Kristina Ruiz-Mesa is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and serves as the Basic Course Director of COMM 150 at California State University, Los Angeles. Prior to joining the CSULA faculty in the fall of 2013, Kristina, a New Jersey native, attended Villanova University located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she received a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a concentration in Latin American Studies, and a master’s degree in Strategic Communication. While completing her master’s degree, Kristina worked as a retention specialist in the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) at Villanova working with first-year students on goal-setting, and skills for college success. Kristina then served the CMA as the Assistant Director for strategic planning, outreach, and assessment of diversity initiatives. While at Villanova, Kristina founded the St. Thomas of Villanova Scholars (STOVS) program, an academic bridge program aimed at preparing students for their freshmen year of college. Feeling like there was more work to be done to improve campus climate and retention, Kristina left Villanova University to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder to pursue her Ph.D. in Communication, focusing on issues of identity and higher education.
Currently, Kristina’s research interests involve the impact of race, gender, and sexuality on identity formation, communication, and maintenance within higher education. Previous research on the academic impact of experiencing racial microaggressions at a predominately White institution of higher education has been used to create programming and improve support services for underrepresented students throughout the nation.
At CSULA, Kristina teaches a variety of courses on sex, gender, race, identity, and instructional communication. When not on campus, Kristina enjoys singing, watching telenovelas, volunteering in animal care at a marine mammal rehabilitation center, traveling, and spending time with her family, included her dog, Lucien.