Kendy Rivera Cardenas

Kendy Rivera

Kendy Rivera Cardenas


Cohort 2012-13



Kendy Rivera Cardenas is a lecturer for the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. As a Ph.D. student, she was an Inter-University Program for Latino Research/ Andrew W. Mellon dissertation fellow and Eugene Cota-Robles fellow. She received her Ph.D. in 2019 and M.A. in Chicano Studies in 2014. Previous to that, she earned a M.A. in Latin American Studies in 2012 at UCLA, and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from San Diego State University. Her research focuses on borders and transnationalism, law and society, history, culture, and politics of Latina/os and Latin American communities, urban studies, and social justice across geopolitical divides. Rivera Cardenas completed her dissertation under the direction of Robert Chao-Romero, Leisy J. Ábrego, Rubén Hernández-León and Laura Gómez. Her dissertation entitled, “Transfronteriza/os: U.S.-México Transborder Citizens,” is an autoethnography of Latina/os living at and routinely traversing the Tijuana- San Diego geopolitical divide, and exploring what it means to be a U.S. citizen, a Mexican dual national, and member of a mixed-status family at the borderlands. Rivera Cárdenas’ work has appeared in the anthology, Urban Humanities in the Borderlands: Engaged Scholarship From Mexico City to Los Angeles; and peer-reviewed journals like, Queer Cats: A Journal of LGBTQ Studies and Bozalta: Arts, Activism, and Scholarship Journal.

Personally, Rivera Cárdenas is a Tijuana-San Diego transfronteriza, U.S.-México transborder student, 1st-generation Mexican immigrant, 1st-generation college educated, first-generation graduate educated, and queer mujer. Politically, she is the co-founder of the UCLA Queer Graduate Student Organization, Transborder Association and Student Organization, and a member of the foundational doctoral cohort in Chicana/o Studies at UCLA.


  • Ph.D., Chicana and Chicano Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (2019)
  • Cert, Urban Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles (2016)
  • MA, Chicana and Chicano Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (2014)
  • BA, Political Science; Latin American Studies, San Diego State University (2009)


  • Afro-Mexican politics
  • Afro-Latin@s in the U.S.
  • Latin- American racial minority migrant groups in the U.S.
  • Black Diasporic politics
  • Queer women-of-color identity politics
  • Race, class, citizen, and gendered minorities

Honors & Awards

  • El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Departamento de Estudios Culturales (Cultural Studies Department), Visiting Researcher (2019-2020) 
  • UCLA Labor Center, Global Solidarity Project, Graduate Research Fellowship (2019-2020)  
  • UCLA Institute of Research Labor and Employment, Research and Teaching Fellowship, Community Scholars Program (2018-2019)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ UC Humanities Research Institute Initiative, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Working Group “Horizons of the Humanities” (2017-2018)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ Inter-University Program for Latino Research Dissertation Fellowship (2017-2018)           
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Honorable Mention (2017-2018)              
  • Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, UCSD, Dissertation Award Finalist (2017-2018)
  • UCLA Chicana and Chicano Studies Department, Teaching Fellowship, Summer Session (2017)
  •  Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Urban Humanities Initiative Summer Field Research Award (2017)
  • UCLA Center for Mexican Studies Summer Field Research Grant (2016) 
  • UC-Mexico Initiative, “The Students That We Share/Los Estudiantes Que Compartimos” International Symposium Travel Grant (Spring 2016)
  • UCLA Center for Mexican Studies, Research Fellowship (2016-2017)               
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation /Urban Humanities Initiative Fellowship-Mexico City (2015-2016)                
  • Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de Mexico (Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs) Research Fellowship, (2014-2015)                          
  • UCLA Graduate Division, Graduate Research and Mentorship Award, (2013-2014)              
  • UCLA Chicana and Chicano Studies Department M.A. Thesis Award (2014)               
  •  UCLA Graduate Division, Summer Research Mentorship Award (2013)             
  • Eugene V. Cota-Robles Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (2012-2016)  
  • U.S. Department of Education, Foreign Language and Area Studies-Salvador da Bahía, Brazil, Summer Grant (2012)