Cynthia Alcantar

Cynthia M. Alcantar

Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership, Educational Leadership, College of Education She/Her/Ella


Languages: Spanish, English

I am an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Before joining the University, I held Postdoctoral Fellowships from the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (2018-19) and the Institute for Global-Local Action & Study (2017-18) at Pitzer College. My research focuses on the social structures that impact the social inequities that exist for racial/ethnic minoritized and immigrant populations in the United States. Notably, the influence of schools (i.e., public K-20 schools, community colleges, and Minority Serving Institutions) on the educational pathways and civic participation of racial/ethnic minoritized and immigrant students. My research has culminated into publications in The Review of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, and Teachers College Press. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University, and a Ph.D. in Social Science and Comparative Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

My professional and personal experiences strongly inform my research. I am a proud first-generation college student and daughter of Mexican immigrants. My experiences growing up as a first-gen student with Spanish speaking parents in a poor, predominantly Mexican immigrant community in Southern California significantly shaped the way I view the world. Professionally, I also have extensive experience working with underserved students in K-12 and higher education settings.  My experiences with Upward Bound program at Norco Community College, the McNair Scholars Program at Claremont Graduate University, the Title V Hispanic Serving Institution grant program at Mount St. Mary’s College, track coach at Norte Vista High School (my high school alma mater), and as an English and math instructor at John Adams Elementary School in Riverside, CA helped me understand the role of educators, programs, and schools in supporting underserved students like me.