Juan Mora, PhD, earned his BA in History and Latina/Latino Studies in 2013. He arrived at UIUC as an undergraduate majoring in History. For his first two years at Illinois, he struggled to find the specific areas of studying history that could encourage him to succeed. As he explained, “It was when I combined Latina/o Studies with History that I was able to thrive.” Courses with Dr. Adrian Burgos Jr. and Dr. Mireya Loza, like Caribbean Latina/o Migration and Latino Social Movements, respectively, were instrumental to his development as a student and shaped his decision to eventually major in Latina/Latino Studies in addition to History. Regarding his decision to double major, he noted, “UIUC has benefitted immensely from having several Latina/o/x History faculty members in History and LLS throughout the past 15+ years, so that made these two degrees an ideal combination for me.” He completed his senior thesis in History and LLS on the Young Lords Organization.
Dr. Mora began pursuing a PhD in History in Fall 2014 at UIUC, working with Prof. Burgos as his PhD advisor. As a graduate student his research remained focus on Latinx history. He explained, “I graduated with my PhD in 2021 after defending my dissertation on the history of Mexican, Mexican American, and Puerto Rican migrant farmworkers in the Midwest throughout the 20th century.” After earning his PhD, he spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) at Indiana University, Bloomington and as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University.
Currently, Dr. Mora is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Latino Studies Program at Indiana University. He teaches undergraduate courses like “American Borderlands,” “The History of the Latinx Midwest,” “Migrants, Farmworkers, and Food Justice,” and the graduate seminar, “Beyond the Nation: Global, Transnational, and Borderlands Histories.” Importantly, he articulated that “To some extent, all of these classes are based on my training that was rooted in Latina/o Studies and History. The enthusiasm that I developed for these topics as an undergraduate student is something that I hope to cultivate in the students that I teach now.”
Lastly, Dr. Mora expressed how his “experiences with LLS modeled how to think critically about the world and how to center the needs of students and the broader community. Alicia Rodriguez and M. Laura Castañeda championed LLS students and I’ll forever be grateful for the support and friendship that they offered while I was at Illinois.”