Regional History Project
Teaching Writing and Rewriting Reality: An Oral History with Scholar-Activist Yolanda Venegas
- Author(s): Sherwood, Yvonne
- Reti, Irene H
- Venegas, Yolanda
- et al.
UCSC now serves one of the largest populations of undocumented students at any college in the United States. This commitment dates back at least ten years, to the activist efforts of a group of undocumented students calling themselves Students Informing Now [SIN], who through their activism first made their challenges known to the campus community and beyond. There are many staff and faculty at UCSC who were inspired by SIN and have carried on SIN’s legacy. Dr. Yolanda Venegas, lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, is one of those people.
Dr. Yolanda Venegas was born and raised in the wetlands of Tijuana, Mexico, on the U.S.-Mexico border. She earned her B.A. in Third World Studies from UC San Diego in 1992 and a PhD in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 2004. After earning her PhD, Yvenegas realized that her true passion was teaching writing; hence she returned to college to earn an MA from San Francisco in Teaching Composition in 2013 and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from San Francisco State in 2012.
From 2006 to 2009, Venegas taught writing for UC Santa Cruz’s Educational Opportunity Program [EOP’s] Faculty Mentor Program. In 2010, she became EOP’s Faculty Mentor Program Director, Pre-graduate Programs Coordinator and AB540 Student Campus Resource. In that position, she developed pre-graduate programs aimed at increasing diversity in higher education. She designed, developed, and implemented an EOP Scholarship Class; the AB540 Resource Guide, the AB540 Slug website, and AB540 training agenda and presentations to educate UCSC staff and the campuswide community. Venegas has also taught and continues to teach for UCSC’s Writing Program and the Merrill College core course. The themes of her courses focus on immigration, undocumented students, Chicano/a identity, and feminism. She has also taught at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Santa Clara University, and San Francisco State, where she developed her course Redefining America: Undocumented Students in Higher Education.