Mentoring Mexican Parents and Students

Rosa Manzo
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Rosa Manzo

Location: Fresno

Impact: Helping Mexican Americans access education through family workshops and mentorship

Rosa Manzo has always wanted to help Mexican Americans have access to education, but she never dreamed she’d be back in her hometown to accomplish the goal. 

In Fresno County, she’s developing workshops for immigrant parents so effective that UC Davis has received a $100,000 grant from the Fresno Regional Foundation to expand the model to other county schools. 

The Ph.D. student is also mentoring UC Davis students from rural Fresno high schools by encouraging them to follow in her footsteps by going to graduate school. 

As part of the larger Niños Sanos, Familia Sana childhood obesity research program, Manzo developed a family education program and put it into action through workshops during the past two years. 

More than 100 parents in the rural community of San Joaquin have taken Manzo’s workshop during the past two years.

“A lot of these parents are originally from Mexico with 6th grade educations,” Manzo says. “They aren’t familiar with U.S. education system, and it was my job to help them so they could continue advocating for their children’s education.” 

UC Davis has nurtured Manzo in her academic dreams and given her a sense of belonging. Gloria Rodriguez, Manzo’s secondary faculty adviser in the School of Education, “drove to the airport to pick me up on my first day to make me feel at home.” 

Manzo also credits her success at UC Davis to the nurturing Niños Sanos, Familia Sana research team and its director, health economist Adela de la Torre of Chicana/o studies, who is her primary doctoral adviser and vice chancellor of student affairs.