Yanira Rivas Pineda

Yanira Rivas Pineda de Melendez, M.A.


Professor Rivas Pineda is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is finishing her dissertation titled, “Crime-Ridden and Heavily Policed: Political Involvement in two Los Angeles Public Housing Facilities.” Her research along with her activism seeks to contribute to a better understanding of political participation in marginalized communities, the role of crime and the criminal justice system in explaining this political phenomenon and working to actively address the issue.

Professor Rivas Pineda is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the UCSB Chicano Studies Institute Research Grant, UCSB Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant, UCSB Department of Political Science Graduate Research and Training Grant, and the APSA Fund for Latino Scholarship Grant. She has been a Graduate Division Dissertation Fellow, Graduate Opportunity Fellow, SAGE Fellow, and a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellow.

Professor Rivas Pineda has an A.A. from Santa Monica College, a B.A. from University of Miami, and 3 master’s degrees from the University of Granada (Spain), CSUN, and UCSB. She has over eight years of non-profit work experience and has conducted research in Los Angeles and El Salvador.

Specialty Area

  • Race and Ethnic Politics
  • Latino Politics
  • Urban Politics
  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Central American Politics

Course Offerings

  • Political Science 21: Race, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Difference

Teaching Philosophy/Equity Statement

In the classroom, Professor Rivas Pineda believes that students learn best by connecting class material with the real world and with their own unique life experiences. Memorization might help students pass an exam, but it will not ensure that they retain what they learn when they leave the classroom. True learning occurs when students can take what they learn in the ivory tower and put it into practice in everyday life. Professor Rivas Pineda also embraces a collective learning environment, where students teach and learn from each other.