American Studies

Vanessa Padilla - Urban Communities and Education

The summer after graduation Vanessa immersed herself in French language and culture while living in Paris. On her return to the states, Vanessa continues to intern for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, serving constituents in San Francisco. Vanessa plans to pursue a degree in environmental law, so that she can advocate for people who face environmental crises like those she addressed in her senior thesis.

Area of Concentration Courses

African American Studies C133: Race, Identity, and Culture in Urban Schools
Chicano Studies 159 : Mexican Immigration
Chicano Studies 172: Chicanos and the Educational System
Education 140AC: Literacy: Individual and Societal Development
Education 190: Critical Studies in Education
Sociology 130AC: Social Inequalities: American Cultures


Vanessa Padilla : - "A Tale of Two Cities: Richmond, California and Flint, Michigan" (Class of 2016)

Vanessa Padillas senior thesis borrows themes from Charles Dickenss timeless novel, A Tale of Two Cities, to understand the disproportionate environmental burdens carries by communities of color in Richmond, California and Flint, Michigan. Focusing on the water crisis in Flint and the toxic air pollution in Richmond, Vanessas comparative interdisciplinary thesis unpacks the history of each crisis against a backdrop of scientific data, media representation, political rhetoric, and private corruption.

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