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Sunday, September 19, 2021

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Miguel Castañeda Miguel Castañeda

By Degrees: Miguel Castañeda

Castañeda will begin graduate studies at UC San Diego in the fall.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

This story appears in the spring 2015 issue of 360: The Magazine of San Diego State University.

What brought you to SDSU?

When I graduated from San Diego City College, I was accepted at SDSU and a number of UC universities. I came here because of the faculty in Chicana/Chicano studies. I knew the work of Isidro Ortiz and Roberto Hernández, and I wanted to learn from them and other department faculty.

What is the focus of your studies?

I have been researching the barriers to health care faced by undocumented students who arrived in California as children. These include misunderstandings about the Affordable Care Act by students and also by the staff of Covered California. My work has been supported by the Grace Molina de Pick scholarship, which is awarded to SDSU undergraduates who conduct research on issues related to social justice. I presented my findings at the SDSU Student Research Symposium in March. It’s still a work in progress, but I’d like to publish it eventually and help end the inequities in health care.

As part of the research process, I also worked with staff on our campus to get SDSU students registered through Covered California. This was part of a California State University Health Insurance Education Project.

Who on campus has influenced you most?

Victoria González, my research mentor in the Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies. As a historian, she teaches us to look at history as a process that influences the present. I’ve learned from her how to research and write about primary sources and how to approach history with a social justice perspective.

What’s the next step for you?

I’ve been accepted into the UC San Diego graduate program in Latin American studies with a concentration in history, and through that program I received a fellowship funded by the National Science Foundation. I plan to earn a Ph.D. and teach history at the college level.