Beatriz Maldonado, PhD

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Beatriz Maldonado was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, CA. The efforts of her migrant Salvadoran parents, coupled with the experiences of being low-income and first-generation, fueled her academic pursuits. She attended Scripps College in Claremont, CA, pursuing a dual major in American Studies and Hispanic Studies, with an emphasis in Literature. While a senior in college, she applied and was accepted into the Anthropology Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). While in graduate school, Dr. Maldonado completed ethnographic fieldwork in El Salvador, analyzing how families remember and forget traumas of disappearance, separation, and loss as a result of El Salvador’s civil war and its aftermath. Invested in genealogical traces of Salvadoran cultural productions, postwar reconciliations and complex connections of belonging, Dr. Maldonado’s work transitioned into investigating the daily practices of resistance and survival within Salvi-diasporic communities living in the United States. Her current research explores postwar ordinariness, kinship entanglements, and practices of memory. Alongside her academic trajectory, Dr. Maldonado has worked collaboratively with college and career access programs, as well as other mentorship opportunities. Her motivation for equity and sustainability derives from the journeys and successes of students of color.