From Here to There: Program helps underrepresented students advance their academic career

Author: Erin Blasko

Fromheretothere Header 1200

The daughter of working class parents of Mexican descent, Camille Suárez, a 2013 Arts & Letters graduate, arrived in South Bend knowing she wanted to do something with “ideas and reading and writing.”

“But being I was a first-generation college student, I didn’t really know what a Ph.D. was and what graduate school meant and how to even apply to graduate school,” the Los Angeles native said.

Even so, after graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in honors history and a minor in Latino studies, Suárez applied to the University of Pennsylvania. She was accepted, and earned her Ph.D. from there in 2019. Her dissertation, “How the West Was Won: Race, Citizenship, and the Colonial Roots of California, 1849-1979,” explored California statehood as a formative process with long-lasting consequences for California and U.S. society, American imperialism in the Pacific and U.S. immigration policy in the late-19th and 20th centuries.

Today, Suárez is a tenure-track professor of 19th Century U.S. History at California State University Los Angeles, in her native California. She spent the 2019-20 academic year teaching the same subject on a tenure track at Valparaiso University.

Suárez credits Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), and in particular the Building Bridges program, for providing her with the intellectual tools and knowledge to confidently pursue a career in higher education.

To read the story, click here.

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on September 16, 2020.