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Streetwise Epistemology and Servingness


From the episode:

"Already certain institutions, HBCUs, Tribal Colleges, were founded to serve those populations, but an HSI designation is just, all of a sudden you woke up and you have 50% you're like, “Oh, let's get this [HSI] sticker.” But the institution was never really created to serve them. Whether it's an HSI or not, it was never intended to serve the student right…there's nothing that was always intentional. That's what I always talk about the intention of serving the student when I talk about formerly incarcerated students".

Dr. Joe Louis Hernandez (he/him/él)

Rising Scholars Director, Mt. San Antonio College | Adjunct Professor, Cal Poly Pomona Department of Educational Leadership

Episode description

In this episode of ¿Qué pasa, HSIs? we think outside of the normative constructs of higher education learning with and from Dr. Joe Louis Hernandez who is the Director for the Rising Scholars program at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). Dr. Hernandez is a Streetwise Scholar who attended Mt SAC, Cal State LA, and Cal State Long Beach, all of which are HSIs, having profound effects on his educational journey. But more so than the institutions, he talks about mentors and co-defendants who have guided him along the way, many of whom believed he would get a PhD before he did. He talks to us about his own journey from the carceral system to the graduation stage at Claremont Graduate University. His research focuses on the experiences of formerly incarcerated and system-impacted students in higher education with an anti-deficit perspective on this student population. Joe Louis' passion for serving this population arises from his own experience with incarceration and having gone through the criminal justice system. We discuss the Rising Scholars Program, which fosters a college-completing atmosphere and a holistic approach to student development, and his research, which teaches us how servingness can co-exist with streetwise epistemology.

APA citation

Garcia, G.A. (Host). (2023, October 29). Streetwise epistemology and servingness. (No.308) [Audio podcast episode]. In ¿Qué pasa, HSIs?.

Show notes

Hernandez, J. L. (2023). A struggle so beautiful: The roses that rise from the concrete: Exploring transformative ruptures in the higher education journeys of formerly incarcerated Latinx/a/o students through relationships with institutional agents. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Claremont Graduate University. 


Hernandez, J. L., Murillo, D., Britton, T. (2023). Hustle in higher education: How Latinx students with conviction histories move from surviving to thriving in higher education. American Behavioral Scientist, 66(10), 1394–1417.


Abeyta, M., Torres, A., Hernandez, J. L., Duran, O. (2021). Rising Scholars: A case study of two community colleges serving formerly incarcerated and system-impacted students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, 28(1), 99-109. 

Binnall, J. M., Sotelo, I., Vasquez, A., Hernandez, J. L. (2019). Making good one semester at a time: Formerly incarcerated students (and their professor) considering the redemptive power of inclusive education. In K. M. Middlemass & C. J. Smiley (Eds.) Prisoner reentry in the 21st century: Critical perspectives of returning home (pp. 382-395). Routledge.

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