Mario Alvarado Cifuentes

Mario Alvarado Cifuentes

Graduate Student



Mario Alvarado Cifuentes (MAC) is a PhD student in Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA. MAC was born in Retalhuleu, Guatemala, with Maya Q’anjob’al, Guatemalan (K’iche’ Territory), and Salvadorian (Lenca Territory) roots. At the age of eight, MAC migrated with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area where he grew up. Living in the United States as an UndocuQueer person sparked his interest in understanding systems of violence that impact our minds and bodies.

This interest led him to study Cancellation of Removal for Non-Legal Permanent Residents and its impact on mixed-status families for his honors thesis. He then went on to work in the legal field as an Immigration Paralegal at Centro Legal de la Raza and later as the Pro Bono Administrator at Berkeley Law. MAC’s interest in systems of violence ultimately led him to research settler colonialism. His current research interests focus on the Maya Diaspora in the U.S. challenging settler colonialist ideas of gender and sexuality.

During his spare time, MAC uses digital art and history as a form of healing. MAC strongly believes knowledge should be accessible to everyone and welcomes prospective PhD applicants to contact him.


  • B.A., Latin American Studies with Honors, University of California, Berkeley (2017)
  • A.A., Political Science with Honors, Diablo Valley College (2014)


  • Maya Diaspora
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Oral Histories; Qualitative Research

Selected Publications

  • Reyes, Angélica, Mario Alvarado Cifuentes, Reyna Sanchez, and Jorge Reyes Salinas. “OpEd: What DACA has allowed me to achieve for myself and my community,” Los Angeles Times, 2020.

Honors & Awards

  • Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles (2021-2025)
  • UCLA Law Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law (2018)
  • DreamSF Fellowship, Legal Services for Children, City of San Francisco-OCEIA (2017)
  • Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International & Area Studies, University of California, Berkeley (2017)
  • Dean’s Honor List, College of Letters & Sciences, University of California, Berkeley (2016-2017)
  • Berkeley Study Abroad Scholarship, University of California, Berkeley (2016)
  • Academic Honors, Diablo Valley College (2013-2014)
  • The Rossmoor Scholarship, Rossmoor Foundation (2014)
  • Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Diablo Valley College (2014)
  • Shaun Leong Outstanding Service Scholarship, Diablo Valley College (2014)
  • Milagros Ojermark Scholarship, Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society (2014)
  • PanAmerican Round Table Scholarship, PanAmarican Round Table of Contra Costa & Alameda (2013)
  • Fernandez Family Scholarship, Diablo Valley College (2013)
  • Clara Lake Scholarship, Diablo Valley College (2013)
  • Volunteer of the Year, Concord RotaCare Clinic (2013)
  • Father John Vitale Scholarship, Diablo Valley College (2012)
  • Catalina Torres Memorial Scholarship, Diablo Valley College (2012)
  • Puente Project Scholarship in Honor of Alice Kruse, Diablo Valley College (2012)
  • Academic Honors, Diablo Valley College (2011-2012)
  • Exito Escolar Scholarship, Univision14 KDTV and TeleFutura66 KFSF (2011)
  • Student Humanitarian of the Year, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors (2011)