Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 2021 Issue »

    Cosecha Voices

    Migrant Farmworker Students, Pedagogy, Voice, and Self-Determination

    In this article, Stephanie Alvarez, José L. Martínez, Annabel Salamanca, Erika Salamanca, and Roberto C. Reyna share the impacts of Cosecha Voices, a pedagogical approach used with college students from migrant farmworker backgrounds at one of the largest Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the United States. They argue that Cosecha Voices affirms, validates, and humanizes the migrant farmworker experience and can help students not only unpack and document their migrant farmworker experiences but also strengthen their sense of self empowerment. Utilizing testimonio, students are able to affirm and find strength in their migrant farmworker lifestyle that helps support them through their college journey. This Voices: Reflective Accounts of Education essay centers the voices of former program participants in its analysis of program impact and offers a program description, personal reflections from participants, and future considerations for similar research.

    Click here to access this article.
    Stephanie Alvarez is an associate professor of Mexican American Studies and the director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. As a professor, she has been instrumental in the implementation of testimonio as a signature pedagogy and creating service-learning courses for students to engage with the community that have resulted in oral histories, murals in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute in San Juan, Texas, as well as multiple collaborations with Pharr San Juan Alamo Independent School District, including a Día de los Muertos Altar Competition. She also helps organize Mexican American Studies workshops for teachers and administrators and has been a volunteer coach for more than twenty youth teams. She is the first ever director of Mexican American Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas–Pan American and has assisted more than a dozen Latinx students in reaching their goal of gaining entrance to a PhD program. Alvarez is the author of multiple essays on the intersection of education, gender, language, identity, and culture. Her work is motivated by her lived experiences as a Latina student, educator, and mother of three. She has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching as the US Professor of the Year, by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education as the Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Ed, and by the University of Texas System Board of Regents with the Outstanding Teaching Award.

    José L. Martínez is the coordinator of the High School Equivalency Program at South Texas College, which helps migrant and seasonal farmworkers obtain their GEDs. He has held professional and administrative positions at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas–Pan American and has worked in migrant education programs in Michigan, Texas, and California. Martínez’s research interests include the higher education experiences of Chicanx and Latinx students, college transitions of Chicanx and Latinx students, and the experiences of migrant farmworkers in the US. He earned his PhD from Michigan State University in Chicano/Latino studies, and his dissertation centers on how migrant college students make sense of their family responsibilities while transitioning to college.

    Annabel Salamanca earned an MA in Mexican American studies from San José State University and a BA in business and minor in Spanish from the University of Texas–Pan American. She has taught sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade English as a second language classes at IDEA Public Schools in Mission, Texas, and for three years worked in turnaround schools at both the middle and high school levels, focusing on teaching English to first-year immigrant students. The majority of her students demonstrated two years’ worth of growth by the end of the academic school year. Prior to her work in public schools, Salamanca worked with Title IV programs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she worked with underrepresented high school students and supported them in the process of enrolling in institutions of higher education. Currently, Salamanca is taking a break to raise her two-year-old daughter full time.

    Erika Salamanca holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas–Pan American. She is a cement technical engineer at Halliburton Energy Services in Victoria, Texas. For four years she has contributed to job designing and field execution within the oil industry. Prior to taking a full-time engineering position, she
    was a Scholar Intern for the National Science Foundation, where she worked with the Department of Engineering in Education to streamline a review process in the Engineering Research Centers. She was also selected to be a representative of Women in STEM during an informational conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC. She credits Cosecha Voices, in large part, for her success in STEM, as very few Latinas are engaged and successful in engineering in college, and even fewer are in the engineering field.

    Roberto C. Reyna is a San José State University alumnus who earned his MA in Mexican American studies with an emphasis on education. His graduate research focused on the contributing factors that facilitate higher education attainment for migrant farmworkers and how community building among migrant farmworker university students provides an avenue for successful completion of a higher education. After completing his master’s degree, Reyna worked with secondary students to provide assistance with navigating the university admission process before becoming a middle school educator working with recent immigrants as an English as a second language reading teacher.
  2. Fall 2021 Issue


    “What’s Going to Happen to Us?”
    Cultivating Partnerships with Immigrant Families in an Adverse Political Climate

    Book Notes

    Border Thinking
    Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepúlveda III

    Educating for Durable Solutions
    Christine Monaghan

    Schooling for Critical Consciousness
    Scott Seider and Daren Graves

    Charter School City
    Douglas N. Harris

    The Young Crusaders
    V. P. Franklin

    The Last Negroes at Harvard
    Kent Garrett and Jeanne Ellsworth