce Development, and High Road Training Partnerships in Inland Southern California: Opportunities, Challenges, and Recommendations. He has worked advising and supporting Indigenous groups in Baja California, México, as well as with the Resistance in defense of water in Baja California.
Pedro Freire is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. He received his Master's in Labor Studies at The City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies and his Bachelor's in Political Science and Philosophy of Law at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York. He's currently working as a GSR conducting qualitative research for the Latino and Latin American Studies Research Center and the Inland Empire Labor and Community Center at UCR.
Jingyan (Jean) Guo
Jingyan (Jean) Guo is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Her research focuses on health and development economics. She received her B.A. degree in Economics and Mathematics from Colby College and her M.S. degree in Applied Analytics from Columbia University. After that, she worked at the Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory (LABEL) at the University of Southern California before she started to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Economics at UCR in 2019. She is currently a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) for the project on quantitative regional labor market and related analyses in the Inland Empire and California.
KeAysia Jackson is a Ph.D. student in the Education Department (School Psychology program) at the University of California, Riverside. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Education from UCR. Her research investigates how intersectional identity and institutional oppression impact Black School Psychology students’ persistence in their graduate programs. She is currently a qualitative GSR for the State of Workers in the Supply Chain Industries of the Inland Empire and the State of Work in the Inland Empire projects.
Idiana Y. Salam
Idiana Y. Salam is now pursuing a doctoral degree in the field of Political Science, with a specific emphasis on American Politics, Mass Political Behavior, and International Relations. Idiana successfully completed a Master's Degree program in Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with a minor in Public Policy from the University of Redlands, California. During her pursuit of a Master's Degree, she had the opportunity to engage in water-related research as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR). The fundamental basis of this study involved the examination and evaluation of data obtained from water agencies located in the Southern California region. She was tasked with the analysis of many datasets pertaining to various agencies, encompassing factors such as water rates, fire expenses, wastewater charges, drought surcharges, and the nature of water rate structures, among others. Idiana Y. Salam is presently serving as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) once again for a study focused on quantitative analysis of regional labor markets in the Inland Empire region and California overall.
Undergraduate Student Assistants
Jeddy Jacinto Molina
Jeddy Jacinto Molina is one of the IELCC’s Communications Assistants. She will be graduating in 2024 with a B.A. in Political Science. She plans to attend law school to pursue her goal of becoming a civil rights attorney. Over the Summer she was a part of the IELCC’s Summer Labor Program where she interned for the UFCW and learned about all the impactful hard work unions are a part of. She is a proud feminist Latina who wishes to continue helping the communities around her take advantage of the opportunities provided for them. She is passionate about racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, alleviating the homelessness crisis, gender equality, and worker’s rights. During her time living in Riverside for the past three years, she has grown to enjoy the different cultures and communities she has gotten to know. She hopes to inform and bring together more community members with similar passions in order to empower those who are often underrepresented.
Eren Whitfield (he/they) is a third-year undergraduate student in the Psychology department. They volunteer with the Lab for Cognition and Action with David Rosenbaum on campus, hoping to land a research position after graduation. His other action on campus includes social media and promotion management for the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) at UCR, where they have continuously explored their passions for workers justice, social equality, and equal access to resources for all. He currently works as a Communications Assistant for the Inland Empire Labor and Community Center at UCR. He is determined to weave these two positions together to better the community around them.