University at Buffalo

Stephen Santa-Ramirez, PhD (he/him/his)

Stephen Santa-Ramirez, PhD

Assistant Professor of Higher Education

Assistant Professor


Specialty/Research Focus

Access and Equity; Diversity; Immigrant Issues; Higher Education; Race, Inequality, and Education; Legal Issues

Contact Information
482 Baldy Hall
North Campus

Professional Summary:

[The University at Buffalo operates on the unceded ancestral territory of the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy. I am grateful to respectfully work as a guest on these lands with the Native people who occupied this space before us and those who still call this home.]

Dr. Stephen Santa-Ramirez (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University at Buffalo (UB). His vast experiences in U.S. higher education and student affairs include work in Multicultural and LGBT+ Affairs, Residential Life and Housing Services, and Migrant Student Services. In addition to teaching at UB, Dr. Santa-Ramirez has taught for the Philadelphia Freedom Schools, Michigan State University, The University of Texas at Arlington, and Arizona State University.

Dr. Santa Ramirez's personal and professional experiences in higher education – and identity as a scholar-practitioner-advocate – have played formative roles in the development of his research agenda, which centers on the lives and knowledge of historically marginalized and economically neglected students. Broadly, he investigates the historical, ideological, and structural inequities that impact Black, Latinx, Indigenous, migrant, and other marginalized communities. Particularly, by employing critical and asset-based frameworks, he investigates campus racial climate, transitions and belongingness of first-generation students of Color, college student activism and resistance, and the various ways race, ethnicity, im/migration status and policy inform the educational experiences of collegians who are undocu/DACAmented.

In addition to authoring a host of book chapters, some of his recently published peer-reviewed articles can be located in The Review of Higher Education, NASPA's Journal of First-generation Student Success, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Journal of Negro Education, Education Sciences, and New Directions for Higher Education. Dr. Santa-Ramirez is also an Associate Editor for the College Student Affairs Journal (CSAJ).

Dr. Santa-Ramirez is a 2022 National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and a 2022 Diamond Honoree via ACPA - College Student Educators International, a prestigious honor for professionals who have made and continue to make a tremendous impact in the field of higher education and student affairs. Further, in recent years, he has received the Legacy of Leadership honor from West Chester University and was selected as a Fellow for NASPA's Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), and New York University's Faculty First-Look. He is also a Diversity Scholar via the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity and a recipient of the ACPA Latinx Network Community Advancement & Service Award.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Educational Policy and Evaluation, Arizona State University
  • MA, Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University
  • BA, Communication Studies, West Chester University
  • Certificate, Public Narrative: Leadership, Storytelling, and Action (expected 12/22), Harvard University, Kennedy School of Public Policy & Government
  • Certificate - Penn Equity Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education
  • Certificate - Socioeconomic Justice, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation
  • Certificate - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, University of South Florida, Muma College of Business
Awards and Honors:
  • NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow 2022; National Academy of Education; 2022-05-09;
  • Diamond Honoree; ACPA - College Student Educators International; 2022-03-08;
  • NASPA’s Emerging Faculty Leadership Academy (EFLA); NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; 2021-02-01;
  • University of Michigan's Diversity Scholars Network; University of Michigan; 2020-09-30;
  • NYU Faculty First-Look Fellow/Visiting Affiliate; New York University; 2019-11-01;
Recent Publications:
Journal Article:
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2022). A sense of belonging: The people and counterspaces Latinx undocu/DACAmented collegians use to persist. Education Sciences, 12(10), 1–16.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2022). Their mere existence is resistance: Undocu/DACAmented collegians' resisting subordination in turbulent times. The Review of Higher Education. Advance Online Preprint.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (2022). Sink or swim: The mentoring experiences of Latinx Ph.D. students with faculty of Color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 15(1), 124-134.
  • Santa-Ramirez, S., Wells, T., Sandoval, J., & Koro, M. (2022). Working through first-generation students of Color experiences, university mission, intersectionality, and post-subjectivity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 35(2), 109-124.
Book Chapter:
  • Muñoz, S. M., & Santa-Ramirez, S. (2022). Reimagining institutionalized support for undocumented and DACA college students: A critical approach. In R. Johnson, U. Anya, & L. Garces (Eds.), Racial Equity on College Campus: Connecting Research to Practice (pp. 141-165). SUNY Press.
Recent Presentations:
Invited Lectures:
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (November 2021). Assets, Power, and Strength: The Beautifulness of First-generation College Students. Keynote Speaker for University of Connecticut’s First-gen Celebration Day, Storrs, CT.;
  • Hall, K. A., Santa-Ramirez, S., Almonte, C. B., Salazar, C., Vigil, D., & Nienhusser, H. K. (November 2021). Intersecting Crises Impacting Undocu/DACAmented Students and Campuses (Mis)Addressing Their Needs: Racial, Economic, and Health Effects During COVID-19. Presentation at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference, San Juan, PR.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (October 2021). "When Are We No Longer Undocumented?”: How Citizenship & Race Interact for Latinx Undocu/DACAmented Collegians. Presentation at the Critical Race Studies in Education Association (CRSEA) Annual Conference, Newark, DE.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S. (November 2020). Activism as a form of resistance: Undocu/DACAmented collegians resisting subordination in the Trump era. Research paper presentation at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference.;
  • Santa-Ramirez, S., Cho, K. S., Alvarez, D., Châu Nguyen, P., Galvez, E., Hall, T., & Vargas, A. (March 2021). The Support and Stifling of College Student Activism. Presentation at the ACPA – College Student Educators International Annual Conference.;
Recent Grants:
  • So, What Happens Now?: The Post-Graduation Transitional Experiences of Undocu/DACAmented Collegians; Foundation and Research Organization; 2022 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship; Awarded; (09/01/2022-08/01/2023)
  • Transitional Experiences of Collegians who are Undocu/DACAmented; Foundation and Research Organization; NASPA Foundation Channing Briggs Research Grant; Awarded; (05/01/2022-08/01/2023)
  • Transitional Experiences of Collegians who are Undocu/DACAmented; Foundation and Research Organization; ACPA Foundation Research Grant; Awarded; (10/08/2021-10/08/2021)
  • First-generation collegians navigating the transition into higher education during the global health pandemic COVID-19; Local; UB Graduate School of Education Seed Grant; Awarded; (09/01/2021-06/01/2022)
Recent Editorships:
  • Associate Editor; College Students Affairs Journal
  • Editorial Board; Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (JSARP)
  • Advisory Board; Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Associate Editor; Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Section Editor; Current Issues in Education Journal

Contact Information

482 Baldy Hall
North Campus