Maria Alcívar Zúñiga honored by AAC&U for efforts to empower Latinx families

Student News
By Chelsea Davis


A College of Human Sciences student is using research to increase awareness among U.S. policymakers in ways that improve the lives of immigrant families all over the country. 

Maria Alcívar Zúñiga is one of only seven doctoral students selected nationwide for an award that recognizes her leadership, academic accomplishments, and community work empowering Latinx youth and families in Iowa. Bestowed by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award is reserved for people who show exceptional promise as future teachers and leaders who develop academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others.

As a doctoral student in human development and family studies, Maria is working to fold research into policy and practice. She aims to better inform the policymakers that shape these families’ lives, and possibly become a policymaker herself.

“Nobody really thinks about the 5 million children who live under a household with at least one undocumented parent. And 4.5 million of those are U.S. citizen children,” she said.

Read the full ISU News story. You can also read Maria’s CHS student profile.

Key contacts

Maria Alcívar Zúñiga, Human Development and Family Studies,

Chelsea Davis, ISU News Service, 515-294-4778,

By Chelsea Davis