Maria Luz Espino


The Program in US Latino/a Studies is delighted to welcome Maria Espino as a graduate student lecturer!


Maria Luz Espino is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program in the School of Education at Iowa State University, where she is also a graduate research assistant.  In her personal research, Maria investigates issues of college access and retention of first-generation, low-income students. Her primary focus aims at understanding experiences at community colleges and four-year institutions through the college students’ intersections of gender, race, and sexuality.

She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University and a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership with an additional major in Gender and Women Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Having a Chican@ Latin@ Studies certificate/minor was something that Maria found important since she was never taught the history of Latinx people anywhere else. Being Mexican-American, one of the most impactful moments in Maria’s Chican@ Latin@ Studies classes was watching the “Harvest of Loneliness” (2010). This class depicted the Bracero program. After talking to her mother about the course, Maria found out that her grandfather was a part of that program. Learning more about the Bracero Program and aspects of different Latinx folxs history is crucial to understanding how Latinx people navigate the world around us, especially in the United States. Teaching USLS 211 will give her the opportunity to teach what was an important minor in her undergraduate career. She is looking forward to meeting all of the students.