Juan Cartagena headshot 2020Juan Cartagena, J.D.

Latinos and the Law, Drug Policy
President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF
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Juan Cartagena is one of the nation's leading voices on equality and nondiscrimination who has successfully used the law to effectuate systems change for the benefit of marginalized communities. Mr. Cartagena is currently the President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF a national civil rights public interest law office that represents Latinas and Latinos throughout the country and works to increase their entry into the legal profession. He is a constitutional and civil rights attorney who has vast experience litigating cases on behalf of Latino and African American communities.

Mr. Cartagena is a former Municipal Court Judge in Hoboken, NJ and is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia University School of Law, Mr. Cartagena lectures on constitutional and civil rights issues at Rutgers University in New Brunswick at the Interamerican University Law School in San Juan and in 2021 at Rutgers Law School in Newark. He has written numerous articles on constitutional and civil rights laws and has been recognized for his work on the political representation of poor and marginalized communities – especially Puerto Rican and Latino communities. His current research interests include the effects of mass imprisonment on Latino, and particularly Puerto Rican, communities, and criminal justice, policing and drug policy reform.

Darius EDarius V. Echeverría, Ph.D.

Lecturer in American History and Dean
Columbia University in the City of New York
Columbia College | Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of History | Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
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Professor Echeverría received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in History from Rutgers University and earned his Ph.D. in History from Temple University in Philadelphia. As a Lecturer in both Columbia’s Department of History and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER), he specializes in Latinx Studies, Mexican American History, Political History, Social Movements, and Sport and Society.  He also leads the Senior Project Seminar for CSER, which is designed to develop and hone the skills necessary to complete an advanced senior thesis project. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Columbia, he serves as an undergraduate academic dean. He has held his full-time dual appointments at Columbia University since 2013. Professor Echeverría has been a faculty member at Rutgers University since 2006, with the current standing of Lecturer II.

As a historian, his teaching, scholarship, and public engagement focus on inequality and social policy; cycles of agency related to constitutional rights; the American Presidency in historical perspective; the conjunction of film and television history; baseball studies; and the formation of racial, ethnic, class, national, and transnational identities. He is the author of Aztlán Arizona (University of Arizona Press, 2014), a history of the Chicano Movement in Arizona during the 1960s and 1970s. Furthermore, he has produced numerous publications, including book chapters, edited works, journal articles, essays, and digital content on not only the culture, history and life of Latinx communities, but on the broader American experience. 

Previously, he also served as a political aide to New Jersey and federal government-appointed and elected officials, including the New Jersey Governor’s Office and presidential and senatorial administrations. Dr. Echeverría holds several leadership positions in national, statewide, regional, and university organizations, advisory councils, government task forces, and editorial boards.

Darius EWilliam Garcia-Medina, M.A.

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of American Studies 
The University of Kansas

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 William Garcia Medina is a Ph.D. student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Kansas. Garcia Medina’s research currently focuses on Black ethnics and the construction and social reproduction of Black American racial identity discourse in the public humanities. In 2016, he earned an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College–Columbia University in New York City with a focus on historical literacies in elementary schools. Garcia Medina also has an MA in history from the University of Puerto Rico-Recinto de Rio Piedras. ​ 

Darius EEliezer Marcellus, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Rutgers University–Camden
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Dr. Marcellus is an Assistant Dean at Rutgers University, Camden College of Arts and Sciences and regularly teaches mini-courses for the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies (LCS), such as "Haitians in the Diaspora" for Fall 2020. Dr. Marcellus serves as a Faculty Leader for the Department of Africana Studies/Health Sciences where students volunteer at local elementary schools in Haiti, working alongside doctors and nurses to promote public health.

This upcoming Spring semester, Dr. Marcellus will be teaching an exciting new 3-credit course called, "Global Haiti: 'NGOs in Haiti'” for LCS (01:595:337:01) where students will learn about NGO’s role in international humanitarian aid and development work. 


Hyacinth Miller, M.A. 

Ph.D. Candidate, Global Urban Studies
M.A. Rutgers University, Political Science
B.A., cum laude Brooklyn College, Africana Studies and Political Science

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Professor Miller is a Teaching Instructor in the School of Arts and Sciences - Newark, African American and African Studies and Political  Science Departments. She also works as a Lecturer in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies (Livingston Campus). Her research focuses on Caribbean immigrants in the Diaspora, multiple citizenship policies, critical comparative politics and black immigrants and women of color in elected leadership in the U.S. She has conducted original research and presented conference papers on subjects including, West Indians in the US, West Indians in elected office in New Jersey and on the issue of multiple citizenship policies in the Caribbean.

She is author of the article, "Black, Foreign-Born and Elected: West Indians in New Jersey’s Political Offices," National Political Science Review, Volume 19.1.

Prior to working for Rutgers University, Professor Miller spent more than 10 years working as an analyst, lobbyist and staffer to elected officials and in government affairs. She has also served as a criminal justice program associate and fundraising professional. 

Roberto OrozcoRoberto Orozco, M.S.

Ph.D. Candidate, Higher Education Ph.D. Program
2020-2021 University and Louis Bevier Fellow
Rutgers University–New Brunswick

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Roberto C. Orozco is a first-generation PhD candidate in the Higher Education Program at Rutgers University–New Brunswick from Sioux City, Iowa. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and International Business along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Iowa State University. He then went on to obtain a Master of Science in Higher Education from Florida State University. After obtaining his master’s degree, he became the Director of the Center for Social Justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he oversaw and directed co-curricular student programming and social justice education. He was also an adjunct faculty in the Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies Department where he taught Women’s Studies Courses. Currently, he is a part-time lecturer in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies where he teaches Introduction to Latinx/a/o Studies, Latinx/a/o Student Activism in the U.S., and Latinx/a/o Gender and Sexuality. He is also a Rutgers University and Louis Bevier Fellow as he works on completing his dissertation titled, Aquí Entre Nos: Examining the Identity Development of Queer Latinx/a/o College Student Activists.

Research Area: Roberto’s research examines the identity development of queer Latinx/a/o college student activists in higher education. His dissertation is both a project of remembering the ways queer Latinx/a/o people build kinships as a liberatory praxis and an assertion of working to materialize a future of possibilities for queer Latinx/a/o people in higher education. His work is at the intersections of Jotería Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Chicana Feminism.

Fun Fact: Although he grew up in Iowa, his favorite place is by the beach, preferably those with warm waters!

Robert RRobert Ramos, M.A.

Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University

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Professor Ramos is a musicologist from the Rutgers Graduate School and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He has been the instructor of the "Music in the Caribbean" course for the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies department since 2009. Sponsored by the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, he managed and performed with the Rutgers Salsa Band in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. A drummer and percussionist, he currently performs and records in various musical styles, and teaches group and private music lessons, as well as his college classes in the Tri-state area. 


Merylou Rodriguez, Ed.M.

Ph.D. Candidate, Rutgers University
Director of Scholarships, Housing and Student Engagement

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Merylou is the Director of Scholarships, Housing, and Student Engagement at DRC. She earned her bachelor's, Ed.M, and is currently earning her Ph.D. here at Rutgers. #ScarletPride Community service and volunteering has always been a priority for her. Coming from a humble upbringing, the generosity of caring individuals helped her in times of need. Now she's in a position to help others and give back.

As an EOF alumna, she has always been a heavy advocate of diversity and college access programs and working at Douglass allows her to continue that advocacy for DRC women. She wants to provide the support students need to maximize their time here and help them make their undergrad and intentional and memorable experience. 

Kevin Champion Young photo.jpeg

Kevin C. Young, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Rutgers University, Department of History
M.A. World History, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ
Latin American, Caribbean History, Global and Comparative

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 Kevin C Young just defended his dissertation in the Department of History at Rutgers University. He has an M.A. in World History from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, having majored in Latin American/Caribbean with a minor in Global Comparative history. He returned to LCS and CLAS following a year of research in Cuba for his dissertation, Nomads, Exiles, and Slaves: The Invisible Indio in Cuba, 1750-1898, a bottom-up regional study of identities and politics in transition during the late colonial and liberal nationalist periods. A tejano raised in Mexico and Puerto Rico, Kevin is a retired Cold War naval cryptologist and stay-at-home-dad who loves teaching and is fully committed to student success. He has a chapter scheduled for publication in African Sacred Spaces (Rowman, forthcoming), and has presented at conferences in Cuba and Costa Rica inter alia.