Jamille Palacios Rivera (2021)
Dr. Jamille Palacios Rivera is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri. Her fierce commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is evident in all areas of her work.
Dr. Palacios Rivera’s research for her Master’s (at the University of Puerto Rico) and her Ph.D. (at the University of Florida) were focused on issues of labor and discrimination related to race and gender. Her Master’s thesis was entitled, “Study of Applicable Alternatives to Eliminate Marriage Penalty Tax in Puerto Rico” and explored policy levers to address gender discrimination baked into Puerto Rico’s tax code. Her dissertation work at the University of Florida focused on farm labor, with a particular focus on the Fair Food Campaign established by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to fight for better wages and working conditions for people employed picking fruit and vegetable on farms in the Southeast U.S. (and increasingly farther afield within the U.S.)
While working at Ivy Tech Community College and simultaneously finishing her Ph.D., Dr. Palacios Rivera served as the Ivy Tech Campus Director for the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation summer research program. As part of this program, she recruited minority students, paired faculty mentors with mentees, coordinated a research trip to Mexico with participants, organized workshops and served as a mentor herself.
Dr. Palacio Rivera’s integrated research, teaching, outreach, and service related to diversity, equity, and inclusion has continued at the University of Missouri, where she is a Faculty Fellow of the Cambio Center. Dr. Corinne Valdivia writes, “Cambio is a collaborative research and outreach center of faculty and students with a mission to address integration of newcomers, minorities, and Latinxs communities… Dr. Palacios has contributed in multiple ways, as an active fellow welcoming faculty and students to campus, serving as a leader in committees, contributing to the planning and actively participating in Cambio de Colores, an annual conference and community of practice focused on research and best practices for the integration and wellbeing of Latinxs, immigrants, and rural communities in the Midwest.” Dr. Palacios Rivera is also contributing to the development of a new Cambio Center Latinx Studies program and contributes to the center’s Latino Agricultural Entrepreneurship in Missouri initiative through her research.
In addition to this work, Dr. Palacios Rivera has been and continues to be a leader in DEI efforts at all levels at the University of Missouri. Dr. Joe Parcell writes, “Dr. Jamille Palacios Rivera has been instrumental in reshaping the Division of Applied Social Sciences, as well as CAFNR and Mizzou, to be a more holistically inclusive environment.” She chaired and continues to serve on the campus level Council for Inclusive Excellence at the invitation of the Chancellor, advocating for equitable access for students. with disabilities and students, faculty and staff members who are members of underrepresented minorities and advising the university Chancellor on the implementation of the Inclusive Excellence Framework. Dr. Palacios Rivera also serves as an Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) liaison for the university’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity supporting implementation of the Inclusive Excellence framework in the Division of Applied Social Science (DASS) and the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (CAFNR) in which it is housed. As part of the DASS Online Transition Task Force during the COVID-19 pandemic, she advised faculty and provided resources to make their online courses more inclusive, work she had done in her own courses prior to the pandemic. She is also a founding member of the first CAFNR IDE committee, which received funding from the university to conduct focus groups CAFNR students and used this focus group data to inform a set of recommendations for CAFNR administrators to make the college more welcoming and inclusive for students of color.
Dr. Corinne Valdivia writes: “Dr. Palacios has a commitment to make a difference in inclusion, diversity and equity, through her teaching of students at MU, and seeking to further impact institutional change through her work at multiple levels at MU. In today’s challenging climate the work of Dr Palacios, her service in critical committees, and her teaching and mentoring of students and colleagues, are essential to effective inclusion.”