Alejandra Gallegos-Ordaz is a strong advocate for social justice and equality. Appreciating the challenges of growing up in an unequal society from her own experiences, Alejandra hopes to create a more just world for others through her work as a research assistant at the Center for Social Solutions and through her other pursuits at the University of Michigan.

“In a world where race, gender, ethnicity, immigration status, etc. affect your quality of life, I know first-hand what oppression looks and feels like. And, I don’t want future generations to feel the sting of oppression--I want my work to reflect that. In an effort to do that I want to make use of the privileges I have to reduce that sting, by mentoring, educating, and participating in activism."

Her own experiences and identities are what drew Alejandra to the Center for Social Solutions, where she works as a research assistant.

“I am a first-generation college student and I want to know what it’s like to work in a research setting. I am passionate about social justice and the themes that CSS identifies as social justice issues of the American experience."

As a research assistant, Alejandra will conduct research for three of the Center’s main initiatives - diversity and democracy, slavery and its aftermath, and the future of work. She is excited about the pressing nature of the work and its direct applications for addressing socioeconomic inequality.

On the the topics she hopes to address through her research, Alejandra identified three key areas. “Especially given our political climate, diversity is an important topic to research because it deserves to be valued and validated. Apart from that slavery continues to have effects on our society, so being able to identify those effects is important so we can educate ourselves and others. Lastly, so many Americans form part of the working class and the future of the workforce will definitely affect their lives, so it’s important to keep up with these factors,” 

Her interest in addressing important issues of justice and inequity inspire her academic career as well. Currently a junior majoring in sociology with a subplan in social work and a minor in Community Action and Social Change, Alejandra hopes to use her coursework to better understand and advocate for important social justice causes.

“I have always been passionate about social justice especially being a woman of color, my experiences have led me to be aware and understand the inequities of our society and how society underserves racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and many others."

Alejandra channels her passion for social justice outside of the classroom too. As an academic success partner at the Office of Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI), she serves as a mentor for sophomores from all backgrounds, providing students with tutoring and connecting them to vital resources. 

Even in her free time, Alejandra thrives off of lifting up those around her. She enjoys socializing with others and expressing herself creatively through art. “Making people laugh and feel good is always my priority."

Ultimately, helping others is what inspires Alejandra to continue onward in her work and academic pursuits. After graduation, Alejandra hopes to continue building on her experiences at the University of Michigan by being a mentor at an organization or school, or by joining a non-profit that shares her values.

“All in all, being a resource is my top priority and I want to make that happen in some way, shape, or form. In the end, I want to use my knowledge and skills to help vulnerable communities, especially children of color who struggle with oppression every day. I want to create a world where everyone is served in the way they deserve.”