Adriann Wycoff, Ph.D., is a professor of Chicana/o Studies and holds a courtesy appointment as an associate professor of Women’s Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Apart from teaching she is also Director of the MSU Denver Family Literacy Program and Co-Principal Investigator of the College Assistance Migrant Program. She has more than thirty years’ experience in community-based, non-traditional education. Her responsibilities have included teaching, program administration, curriculum development, grant writing, community outreach and public relations. Wycoff holds a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, also in Spanish.
Department: Chicana/o Studies
Christina Sigala is an affiliate professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has been a part-time Social Worker at Annunciation Catholic School in Five Points in Denver, CO, an institution that has been there for over 120 years. She has been a chair of the Mother Xavier Peace Day event at Annunciation.
Her academic history began on the Auraria campus at the Community College of Denver in 1992 and later transferred to MSU Denver to completed a degree in Human Services in 1996. From 1996 to 2002, Sigala completed a joint-Master’s Degree with the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work, and the Iliff School of Theology (Concentration and Justice and Peace Studies).
Renee Ruderman teaches the Art and Craft of Writing, poetry and creative nonfiction writing workshops, poetry and memoir writing studios and the Senior Experience course, Advanced Writing. She has been a full-time faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver for over 30 years.
Ruderman has two books published: “Poems from the Room Below” and “Certain Losses,” a chapbook. Some of her award-winning poetry may be found in the Bellingham Review, I-70 Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and the Raleigh Review.
Jose Quintana, M.A., is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He teaches Introduction to Chicano Studies as well as Survey of Chicana/o Literature. Quintana’s areas of research encompass all things cultural based, especially folklore that has been deconstructed and reinterpreted. He believes in using cultural elements such as language, art, music and food to help students connect with the personal aspects of his classes.
Adriana Nieto, Ph.D., is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has been with the university for over 15 years, first starting out as an adjunct professor and then becoming a full-time faculty member in 2009. Her teaching and research interests include Latina spiritualities and practices; women of color feminisms; mental health among Xicanas in early 20th Century New Mexico; Chicana protestants in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands; oral history and water in the ‘West’, with special interest in acequia culture and practices in southern Colorado.
Nieto received her Ph.D. in religious and theological studies form the University of Denver Iliff School of Theology, her master’s in Latin American studies with a focus on gender studies and borderland history from the University of New Mexico and her bachelor’s in Latin American and women studies also from the University of New Mexico.
Chalane E. Lechuga, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her concentrations are in race/ethnicity and education, with an emphasis in Latina/o sociology.
Lechuga’s research examines the racial identities of Latina/o high school students and the relationship between racial identity and academic achievement. Currently, she is working with a local public-school district to examine school discipline and racial disparities in exclusionary practices. Further up the educational pipeline, she researches the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty in higher education. Lechuga has over 19 years of experience conducting program evaluation and assessment and leads the comprehensive assessment of departmental student learning outcomes.
Lechuga received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of New Mexico, a master’s of science in sociology from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in English and ethnic studies (Chicana/o studies and black studies) from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Renee Fajardo, Ph.D., is the coordinator of Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has been the program director of JTOH since 2010, which places university students of color into local high schools and middle schools as mentors. In addition, she has collaborated with community members and MSU Denver students on several projects, including the Return of the Corn Mothers with master photographer Todd Pierson and the Aurora Fox Cultural Concerts Series with the Colorado Folk Arts Council, which allows school children in Denver the opportunity to attend free cultural concerts once a month during the school year.
Fajardo has extensive knowledge of cultural, ceremonial and community traditions of numerous indigenous people. Her own Chicana/Native American (Picuris Pueblo) and European roots allow her to be sensitive to the many nuances that face today’s students of color. She has co-authored the numerous books in the Tummy Tale series, such as “Holy Mole Guacamole,” that preserve family food traditions of Colorado. She has also written hundreds of articles about Hispanic artist, culture and historic insights. Fajardo is a Denver native and graduate of the University of Nebraska.
Ramon Del Castillo is a retired professor of the Chiana/or Studies Department. He taught at Metropolitan State University of Denver from 35 years. Del Castillo’s publications include “Institutionalizing Curanderismo in Colorado’s Community Mental Health System,” “Institutionalizing Curanderismo into a Mainstream Healing System: Boundary Spanners and Innovation in Action” and “The Life History of Diana Velazquez: La Curandera Total.”
As past Chair of the Masters Program in Nonprofit Program at Regis University (1999-2005), he directed educational services and program development for the department and taught classes in the history of the nonprofit sector, leadership, ethics, managing diversity in organizations and the capstone project. He traveled to Mexico for 5 years, developing collaborative bi-national curricula between the nonprofit and civil society sectors through the “Making Connections in Mexico Program,” in collaboration with ITESO Jesuit University, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Del Castillo possess a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Sociology and Mexican American Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. He obtained master’s degrees are in Social Science and Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the same university. His master’s research was on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Chicano Viet Nam Veterans and his doctoral dissertation, examined Curanderismo, a traditional approach to holistic and spiritual healing, using theories of innovation to critique the institutionalization process within a publicly funded mental health agency.