Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, Ph.D.

2019 Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, Ph.D.

San José State University
Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies

The tenacity, perseverance, humility, dignity and grace of immigrant students inspire me daily. Their example of lived commitment and struggle guide how I live out my profession.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Advocates to institutionalize services, support and resources for immigrant students, including the development of San José State’s UndocuSpartan Resource Center in 2018
  • Ford Foundation grant recipient (2003-2006) for a project to explore services for binational students who immigrate to the U.S. and migrate back to their home regions
  • Since 2009, has worked with the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association to fund scholarships for undocumented students, including the establishment of full-semester scholarships
  • Led the development of a new bachelor’s degree in Mexican American Studies
  • Mentored five doctoral students through the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP), two of whom are now CSU faculty

For more than two decades, Chicana and Chicano Studies professor Julia E. Curry Rodríguez, Ph.D., has dedicated herself to the success of undocumented students, diligently working to improve their access to a CSU education. 

As a first-generation immigrant herself, Dr. Curry's fundraising and advocacy has garnered over $200,000 to support undocumented students with the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association.

“I have worked with thousands of students—many of whom are first-generation, immigrants or of immigrant origin,” says Curry. “Their tenacity, perseverance, humility, dignity and grace inspire me daily. Their example of lived commitment and struggle guide how I live out my profession.”

In 2003, Curry received a grant from the Ford Foundation to document services for binational students who immigrate to the U.S. and migrate back to their home regions in Mexico. And in May 2016, she helped to find better ways to serve undocumented students at SJSU. This work led to the March 2018 opening of the SJSU UndocuSpartan Resource Center. (The work for these institutional services at SJSU began with support of former provost Andy Feinstein in 2013.)

Curry continues to coordinate with the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies to address legal challenges such as the Supreme Court DACA/DAPA case and the inclusion of a citizenship requirement in the 2020 Census, and organizes public symposia covering policies related to in-state tuition and the California Dream Act.

A faculty member at SJSU since 2000, Curry serves on various committees and holds multiple advising roles, including advisor to the Student Advocates for Higher Education, an undocumented-student support group founded in 2003, and the Chicano Graduate Council. She was also named SJSU Distinguished Service Professor in 2013-14.

Curry received her Ph.D. and master’s in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and her bachelor’s in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.