Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton

Research Associate - Qualitative Specialist

Dr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton has 17 years of experience in student affairs, higher education research, and public service. Her expertise in multicultural affairs is foundational to her work as a qualitative researcher, DEI consultant and professor in educational leadership. 

Dr. Ramirez-Stapleton is a Past-President of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE). CaCCCHE is a network of student affairs professionals who are committed to social justice, equity, and diversity work on college campuses.

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. 

Dr. Ramirez-Stapleton is a University of California (UC) Regent Emerita who served a two year term (2015-2017). During her doctoral studies she was appointed by the UC Board of Regents to serve as the 42nd UC Student Regent. She was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by Jose Medina, California State Assembly Member and Chair of the Higher Education Committee. She was also a CA Educational Policy Fellow and remains involved in statewide higher education and policy work.

As a private consultant she conducts training, workshops, and keynotes on issues of social justice, equity and diversity. In student services her experience includes cultural centers and diversity initiatives, student life, career services, and international education. As a researcher her interests include: cultural centers and identity based support services and programs. She is a qualitative research specialist with Rankin & Associates Consulting.

Ramirez 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. She previously worked for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

Ramirez received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside in higher education administration and policy. She received an M.S. in counseling with an emphasis on student development and higher education from California State University, Long Beach, and 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).