Loretta Ramirez

What fears or anxieties did you have about going to college?

My fears about going to college centered on being away from family. I was raised in a very close Chicanx and Apache family. My brother remained my best friend, even throughout my teen years, and I would talk with my mom for hours a day. My dad would always make me laugh, and my grandparents were present daily to encourage me. Leaving for college, I had a lot of anxieties that I would be homesick and unable to find friends who could fill the daily voids that my family would leave. I also worried that I would enter a new world that could not be easily shared with my family whenever I would return to them. In short, I feared that college would pull me apart from my family--both geographically and through shifting interests and experiences.


  • English Ph.D with Visual Studies Graduate Emphasis/UC Irvine; English M.A./UC Irvine; Art History M.A./CSULB; Creative Writing M.A./Loyola Marymount; Anthropology B.A./Stanford

I would advise first-gen students to go ahead and be "selfish." While "selfishness" tends to be viewed as a social vice, I intend no negativity in that word. What I mean by "selfish" is that you need to strip away at the way you might interiorize your consideration of other people's desires and expectations of what college should mean for you. College is absolutely a time where you need to trust your own instincts as a built-in compass to find your academic potentials. Listen to that inner guide and place yourself, your interests, and your goals as central to the college experience. If you enter college with a plan that needs to change, then change it. Don't doubt your gut instincts. Of course, there are a lot of people whose advice can help you during this time, and it's important to reach out to advisors of a multitude of perspectives and backgrounds. But after collecting advice, remember that you are the most important person in this college experience. I use the word "selfish" to be blunt and absolute in this advice. You re allowed to place the heaviest value on your own intuition as you map out your future in college and acquire the necessary skills to reach that future. You know yourself best. Trust in that!

I love to travel. For sixteen weeks, I'm 100% about my teaching and my students. But as soon as final exams are graded, I run off for adventures. My favorite city is New Orleans. My favorite food is churros with chocolate in Madrid. My favorite activity is getting lost in winding medieval streets in Assisi, Italy. My favorite view is sunrise on a beach. Home activities center on my little 14-month dog who is a chihuahua-terrier mix. His name is Peter Pinto Bean.

  1. My dog
  2. iPhone
  3. Popcorn popper

I have a goal to hike volcanos. I began this project right before Covid hit. I started with a tourist-friendly volcano. I climbed Mt. Vesuvius--the volcano that destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in Italy. I'm currently trying to get back into hiking condition so I can continue my volcano-climbing project.

My research includes historical cultural rhetorics, art history, literature, writing, decolonial theory, archival methodologies, & critical composition pedagogy. My first book, The Wound & the Stitch: A Genealogy of the Female Body from Medieval Iberia to SoCal Chicanx Art, will be published by Penn State University Press in Spring 2024. I am currently developing my second book, Get Back to Where You Once Belonged: A Chicana-Apache Professor's Autoethnography on Racial & Rhetorical Belongings. I teach CHLS 104B: Composition II, CHLS 119: Intro to Racial & Ethnic Studies, CHLS 360: Chicana/o & Latina/o Rhetoric, CHLS 370: Chicana/o Latina/o Literature, CHLS 411/511: Archival Quest: Reclaiming Latinx Rhetoric, CHLS 412A/512A: Centralizing Latinx Narratives: Seminar in Writing Self--Autoethnography, CHLS 420: Chicano Heritage in Arts of Southwest, and WGSS 442: Sexing Chicana Literature