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Senator Spotlight September 2020


This Month's Senator Spotlight is on Kristina Lopez

What unit do you represent?  

The School of Social Work (Downtown Phoenix)

How many years have you served in the Senate? 

This is my third year as a Senator

How many years have you been employed at ASU?

I have been at ASU for 4 years.

What other institutions have you taught at before coming to ASU?

Prior to joining ASU I was an Assistant Professor at California State University Long Beach (CSULB)  in the Social Work department for 3 years. Before then I taught in the Psychology department at the University of Michigan during my PhD program. 

What is your research and/or creative activities focus? 

In my work I research disparities in early diagnosis and subsequent intervention services among underserved children with special healthcare needs and families including low-income, limited-education and racial/ethnic minorities with a specialization in Latinx children with autism and childhood cancer. I focus on the impact of developmental disabilities and complex healthcare needs among children on family systems across racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels. I ground my work in a multidisciplinary framework in which I incorporate social work, developmental psychology, and public health disciplines to investigate disparities, ecological and socio-cultural perspectives of family support, developmental disabilities and early intervention.

Why did you decide to get involved with the Senate?

I was interested in the Senate for a few reasons. First, I found that it could be an opportunity to learn more about University dynamics and operations. Having served on the executive boards in student of color organizations as a PhD student, I also was interested in the opportunity to be in a position where I could make a larger impact and speak for underrepresented groups at ASU and in the academy. Lastly, I prioritize social justice in my work and advocacy. Therefore, I also feel that sitting on the Senate means that I can be involved in supporting the advancement of social justice at ASU.

Describe what you have learned (or hope to learn) during your time in the Senate?

I have learned a lot about the structure of ASU decision making. Particularly, during the uncertain times we are experiencing regarding COVID and racial injustice. I hope to learn that faculty and student voices are included in the recent initiatives to support Black students and Black faculty on campus as well as the development of programming to support other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students and faculty.

What committees have you participated in, or would like to participate in and what were you able to (or hope to) accomplish? 

I have been on the personnel committee. I joined that particular committee because I wanted to know more about the processes regarding personnel and understand what, if any, considerations and policies were put in place to support working parents, BIPOC employees, and employees with disabilities. As a Latina mother of two young children, I understand the struggle many working BIPOC parents experience. I also wanted to have an influence on recognizing that fair pay discussions should consider the racial and gender disparities that are inherent in large systems. I was able to emphasize the roles of working BIPOC parents and ensure that there would be conversation of racial and gender inequities in salary structures.

What would you say to your peers who might be considering accepting a nomination or nominating himself or herself for a position in the University Senate?

I would tell them that this is a wonderful opportunity to be involved with university governance and decision-making and learn about the broader campus operations. I think getting involved in the Senate also provides an opportunity to have a greater impact on the support we can provide to students, faculty, and University employees.