McNair Program Staff
Dr. Maria E. Cruz, Director
Dr. Maria Elena Cruz is a descendant of the Huichol (Wixaritari ) people of Mexico, and was born in Northern California. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college and the first to receive her Ph.D. She received her B.A. in English with an emphasis on Twentieth Century Literature (from Modern to Contemporary ) Anglophone and Multicultural Studies from U.C. Berkeley (2004). Dr. Cruz is also proud to be a McNair Scholar Alumnus from U.C. Berkeley. She completed her Masters in Social Cultural Anthropology at the University of Texas Austin (2007) and a Ph.D. from the same department in 2013. Currently, Dr. Cruz is working on Wixarika art,and the power of healing through art and testimonio.
Martha is a first generation student and native born San Jose, Californian. Her love of the sciences inspired her decision to major in STEM. She graduated from SJSU with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Martha is a wonderful new addition to the office and has reorganized the entire program. She is awesome and we are thankful for her!