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Jai Vaca

Professional Title: 
Graduate Student


  • Master of Science, Justice Studies (San Jose State University) 2019-2022
  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Science concentration in Chemistry with a minor in Human Rights (San Jose State University) 2014-2019
  • Bachelor of Science, Justice Studies with a minor in Chemistry (San Jose State University) 2014-2019
  • Associate of Science, Administration of Justice (Mendocino College) 2014


  • California State University Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) (San Jose State University: Mentor Dr. Bryce Westlake) 2022
  • California State University Pre-Doctoral “Sally Casanova” Scholar (San Jose State University) 2020-2021
  • The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program Scholar at San Jose State University (SJSU) 2015-2019

First-generation college student (product of migrant workers) from San Jose CA, and raised in Ukiah CA. My master’s thesis examined how DACA policy decisions affect San Jose State University DACA students’ mental health and well-being. In addition, what services are SJSU DACA students using, and do these services meet SJSU DACA students’ unique needs?

Research interests:  Immigration, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrives (DACA) policy legal limbo, Undocumented student mental health and well-being, criminal justice, law, race, gender, and social movements.

Current research is on how DACA policy decisions affect UC Merced students’ mental health and well-being and does UCM DACA service meet the unique needs of UCM DACA students.