Dr. Ramona Pérez is a Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies. Her research areas include youth identity and empowerment among transnational, Mexican, and Central American migrant youth; food, nutrition, and health among marginalized populations; and rural to urban community growth. Her current work spans the US/Mexico border, southern Mexico, Nicaragua, and Brazil. Dr. Pérez conducts a summer qualitative research field school, directs internship opportunities for graduate students in the border region and throughout Latin America, and coordinates the Mixtec and Zapotec language programs at SDSU. Learn more

Dr. John Love is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Environmental Sciences Program. Dr. Love runs a Biochemistry Laboratory in which he mentors Ph.D., M.S., and undergraduate students who study protein design, molecular biology, and multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. Dr. Love also has extensive experience culturing high-carbohydrate producing plants (sugarcane), various insects, reptiles, and is an avid beekeeper. He is also experienced in aquaculture, aquaponics, and the production of sustainable sources of nutritional protein needed for large-scale fish and shellfish production. Learn more

Dr. David Larom is a Lecturer in the ISCOR, Asia Pacific Studies, and Environmental Sciences programs. He is fluent in Spanish and performed expeditions into the remotest regions of central Baja California, Mexico, as part of his “Proyecto Californio” program. Dr. Larom has undertaken water purification research in the Philippines, created and taught “Food Justice and Food Security” for Community Service Learning, and established Aztec Farms and the Food Security internship, in which SDSU students grow and distribute drip-irrigated and hydroponic vegetables to SDSU Food Services and elsewhere. Learn more

Dr. Changqi Liu is an Assistant Professor of Food Science. His research focuses on the physical, biochemical, and functional properties of food. Dr. Liu is currently exploring the utilization and repurposing of proteins from underutilized (e.g., legumes and cereals) and novel (e.g., edible insects) sources to enhance food security. He is also interested in nutrient recycling aquaponics to reduce water, fertilizer, and energy needs; and urban agriculture system that is beneficial to the environment and efficient in farmland use and food supply. Learn more

Graduate Assistant

Cassandra Maya is graduate student in the Nutritional Sciences program. Along with a B.S. in Food Science and Technology, she has experience in food safety, plant science, and brewing quality. Cassandra’s current research explores the integration of Mesoamerican and urban agriculture techniques. Her interests also include sustainable food systems, novel protein sources, and food security in Latinx communities. On her free time, Cassandra enjoys trying craft beers and live music.


The College Area Community Garden (CACG) is a privately run, non-profit, community-based organic garden/urban farm next door to San Diego State University. Our core farming facilities will be housed in the CACG.