Saskias Casanova
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Affiliations Education Department, Latin American & Latino Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas, Oakes College
  • Phone
    (831) 459-2532
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 2, Room 381
    • Room 315/317 (Lab)
  • Office Hours Monday, 12-1 pm, Room 381 (SS2) or by appointment via zoom - email for info.
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High St
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Psychology, Education, Social Psychology, Immigration, Personal and Social Identities, Latin American and Latino Studies, Youth Studies, Discrimination and Inequality, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Child and Adolescent Development
  • Courses PSYC 2: Introduction to Psychological Statistics, PSYC 144: Latinx Psychology, PSYC 159I: Psychology of Immigration, PSYC 182: Qualitative Methods, PSYC 213: Special Topics in Social Psychology, PSYC 231: Research in Social Psychology Seminar
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers Valeria Jacqueline Alonso Blanco, Gloriana Lopez, Betsy Aracely Paredes Centeno

Summary of Expertise

Saskias Casanova uses an interdisciplinary, intersectional, and contextual approach to examine how Black, Latine, Indigenous, and immigrant-origin students’ educational experiences influence their psychological processes and learning. She examines 1) these students’ experiences with structural and interpersonal stigmatization and discrimination, 2) the influence multiple contexts (e.g., school, home, community, etc.) have on students’ learning and identity development, and 2) the community and familial strengths these students bring to educational contexts. As director of the Migration, Identity, and Education Lab (MIEL), she collaborates with graduate and undergraduate students in community-engaged research. She co-produces knowledge with community partners to inform curriculum and student programming. Saskias recently received a Spencer Foundation Small Grant as co-PI to conduct a mixed-method study examining how Black Muslim college students sustain joy, strength, and resistance in the face of interlocking systems of oppression. She is also co-PI for UCSC’s Hispanic Serving Institution Cultivamos Excelencia grant to create a transfer-receptive culture for Latine and other transfer students of color. Saskias is a UCSC Campus+Community Faculty Fellow. 

Research Interests


Social identities; intersectionality; stigmatization; resistance; belonging; educational equity; strengths-based learning for Indigenous Latinx, immigrant-origin, and minoritized students; familial and community contexts of learning; microaggressions and campus climate; institutional transfer receptivity; ethnographic, case study, and critical methodologies (e.g., testimonio); participatory action research; mixed methods research 

Biography, Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University

Ph.D., Education - Psychological Sciences, Stanford University

M.A., Psychology, Stanford University

B.A., Psychology & Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity w/ Honors, Stanford University

Honors, Awards and Grants


Recent Awards & Honors

2023-2026 Gary Licker Memorial Chairship, Cowell College, UC Santa Cruz

2022-2023 Recipient, Excellence in Teaching Award, Committee on Teaching, Academic Senate, UC Santa Cruz

2021-2022 Recipient, Golden Apple Outstanding Teaching Award, Division of Social Sciences, UC Santa Cruz 

Recent Grants

Herzon, C. (PI, UCSC), Casanova, S. (Co-PI). Cultivamos Excelencia Project. Title V, Part A: Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. (2022-2027)

McGuire, K. (P.I., Arizona State University), Casanova, S. (Co-PI), Rahman, S. (Co-PI, CSU Long Beach). Black Muslim Worldmaking: Race, Religion, and Gender in the Lives of Black Muslim College Students, Spencer Small Research Grant, Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL (2022-2024)

Casanova, S. (PI), Radoff, S. (Co-PI), Herzon, C. (Co-PI), & Alonso Blanco, V.J. (Co-PI). Cultivating the Transfer Landscape: Assessing Racial Equity for Community College Transfers. Office of Research Seed Funding for Early-Stage Initiatives, UC Santa Cruz (2022-2023)

Casanova, S. (PI), Radoff, S. (Co-PI), Herzon, C. (Co-PI), & Alonso Blanco, V.J. (Co-PI). Developing a Transfer Receptive Culture to Attain Transfer Racial Equity at a Hispanic Serving Research Institution. Sprout Grant, Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation Program, UC Santa Cruz (2022-2023) 


Selected Publications



Teaching Interests

Latinx Psychology; Cultural Psychology; Psychology of Immigration; Intersectionality in Social Psychology; Qualitative Research Methods; Introduction to Psychological Statistics; Inequality and Diversity in Education; Transborder Culture; Identity Development and Learning; Group Dynamics