CIBS Faculty Research Profiles

The work of CIBS affiliated faculty across UTEP will be featured on this page.  Research statements will be cycled periodically to feature a range of faculty affiliates.  Hence, at any given time, this is just a selection of relevant faculty activities.  The full list of faculty affiliates can be found on this page:  Requests for listings here can be directed to

College of Business

Thomas Fullerton 
Current research interests for Tom Fullerton (Department of Economics and Finance) include border business cycles and border economic change.  He directs the Border Research Modeling Project

Fernando Jimenez-Arevalo
In the Department of Marketing and Management, Fernando Jimenez-Arevalo’s interests are the investigation of consumption patterns of bicultural consumers using psychological and sociological approaches such as social identity theory, frame switching, and acculturation.  In addition, he is interested in understanding the effects of crime and violence on consumption patterns and market dynamics in Latin America.

College of Education

In the Department of Teacher Education, Amy Bach employs anthropological methods to study literacy, the socio-cultural contexts in which it is practiced, and the meanings individuals and communities ascribe onto their engagements with different kinds of texts.  As a Faculty Fellow with the Greater Texas Foundation, Dr. Bach is conducting an ethnographic study exploring how state testing policies shape the educational experiences of English Language Learners on the U.S./Mexico border.

Christina Convertino
As an educational anthropologist, Christina Convertino (Department of Teacher Education) uses an interdisciplinary approach drawing from social geography, anthropology of policy and cultural studies to explore the social contexts of learning and education, educational equity and identity. Her current ethnographic and qualitative research uses sociocultural theory and anthropological perspectives to examine transborder educational issues. 

College of Engineering

W. Shane Walker
Shane Walker, in the Department of Civil Engineering, teaches water and wastewater treatment, and researches low-cost point-of-use drinking water treatment systems for households in colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Point-of-use (POU) treatment systems may be hollow-fiber microfiltration (MF) or ultrafiltration (UF) treatment of freshwater, or reverse osmosis (RO) treatment of brackish groundwater.

College of Health Sciences 

Oralia Loza
In Public Health Sciences, Oralia Loza applies analytical skills to serve the underrepresented minorities and marginalized populations on the U.S.-Mexico border and beyond, with a focus on substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections.  Her recent work includes: 
focuses on understanding and documenting the risks behaviors for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and drug use initiation among high-risk, marginalized, and vulnerable populations, including transgender women, migrants, and men who have sex with men in on the U.S.-Mexico border region. My long-term research goal is to develop or adapt appropriate prevention strategies and interventions to the people in the region, in collaboration with community partners.

Mark Lusk
In Social Work, Mark Lusk works with refugees and migrants from Mexico and Central America. He looks at trauma and resilience among migrants. 

College of Liberal Arts

Zita Arocha or 575-642-2124.
Zita Arocha is a bilingual journalist and associate professor of practice in the Communication Department at UTEP with expertise in innovation and diversity in News Media,  journalism writing and research about immigration, Latino issues and U.S. changing demographics. She is director of, a bilingual news website about border life and issues of significance to U.S. Latinos. She teaches multimedia journalism in the UTEP Department of Communication, and is a co-teacher of the Borderzine teaching newsroom.  

Kathleen (Kathy) Staudt 
Kathy Staudt teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in border politics, in Political Science.  Among many distinguished books on border issues, her most recent book is Courage, Resistance, and Women in Ciudad Juárez: Challenges to Militarization with coauthor Zulma Y. Méndez (University of Texas Press, 2015).     Since 2013, she is collaborating with Bruno Dupeyron (University of Regina) in an eight-site study of cross-border governance in North America and Europe, with her focus on business stakeholders.  In coordination with colleagues at Rice University, she has recently begun research on local governance at the US-Mexico border.  Staudt serves on the Association of Borderlands Studies Board of Directors.       

Patrick Iber
Patrick Iber, in the History Department, is the author of Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America (Harvard University Press 2015). YThis book offers new interpretations of the major international cultural “front” groups of Latin America’s Cold War: the World Peace Council, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and the Casa de las Américas.  In general, his research interests include the politics of culture and intellectuals, global social democracy, poverty, imperialism, and the added value of transnational approaches to history.
Sandra Garabano          
Dr. Garabano, in Languages and Linguistics (Spanish) currently is working on The Limits of the Nation:  Territory, Race and Political Imagination in Patagonia and the Araucanía,  I analyze  memoirs, travel diaries, and literary texts produced on the edges of European expansionism and the modern liberal state.  I explore projects carried out in Argentinean Patagonia and the Chilean Araucanía and look at the alliances between displaced indigenous groups and Welsh settlers in an attempt to preserve language and cultural and political practices imposed by the new world economic and political order.  My research wants to call attention to these writers because their texts help us to think about a unique organization of the territory and original forms political autonomy in sharp contrast with imperial and state notions of political and territorial sovereignty. While nineteenth centuries liberal intellectuals consolidated the image of the Indian as an obstacle of progress and promoted immigration as a bio-political tool to create a modern and a disciplined version of the people required by modernization, these writings challenged the experience of Patagonian space and its people as the border of the civilized world and reconfigure other possible political subjectivities and geographical limits for the nation.  They also reveal a social dynamics that is absent from 19th century canonical works such as Sarmiento's Facundo in which the theory of the innate inferiority of the Amerindians is widely accepted.

School of Nursing

Hector Olvera
The overarching focus of his research is on environmental health and health disparities. His current research aims at disentangling the epigenetic proceses through which poverty gets under the skin and increases the susceptibility to environmental impacts. This research is directly relevant to the border community that endures high poverty rates and increased environmental exposures. 

College of Science

Wen-Yee Lee
Wen-Yee Lee’s (Department of Chemistry) research is focused on analytical and environmental chemistry with an emphasis on applying innovative interdisciplinary approaches to address major issues that affect the border region.  Taking advantage of its bi-national location, Dr. Lee has been conducting research on (1) the study of persistent organic pesticides in the border region; (2) the investigation of wastewater organic contaminants; (3) phytoremediation of organic pollutants using desert plants; and (4) the impact of organic pollutants on health.     

Philip Goodell
Phil Goodell, in Geosciences, has three current focuses: (1) The Center for Entrepreneurial Geosciences ; (2) mineral resource development in Chihuahua, MX; and (3) the BorderPlex STEM education center.


William L. Hargrove, Director, Center for Environmental Resource Management (CERM)
Expertise:  Water resources management, health impact assessment, stakeholder engagement and participatory research. Current projects:  1) Sustainable water resources for irrigated agriculture in a desert river basin facing climate change and competing demands, funded by USDA, includes transboundary water management in the Paso del Norte region (Las Cruces, NM, El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and surrounding area) ; 2) Health impact assessment program grant:  Building capacity on the border to conduct health impact assessment; research and training program focused on health impact assessment associated with environmental impacts of border infrastructure projects in water, sanitation, and public transportation, funded by Health Impact Project (Pew Charitable Trusts and Robert Woods Johnson Foundation); and 3) Buen Ambiente-Buena Salud: Air Quality on the Border Training Project, development and implementation of a Grade 3-12 curriculum for schools and internships for university students in air quality, funded by USEPA.  

Isela Ocegueda
Dr. Isela Ocegueda’s academic background is in Latin American and Latina/o literature.  Her particular interest is on contemporary Latina and Mexican women’s literature, with a focus on how the element of memory in literature allows for critical readings of space, subjectivity and history as contested and constructed concepts.  Dr. Ocegueda currently acts as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, overseeing professional development and student support.  She is therefore also interested in topics around graduate student success, and in particular initiatives that focus on graduate writing support and effective mentoring, especially for Latina/o doctoral students.