Alisha Vásquez, Community Coordinator and BSP Instructor
Alisha Vasquez joined the Border Studies family in the fall of 2014. As a fifth-generation Tucsonan, her roots run deep in las calles de Tucson. Alisha’s political consciousness was nurtured by punk rock, which introduced her to larger sociopolitical issues. Alisha was the first person in her family to attend college. At the University of Arizona her study of ideas of identity, Chicana feminism, and neoliberalism helped her digest growing up in the Sonoran borderlands. After three years of teaching middle school humanities at Paulo Freire Freedom School, she went to San Francisco State University to obtain a master’s degree exploring Chicanx disability and neoliberal history. In 2012 she returned home because the change she wants to make is where her roots are. Since 2012, Alisha has worked in her community on positive youth development; juvenile justice reform and prison abolition; positive identity formation; partaking in community actions against border militarization; and teaching history at Pima Community College.
Rosalva Romero, Housing Coordinator and Education Assistant
Rosalva Romero is the housing coordinator for the Earlham College Border Studies Program . Originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, Rosalva has lived in Tucson for twelve years and since her arrival has been very involved in working with various community groups. She was an active organizer against the anti-immigrant Proposition 200 in Arizona, was involved in the “Mi Familia Vota” movement to activate Latino voters in Arizona, and also organized a women’s program through the Tucson Community Food Bank. After organizing health care workers for SEIU, Rosalva most recently worked with American Friends Service Committee and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women to promote labor rights among the immigrant community and especially of the rights of Women workers. She currently works for the Community Food Bank and is a personal docent to local schools, teaching them about sustainability, healthy eating and gardening. She also co-coordinates the women's empowerment group, Comité Fortín de las Flores. Rosalva has three wonderful children, and looks forward to continuing to work with Border Studies students.
Cristen Vernon, Spanish Curriculum Coordinator and BSP Instructor
Cristen Vernon is beginning her third year as Spanish instructor at the Border Studies Program. She is excited to make Spanish a more integral part of the BSP curriculum and to co-teach alongside Tucson community members. Cristen was born in the greater Phoenix are, moved to rural Michigan at ten years old, and then made her way back to the desert in Tucson, which she now calls home. Learning Spanish became her tool for politicization in a small Midwestern town and gave her the privilege to earn a living teaching after she graduated with her masters in Applied Spanish Linguistics at Michigan State University in 2008. She has been teaching Spanish in a variety of contexts since 2005 including at Midwestern universities and to folks doing solidarity work here in the borderlands. Cristen owes much of her current political education to the grassroots organization La Coalición de Derechos Humanos where she began volunteering in the summer of 2012. She is currently interested in exploring ways to bring a more language-justice focus to the program.
Geoff Boyce, Academic Coordinator and BSP Instructor
Geoff joined the Border Studies Program in January 2016 and is the Academic Coordinator for the Border Studies Program. In 2016 he earned his PhD from the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. Geoff’s research attends to the everyday geographies of immigration policing in borderlands communities in Arizona and Michigan. His writing has been featured in a number of academic journals and in online fora like Z Magazine, CounterPunch and NACLA Report on the Americas. Although born and raised in the Detroit area, Geoff has lived in Arizona since January 2001. Since that time Geoff has been involved in a number of social movement and community struggles in the southern Arizona borderlands. Between 2005 and 2013 Geoff worked as a volunteer spokesperson for the southern Arizona humanitarian organization No More Deaths. In 2016 Geoff joined the Border Studies Program following five years’ teaching experience at the University of Arizona. His intellectual interests include political geography, ethnic studies, posthumanist theory and feminist research methodologies. He is also an enthusiastic amateur chef, homebrewer and gardener.
Josue Saldivar, Spanish Instructor & BSP Staff
Josue joined the Border Studies Program in August of 2016. Josue was born in Agua Prieta, Sonora. He's an activist and a DACA Recipient from Tucson, AZ. He started his activism back in 2009 with ScholarshipsA-Z whose work focuses on providing resources to students, parents, and educators in order to make higher education accessible to all students regardless of their immigration status. He later also became a part of Mariposas Sin Fronteras in 2014 whose work focuses on providing resources and support to LGBTQ+ detainees both in and after immigration detention. Through his lived experiences in Tucson, AZ, Josue's activism keeps changing as both progress and new obtacles keep emerging in his community.
Kate Morgan-Olsen came to Tucson for the first time in 2010 to volunteer with the humanitarian-aid organization, No More Deaths (NMD). She immediately feel in love with the Sonoran desert and the amazing community of activists living, working and fighting for justice in the borderlands. In 2011 she moved to Tucson to work as a full time desert-aid worker and to serve as the Volunteer Coordinator with No More Deaths. From 2013-2016, Kate lived in Chicago, IL working for The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights connecting detained immigrant youth to legal resources and support. She returned to Tucson in late 2016 and was thrilled to accept the Program Assistant position with the Border Studies Program.
Kate holds a Masters in Social Work (MSW) and Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Washington-Seattle. She studies abroad in Quito, Ecuador and has also spent time living in Caracas, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Patty Lamson, Director of the Border Studies Program
Patty Lamson, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Global Education at Earlham College and the Director of the Border Studies Program. She and her husband developed the Border Studies Program in 1997 and she continues to be impressed by how this program has evolved and developed in amazing and meaningful ways. Today the program is more relevant than ever.
Melissa Cox, Administrative Assistant
Melissa is the Administrative Assistant at the Center for Global Education at Earlham College and the Border Studies Program. She has been with us since 2016.