CWU News

Nationally known Latinx professor, author to visit CWU this month

One of the most influential figures in the Latinx higher education community will be visiting Central Washington University later this month.

Daisy Verduzco Reyes, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut’s El Instituto: Institute of Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, is scheduled to be in Ellensburg from October 22-25, participating in a series of workshops and panel discussions.

Verduzco Reyes is best known for her 2018 book, “Learning to be Latino: How Colleges Shape Identity Politics,” in which she explores how Latinx college students’ identities and experiences are shaped by their interactions with others on campus and in their community.

The term “Latinx” refers to a person of Latin American origin or descent, and is used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina.

CWU biological sciences professor Dan Beck, who is helping coordinate Verduzco Reyes’ visit, believes hosting a hands-on, community-focused event like this has the power to “empower, encourage, and inspire” students and others in the community.

“Our overall goal for bringing Dr. Reyes to CWU is to connect with our Latinx community and create more opportunities for student success,” said Beck, the director of El Centro Latinx for Latino and Latin American Studies.

“Her experience and knowledge will also help our staff, faculty, and administration provide better support for Latinx students. We want to have an honest conversation, and we hope this event brings people together.”

Verduzco Reyes is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and is a first-generation college graduate. She grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California-Santa Barbara and her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California-Irvine.

Her research is primarily focused on how race and ethnicity are constructed and mobilized within institutions, with a specific interest on sites critical for social mobility, such as colleges and universities.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to engage with our students, and we think it’s going to be very powerful,” said Abby Chien, director of the CWU Diversity and Equity Center (DEC).

Verduzco Reyes’ first scheduled event is an informal, students-only presentation at the DEC in Black Hall from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 23. Later that day, she will give a public presentation in Samuelson Hall, room 104, from 5:30-7 p.m. 

All of Verduzco Reyes’ public appearances are open to anyone who would like to attend. No invitation or RSVP is required.

Two students-only workshops are scheduled for Thursday, October 24, at the DEC — one at 10 a.m., the other at 1:30 p.m. — followed by a panel discussion on Latinx issues from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Brooks Library commons. The panel will feature CWU students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Verduzco Reyes will sign books from 4:30-5 p.m. at the library and then participate in the Thursday Thinks gathering at the Iron Horse Brewpub from 7-8 p.m. The third day of her visit will feature a drop-in question-and-answer session for faculty, staff, and students from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the DEC.

“Among the things we’re hoping to learn from Dr. Reyes are how we can best support and empower our Latinx students,” Beck said. “We also want to celebrate Latinx culture and identity, and learn to embrace diversity within our Latinx community.”

Other goals for the three-day forum are:

• Learn ways to support Latinx students. This not only supports our Latinx community, but also assists in supporting additional underrepresented students on campus from multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds.

• Build more bridges and richer connections between Latinx and non-Latinx students, staff, and community members.

• Help everyone at CWU to better appreciate the strength of the Latinx community and the challenges they face.

Learn more about Verduzco Reyes and her work at

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,