Nelly Cruz

Higher Education Administration & Policy
University of California, Riverside

Nelly Cruz was born to Oaxacan parents from a rural pueblo in the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Although born and raised in California, she is proud of her Mixtec heritage. As a first-generation college student, Nelly obtained two bachelor's degrees in sociology and public policy, followed by a master's degree in higher education administration and policy. Presently, she is a scholar-practitioner at the University of California, Riverside, a Hispanic-Serving Institution that sits on the lands of the original land caretakers, the Cahuilla, Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano peoples. Her dissertation employs indigenous research methodologies to explore the college decision-making process for Indigenous Oaxacan students to promote equitable pathways to college in California. A current University Innovation Alliance Fellow, Nelly is committed to transforming higher education through student success initiatives to address equity gaps for historically marginalized student populations.