Barrio Internship Program


Internship Overview & Principles

The Global Latinidades Project's Barrio Internship Program seeks to bridge the town-gown divide by facilitating partnerships between students from the University of California at Santa Barbara and local grassroots non-profit community organizations that serve working-class barrio residents. The internships are designed around a solidarity paradigm in which university scholars work with a specific community center on priorities and activities determined by the community center's personnel and constituents. This solidarity relationship—in which an ally offers what is needed when it is needed as determined by the community—deliberately and actively rejects the long legacy of university intellectuals reducing community members to objects of study for the extraction of knowledge that rarely benefits the community from which it is taken.

Instead, student interns engage in service-learning—socially-responsible, politically-incisive, consciousness-raising activities facilitated by an active commitment to community service—under the guidance of community center staff and their constituents. Pursuant to this paradigm of community solidarity through service learning, Global Latinidades Project associates have cultivated relationships with barrio-based organizations built on mutual trust and shared commitment to specific communities-in-need—working-class barrio residents, immigrants of all backgrounds, and democratically-organized grass-roots initiatives. Community partners include El Centro Santa Barbara, which serves the working class and immigrant youth and elders in the city's westside barrio through a multiplicity of programs; Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center, which serves immigrant communities in the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties by providing legal service and through its community education initiatives; and Raza World Visions Radio Show on KCSB 91.9 FM in Santa Barbara, which broadcasts cultural and political programming relevant to Latinx communities to local and global audiences.

The Global Latinidades Project's Barrio Internship Program is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and includes two internships for each of the three community partners, for a total of six. Significantly, these service learning internships offer unique alternative training and skill set acquisition that open alternative careers for students interested in pursuing a life of service. Accordingly, interns are eligible for Global Latinidades Project support for additional training, supplies and materials, conference travel, and mentoring for non-profit career development and job search.

Internship Logistics

Internship applicants are carefully screened and selected by community center staff, with Global Latinidades Project staff serving in a support role. Internship appointments are made quarterly, and are renewable. An internship ideally extends for a minimum of one year due to the training and acculturation required by each partnering organization. The 25% internships require a commitment of 10 hours per week. Intern pay starts at $20 per hour and is funded by The Global Latinidades Project from several sources based on the particular internship: either the Erickson Endowed Chair, The Global Latinidades Project Consortium Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives Grant, or UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Social Justice Grant. (The Global Latinidades Project currently is seeking university partnerships to extend one internship for a graduate student at a 50% appointment at 20 hours per week with tuition and fee remission.)

Ideal interns are self-motivated, able to adapt to changing circumstances, committed to collaborative praxis, and motivated by a genuine concern for the less fortunate and a willingness to share their challenges pursuant to empowering alternatives. Internship applicants must apply through the online Global Latinidades Project Employment Application.



Immigrant Legal Defense Center (ILDC)

Cristina Awadalla has served as a Barrio Internship Program intern with the Immigrant Legal Defense Center since January 2021 under the supervision of Executive Director Julissa Peña. Cristina is a PhD candidate in the UCSB Sociology Department, with a Feminist Studies emphasis, and is working on a dissertation titled, La Violencia Machista Reproduce Dictaduras: Aesthetics, Violence and Women’s Counter Narratives in Contemporary Nicaraguan Politics. As a Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center intern, Cristina's work seeks to provide sustained support to the center through grant writing and ongoing work on community education activities. She has worked with Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center community partner Just Communities to develop a youth-led Know Your Rights Project. Using a promotorx model in which community members are trained to be community peer educators, nine youth immigration ambassadors have been equipped with knowledge about the immigration system, immigrant rights, and facilitation skills.

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Director Julissa Peña and Intern Cristina Awadalla

Beginning in September 2021 the youth began delivering a three-part series of Know Your Rights workshops to the community. Through in-depth workshops, the program seeks to de-mystify the immigration system to empower community members to assert their rights—particularly in encounters with employers, law enforcement, and government bureaucracies—and share this knowledge throughout their personal networks. Cristina’s ongoing work through this initiative includes building community partnerships to expand the program to meet the diversity of needs and experiences among the primarily Latinx immigrant populations in the tri-county California central coast region. Pursuant to this expansion of Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center services, Cristina is the lead Co-Principal Investigator with Ben Olguín for a UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Social Justice Grant (which includes additional matching funds from The Global Latinidades Project). This grant provides equipment, logistical needs, and the hiring of community promotorx, indigenous-language translators, and university student assistants to ensure the program's success and to continue building university-community partnerships. Intern Contact Email: ILDC Contact: ILDC Website: view website

El Centro

El Centro Santa Barbara

El Centro is an activist-led grassroots community space in Santa Barbara’s lower westside that centers BIPOC, queer and trans people. The space’s committed volunteers and organizers come together out of a commitment to foster connections, critical dialogues and actions for justice and equity. El Centro is engaged in a wide array of activities, including writing and poetry workshops, mutual aid efforts, youth educational programs, and open-mic nights. These efforts are guided by a desire to cultivate an intergenerational community space where knowledge and solidarity are exchanged amongst westside community members.

El Centro
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Somos Semillas Community Garden

The Global Latinidades Project has collaborated with El Centro to support these aims, particularly through the Somos Semillas Community Garden. Established by El Centro, the garden is located on unceded Chumash territory at Children’s Park. This culturally-centered sustainable garden aims to address the consequences of the dual economic and ecological crises by building community resiliency and food sovereignty. This project is rooted in cultural self-determination, land justice, regenerative agriculture, and community economic development. Somos Semillas represents a grassroots initiative that endeavors to unite university students with community members in long-term collective efforts to increase energy efficiency and promote social and environmental sustainability while reducing UCSB’s impact on the environment, all by producing good, organic food to eat.

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El Centro Address: 
629 Coronel Place,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

El Centro Contact: For more information, visit El Centro's website! 


Raza World Visions Radio Show

Celeste Rivera has been a Barrio Internship Program intern at Raza World Visions Radio since March 2021. Raza World Visions is a public affairs and cultural arts radio show focusing on Latinx history, culture, and politics, with a mix of thematic, featured artist, and all-music shows. Celeste is a senior in the UCSB Political Science Department, with an emphasis in political theory, social movements, and communication studies.

Under the DJ moniker Mercy Brown, Celeste currently hosts her own radio show, The Hotel Bella Muerte, which offers Latinx feminist music and commentary through alternative music, with an emphasis on feminist goth culture. She works on the Raza World Visions Radio Show with host Ben Olguín (DJ El Profe Urbano Montez).

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DJ & Commentator Mercy Brown 

Celeste conducts research on Raza social and political movements and events for presentation of the Raza World Visions Matutino segments—or morning news briefs—which are modeled on the Cuban Revolutionary tradition of recounting significant events in world revolutionary history as part of consciousness-raising activities and analysis of current cultural and political events. Celeste also serves as a liaison with Raza World Visions guests and produces listener outreach, promotions, show development, equipment consultant, and grant writing assistant. She is currently collaborating on grants to add an additional intern for the Raza World Visions Radio Show. Contact email: