Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton

Research Associate - Qualitative Specialist

Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton has 12 years of experience in student affairs practice, higher education research, and service. She has developed an expertise with particular emphasis on California cultural centers.  One of her proudest endeavors was serving as the Founding Director of the Middle Eastern Student Center at the University of California, Riverside; the first cultural center of its kind in the UC System and in California.

Ramirez-Stapleton is currently a President for the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE) serving a three year term on the executive board (2017-2020). CaCCCHE is a network of student affairs professionals and practitioners who are committed to social justice, equity, and diversity work on college campuses. As a consultant she conducts trainings, workshops, and keynote speeches on issues of social justice, equity and diversity.

Additionally, Ramirez-Stapleton is a University of California (UC) Regent Emeritus who served a two year term (2015-2017). She was appointed by the UC Board of Regents to serve as the 42nd Student Regent and was involved in higher education policy and advocacy work at the state and federal level. Marcela was recognized as a “Women of Distinction” by Jose Medina, California State Assembly Member and Chair of the Higher Education Committee.

As a student services professional her experience includes cultural centers and diversity initiatives, student life, career services, and international education. As a researcher her interests include: multicultural affairs, cultural centers and identity based support services and programs. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Riverside in the Higher Education Administration and Policy program through the Graduate School of Education. 

Ramirez-Stapleton is an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and has held numerous leadership roles. She was a board member for the NASPA Region VI Advisory Board, the NASPA Center for Women, and the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) Board. She also served as the NUFP Coordinator for Region VI.

Previously she worked for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. She received an M.S. in counseling with an emphasis on student development and higher education from California State University, Long Beach, and she received her B.A in economics and French from California State University, Fullerton.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers / They, Them, Theirs


Ramirez, M. (2018). Schoolhouse of Resistance: Critical Counterstories of Grassroots Organizers and Campus Change Agents in California Cultural Centers (Doctoral dissertation, UC Riverside).