Editor’s note: As part of CSUSB’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the university is showcasing a number of earlier stories highlighting Hispanic and Latino students, alumni, faculty and staff.

This article was originally published on May 4, 2021.

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Manuel G. Galaviz ’12 has accepted a tenure-track for an assistant professor position in Cultural Anthropology with the Division of Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

“I was undocumented for most of my youth, so joining CSUF as a faculty member is quite a remarkable achievement,” Galaviz said. “I am excited for this new phase of my academic career because I am a graduate of the CSU system and a first-generation Chicano scholar.”

Galaviz began his journey as a transfer student to CSUSB and graduated in 2012 with a bachelor of arts degree with department honors in anthropology. While in community college, Galaviz took evening classes after working a full day at a construction company. What motivated him through his long days through community college was his pursuit of a degree in anthropology.

In mid-2009, Galaviz lost his job due to the economic crises, but that didn’t stop him from attaining his degree – he took this as an opportunity to concentrate on his goal of transferring to CSUSB.  

When Galaviz was accepted in 2010, he was overwhelmed with joy. “It had taken me eight years to fulfill the requirements to transfer out of community college,” he said. “Attending CSUSB from 2010-2012 was an exciting and much-anticipated opportunity because I was finally one step closer to completing my undergraduate degree in anthropology.”

Once at CSUSB, Galaviz found a community of educators and peers that encouraged and motivated his intellectual pursuits to help carry him forward in life and his career. CSUSB provided him a solid foundation that continues to contribute to his success.

“The one professor who mentored and encouraged me to apply to graduate school was Dr. Kathy Nadeau, professor of anthropology, who served as chair of my undergraduate thesis, ‘Chicano Park and The Chicano Park Steering Committee: History, Myth, and Identity.’ To this very day, I correspond with Dr. Nadeau and seek her advice – she is the mentor that I now strive to be.”

Galaviz went on to earn his master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Latin American Studies with a graduate portfolio in Mexican American Studies. He continued his education at UT Austin and earned his Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology in December 2020. His dissertation, Border Security Infrastructure Projects: Space, Access, and Mobility in the San Diego-Tijuana Transborder Regionan ethnography, examines the weaponization of the environment and transportation infrastructures by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a means to confine and criminalize Latinx communities in Southern California. 

“My ongoing political commitment to the empowerment and advancement of minoritized populations in accessing higher education emerges from my background as a construction worker, community college transfer student, and undocumented youth,” Galaviz said. “My scholarship and personal experience have well-equipped me for innovative, inclusive, social justice-focused instruction with the Division of Anthropology at CSU Fullerton. Needless to say, I am thrilled for this new opportunity.”