Research Ambassadors

Alexa Aburto - UROC Research Ambassador

Alexa Aburto is originally from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Born to hardworking and kind Mexican immigrants, she is a first generation college student. As a junior majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing, she is an advocate for the influential power of self-expression through the written word. Growing up with a special needs brother, she is deeply passionate about inclusion politics, specifically, disability rights, both inside and outside the classroom. As a self-proclaimed and proud Latina feminist, Alexa’s research focuses on the personal and social effects anti-abortion policies have against the female body, both literally and metaphorically. Other research interests include: examining the consumption of alcohol by Latin American men through a medical/biological anthropological lens; disability studies and cultural studies.

Istifaa Ahmed - UROC Co-Director (Humanities and Social Science)

Istifaa Ahmed is a Bengali, critical race feminist. She's lived most of her life in LA, with her mom and sister, who also goes to Cal (she's trying very hard not to smother her). They're her two favorite people in the world. Her greatest inspiration is her mother. Istifaa wishes to one day be at least half the fiercely independent, strong and intersectional woman her mother is and has been.

Istifaa double majors in Ethnic Studies and Gender and Women's Studies, and minors in Global Poverty and Practice. Traditionally, she is attached to a legacy that commits sexual violence and erasure against her body. In her research, Istifaa analyzes sexual violence through women of color performance art. She centers the body as a site of political violence and markings that scars us all. Her research focuses on the flesh as a site of political violence indicative of the sociopolitical conditions that permit the literal, intimate markings and brandings on targeted bodies. In pursuit of sharpening her internal and external identities, Istifaa strongly engages in issues of art, academia and sexual exploitation, all of which she was subject, actor and agent. 

Feel free to reach out to Istifaa as a resource! She's happy to get to know you, help develop your research interests or proposals and methodologies, integrate modes of decolonization into your research, apply for research programs and grants, and help find/create platforms to apply and share your research. She can meet individually and offer group workshops.