Cynthia Alcantar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Cynthia Alcantar


Cynthia M. Alcantar is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to joining UNR, she held Postdoctoral Fellowships from the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (2018-2019) and the Institute for Global-Local Action & Study (2017-2018) at Pitzer College.

Her research focuses on the social structures that impact the social mobility and integration of racial/ethnic minority and immigrant populations in the United States. Particularly, 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 minority and immigrant students. Her research has been published in The Review of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Qualitative Psychology, and a forthcoming co-edited book on race and education published through Teachers College Press. Alcantar's dissertation received the first place award for the 2019 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education & Educational Testing Services Dissertation Award.

She received her B.A. from the University of California, Riverside in Psychology and a minor in Sociology, M.A. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Social Science and Comparative Education. She has extensive experience working in K-12 and higher education settings, including TRIO grant programs at Norco Community College and Claremont Graduate University, the Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions grant program at Mount St. Mary's College, Norte Vista High School, and John Adams Elementary in Riverside, CA. She also consults with school districts, community colleges, and four-year colleges concerning the campus climate and culture for supporting underrepresented student populations.


Alcantar, C. M., Bordoloi-Pazich, L., & Teranishi, R. T. (2019). Meaning-making about becoming a Minority Serving Institution: A Case Study of Asian-Serving Community Colleges. The Review of Higher Education.
Alcantar, C. M., & Hernandez, E. (2018). "Here the professors are your guide, tus guías": Latina/o student validating experiences with faculty at a Hispanic-Serving community college. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 1-16.

Katsiaficas, D., Alcantar, C. M., Hernandez, E., Gutierrez, M. N., Samayoa, E., Texis, O. R., & Williams, Z. (2016). Important theoretical and methodological turning points for understanding contribution with undocumented undergraduates. Qualitative Psychology, 3(1), 7-25.

Alcantar, C. M. (2014). Civic engagement measures for Latina/o college students. In F. K. Stage & R. Wells (Eds.), New Perspectives on Critical Quantitative Inquiry: New Directions for Institutional Research (pp. 23-35). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Teranishi, R. T., Nguyen, B. M. D., Alcantar, C. M., & Curammeng, E. R. (Eds.) (Forthcoming). The Racial Heterogeneity Project: Unmasking Educational Inequality in Aggregation. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Social Science and Comparative Education, Race and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.A., Education with emphasis in Higher Education, Claremont Graduate University
  • B.A., Liberal Studies with concentration in Psychology, minor in Sociology, University of California, Riverside