July 25, 2016— Laura Gómez, interim dean for UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences, whose professional work spans the boundaries of law, journalism and academia, has been profiled in the Albuquerque Journal.
“I feel like I’ve always been the kind of person that crosses boundaries. I don’t like to be stuck in one place,” says Dean Gómez of her broad interests.
A New Mexico native, Dean Gómez was born to a politically active and proud Mexican-American family whose influence encouraged her pursuit of the study of race and social justice issues throughout her academic career. While earning a bachelor’s degree at Harvard, Dean Gómez became the first Hispanic writer for the college newspaper, The Harvard Crimson. Her interest in journalism later led to a position as a legislative aide for former Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, during the second Reagan administration. “I saw some of the really negative side of politics,” said Dean Gómez.
Returning to academia to attend graduate school, Dean Gómez earned a master’s and Ph.D. in sociology and a law degree from Stanford University. She taught at UCLA School of Law from 1994-2005 and became a tenured professor of law in 2000. In 2005 she again journeyed to her home state to teach at the University of New Mexico and to be closer to her family, but in 2011 returned to UCLA.
Now, UCLA welcomes Dean Gómez back as the first woman to lead the Social Sciences Division. “I think it’s going to be a great adventure, a great professional challenge,” she says.
Despite the far move to Los Angeles, Dean Gómez maintains close ties with her family in New Mexico and visits them often.
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