Admins and Advisors

TRIO - Administration

Dr. Maria Elena Cruz

TRIO(SSS & McNair) | Program Director


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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 BA in English with an emphasis on Twentieth-Century Literature (from Modern to Contemporary) Anglophone and Multiculltureal 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 at Austin (2007) and a Ph.D. from the same department in 2013. Dr. Cruz loves to spend time with her family, friends and enjoys traveling.

Rika Hache

TRIO(SSS & McNair) | Analyst & Administrative Coordinator


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TRIO(McNair) - Advising

Schedule an Appointment [Current TRIO(SSS) Students Only]: Check your email for calendly link to schedule an appointment.

Taylor-Dawn Francis

TRIO(McNair) | McNair Coordinator / Academic Advisor


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Taylor-Dawn Francis is a first-generation scholar from San José, California. Inspired by the opportunity to capture, portray, and document underrepresented individuals in the literary canon, they chose to devote their studies to English. In addition to working on San José State University’s Reed Magazine, they have served as an editor for the English Department’s newsletter, and a tutor for SJSU’s 100W courses. Throughout their academic career, their research interests have focused on gender studies, queer theory, and critical race theory. In their work as both a Writing Specialist and Program Assistant for the McNair Scholars Program, they have strived to create spaces for people of color in all areas of academia. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, writing, and collaborating on short stories and novels, and critically engaging with movies and TV shows.