Graduate Student Research

Eyes Wide Open, Downtown Los Angeles (Photo by Catherine S. Ramírez)

The Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (Huerta Center) supports graduate students at UC Santa Cruz via our research grants, the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award, and our Professional Development Award.

About Eligibility & Accepting Awards | About Budget | Payment Options | Graduate Student Awards

Important Information About Eligibility & Accepting Awards from the Huerta Center

  1. Students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for our research grants and awards. If a graduate student falls out of good academic standing and/or takes a leave of absence, they are required to notify the Huerta Center about their change of status and return any unused funds to the Huerta Center.
  2. You'll be notified via email if you recieve one of our awards. You'll have a deadline in which to confirm your acceptance of the award. A lack of response in a timely manner will be viewed as automatically declining the award.

  3. If your research requires approval from UCSC's Institutional Review Board/IRB, this approval must be confirmed or in process before you officially receive the award. You can still apply if your IRB approval is under review, but you should have already submitted your IRB forms by the time you apply to our grants. Once you receive notification of the award, you'll have 45 days to confirm IRB approval with the Huerta Center. After this time, if IRB has not been approved, the award will not be processed and you will have to apply again the following cycle.

  4. Please notify the Huerta Center in advance by email ( if there are any changes to your originally proposed project. Failing to report changes to the project will result in your award being voided, meaning you will not receive the award.

About the Budget

Huerta Center awards for graduate students follow these budget guidelines:

Allowable expenses include miscellaneous research services (e.g., manuscript preparation, translation, videographer, website designer); software licenses, books, and other research supplies; and travel for research and to present work at professional meetings (economy-class airfare only, following strict UC travel guidelines).

Non-allowable expenses include general overhead and computer hardware.

Please notify the Huerta Center in advance by email if there are significant changes to your proposed budget. An example of a significant change is if you've proposed to use your funds for a research trip, but are no longer able to travel and would like those funds re-allocated to cover research equipment. Any significant changes must be pre-approved.

If you have completed the Travel Advance Request form (see below) and then subsequently change your travel plans, you must reach out to the Huerta Center ASAP as this change will require immediately notifying the accounting office. Once official university forms have been signed, submitted, and processed (similar to any business contract), you are then confirming that is your official travel plan. Any change in that plan is a change in the contract and requires additional approvals from the appropriate financial offices. Again, please do NOT change your travel plans without contacting the Huerta Center in advance.

Payment Options for Graduate Students

Depending on your research budget, paying graduate students requires working with Graduate Division or making arrangements with the Huerta Center staff in advance to coordinate the purchase of certain research items (i.e., software, airfare, supplies, conference registration). Below are approved payment options to assist you in determining the best method of payment.

IMPORTANT: all graduate student recipients are required to meet in advance with the Huerta Center staff about best method for processing award.

Sample Budget Item

Payment Options

Software licences and/or other supplies & equipment

1) work with the Huerta Center staff to request items be purchased on your behalf.

2) purchase items and then request a reimbursement from the Huerta Center. Be sure the items are reimbursable. It is the responsibility of the student to confirm the items are reimbursable/allowable expenses.

3) payment can be allocated through the Financial Aid office.

Travel for research or professional conferences

Travel requires submission of a post-travel expense (PTE) form once the trip is completed (LINK).

1) work with the Huerta Center staff to request select travel expenses be purchased on your behalf.

2) complete a travel advance form/TAR (LINK) and then following the conclusion of your trip, submit the PTE web form (LINK).

3) cover your own travel expenses and request reimbursement through the PTE web form (LINK).

4) payment can be allocated through the Financial Aid office. Restrictions may apply for this option.

Graduate Student Research Grants

The Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas will award research grants (up to $1000 each) for UCSC graduate students conducting research in the areas of interest to the Huerta Center including Chicanx, Latinx, and Latin American, migration, cross-border/hemispheric, and human rights studies. As noted above, funds are available for domestic and international travel for the purpose of archival research and data collection, and for research supplies and services.

Eligibility: Graduate students in good academic standing at UC Santa Cruz are eligible to apply. If a graduate student is proposing to do research that involves human subjects, the expectation is that IRB approval has been secured OR is near final stage of approval (by the following January). Please do NOT apply to a Huerta Center grant without IRB approval confirmed. If you are on track to have that approval secured by the following January, then you can move forward with the submission.

Recipients are expected to acknowledge the Huerta Center's support in any publications related to the sponsored research and to share their findings in a public forum convened by the Huerta Center. They must also submit a report by June 15th to conclude the fiscal year. 
Click here to apply for a graduate student grant. Submit by November 1, 2023 at 5PM PT

Lionel Cantú Memorial Award

The Huerta Center is proud to collaborate with the Departments of Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies in supporting graduate students working in Latino sociology, immigration studies, transnational/cross-border studies, and gender and sexuality studies, particularly with a focus on gay men and masculinity, via the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award. The call for applications is generally issued during the spring quarter and the award amount ranges between $600 – $700.
If a graduate student is proposing to do research that involves human subjects, the expectation is that IRB approval has been secured at the time of submission. If IRB approval has not been secured, it must be approved no later than the summer (preferable no later than August). You are not permitted to embark on research with human subjects without IRB approval.

Professional Development Award

While we encourage UC Santa Cruz graduate students to apply for our research grants during the fall and for the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award in the spring, we recognize that professional development opportunities (such as attending a conference or symposium) sometimes arise at other times of the year. The Huerta Center director maintains a modest fund that supports graduate students' professional development. Recipients may use the award to present work or to interview for an academic job at a professional meeting.

To apply, students must demonstrate that Chicano, Latino, Latin American, and/or migration studies is a primary field of their research and they must be in good academic standing. In addition to submitting a one-page application letter and itemized budget to the Huerta Center director, applicants must be recommended by a member of the UC Santa Cruz faculty. A faculty recommendation may be in the form of a brief email (to in which the faculty member confirms the graduate student is in good academic standing and that the proposed project aligns with the Huerta Center’s research areas of interest. Awardees must submit a one-page report no more than 30 days after spending the funds and are expected to acknowledge the Huerta Center's support in any publications related to the sponsored research.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and pending funding. 

Tip Sheet for Endorsement Letter Writers

Feel free to share the "Tip Sheet for Endorsement Letter Writers" by Dr. Ben V. Olguín (Robert and Lisa Erickson Presidential Chair in English, University of California, Santa Barbara) with your faculty letter writers.