Curriculum Vitae

Thematic interests: culture, political economy of the U.S.-Mexico border region, immigration/migration, urban politics, Latina/o education, and gender issues, and the politics of border security



Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Ph.D.            

Associate Professor & Head

Mexican American Studies

University of Arizona



      (Below) Professor O'Leary during fieldwork in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

1999 Ph.D. Cultural Anthropology, University of Arizona - Tucson
1994 MA., Cultural Anthropology, University of Arizona – Tucson
Master’s paper title: “The Bureaucratic Model of Industrial Organization and the Emergence of Class and Cultural Identity in Borderland Mining Communities.”
1982 BA., Political Science, University of Arizona – Tucson


Research Experience:

2010- 2013. Co-principal Investigator Congressional Direct Project, U.S. Department of Justice,  Protocol Development for the Standardization of Identification and Processing of UBC bodies along the U.S.-Mexico Border, October 1, 2010 – August 15, 2013.  

               2009.  Principal Investigator for PIMSA-funded project: “A Multidisciplinary Binational Study of Migrant Women in the Context of a U.S. Mexico Border Reproductive Health Care Continuum,” March 1, 2008 – September 1, 200

               2008  Co-Investigator, Student Health Behaviors and Coping Study (Andrea Romero, Ph.D., Principal Investigator). September 1 2008 to March, 2009.

               2007: Principal Investigator Fulbright Scholar Women at the Intersection: Immigration Enforcement and Transnational Migration on the U.S.-Mexico Border.”

               2007 to 2008: Project Director for Coalición de Derechos Humanos (in collaboration with UofA College of Public Health, “Challenges to Farmworker Health”  National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

              2006  Principal Investigator SBSRI Small Grant for the pilot study proposal: “Women at the Intersection: Immigration Enforcement and Transnational Migration on the U.S.-Mexico Border.”

              2000:  Assistant Research Social Scientist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona, Spencer Grant Longitudinal Study, Dr. Norma González (PI).

Synergistic and Collaborative Activities

Play: “No Roosters in the Desert”, a play by Kara Hartzler, inspired by the field work data of Anna Ochoa O’Leary (Performed in Tucson, Chicago, Mexico City, and Tempe, AZ)

Promotion material for "No Roosters" for Tucson (Above)

Recent Presentations at Professional Meetings

“Modern Day Braceros and the Return of ‘Operation Wetback’ Discourse in Contemporary U.S. Presidential Politics. Tucson Desert Art Museum, Tucson, AZ January 23, 2016


 “Advancing the Moment: The Road to MAS as a field of Study.” University of Arizona Asian Pacific American Student Association Conference, Tucson, AZ February 20, 2016.


“In the Footsteps of Spirits” Guest Lecture, School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. Tucson, AZ. March 11, 2016.

“Institutionalizing Ethnic Studies in Arizona” Forging New Relationships in Ethnic Studies. PCC Ethnic Studies Forum, Pima Community College, Downtown Campus, Tucson, AZ March 18, 2016.


Plenary address, National Association for Ethnic Studies Annual Conference, Tucson, AZ March 18, 2016.


Aqui estamos y no los vamos: The Transnationalization of Immigrant Households and the Remaking of America. Themes and Lessosn in U.S. Mexico Relations. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ: UA Latin American Studies, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), and Centro Investigacion y Estudios de America Del Norte (CISAN). April 28


“Mas Allá de la Frontera: La Unidad Domestica en la Busca de una vida mejor.” 2º Encuentro de Migración, Nealtican, Puebla, Mexico. July 15, 2016.


Familias de Status Migratorio Mixto y Separación Familiar. 1st. Binational Conference Experiences of Intervention with Migrants in National and International Levels. Centro de las Artes, Univ. de Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora: Univerisidad Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and Univ. de Sonora. November 14-15


Migrant Deaths on the Border: La vida no vale nada. Book presentation. Antigone's Books Tucson, AZ. November 18, 2016.



Mas Allá de la Frontera: La Unidad Domestica en la Busca de una vida mejor. Seminario Permanente de Estudios de Personas Menores de Edad (SPEME). Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Mexico City, Nov 27-Dec 2, 2015.


In the Wake of Child separation: Psychological dimensions of the migration experience. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. Denver CO.  Nov. 17-19, 2015.


Contributors to Health Inequities Among Individuals, Families and Communities in the Arizona-Sonora Border Region, UA College of Nursing Health Equity Research Seminar Series University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, April 13, 2015.


Roundtable:  Arizona Firestorm: Marking the 5th Anniversary of Landmark Anti-immigrant Legislation (SB1070 and HB2281). Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. University of Arizona Campus, Tucson, AZ April 8-11, 2015.


[Panel Organization]: The Geographies of Civic Engagement: Mapping Community Organization Collaboration in Efforts to Identify the Dead along the U.S. Mexico Border. Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. University of Arizona Campus, Tucson, AZ April 8-11, 2015.


When Death comes Knocking: Civic Engagement with Efforts to Identify the Dead along the U.S. Mexico Border. Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. University of Arizona Campus, Tucson, AZ April 8-11, 2015.


Aterrizando Realidades, Transcendiendo Fronteras: Confluencias Sociales en la Busca de una vida mejor. V. Encuentro Internacional Migración y Niñez Migrante, Colegio de Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora. May 28-29, 2015


Visitng Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. March, 2010 for the Society for Applied Anthropology, was a real treat.  The city is full of vestiages of Mexico's Colonial era, as this building shows.  It's also a city where U.S. and European retirees are increasingly settling.



Professional Service
2008 (November) Reviewer, Grant proposal in Anthropology, National Science Foundation
2007 Reviewer, (book) University of Arizona Press.
2006 Reviewer, Región y Sociedad, Journal of the Colegio De Sonora.
Service to Local, National, and International Communities
2008 International Advisory Committee for “II Encuentro Internacional de Migración y Niñez Migrante: La Anthropología de la Migración.” (to be held in May, 2009)
2007-2009, Treasurer, Association of Latino/Latina Anthropologists (ALLA)
2007 Chair, Committee on Refugee and Immigration, Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology
2006 Elected Member (alternate) of the Consejo Consultivo del Insitituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME).
2004 to present Steering Comitte member, Coalición de Derechos Humanos.
2004 to present Board Member, Arizona Border Rights Foundation.
2001 to present Board Member Fundación México.
2002 to 2003: Advisory Committee Member, “Tucson Latina Action,” a project by Arizona Citizens Action
1985 to 1986 President, Morenci Miners Women's Auxiliary, Clifton, Arizona
Membership in Professional Societies
  • American Anthropological Association (AAA)
  • Association for Latino and Latina Anthropologists (ALLA)
  • National Association of Chicano/Chicana Studies (NACCS)
Advanced Study or Other Professional Improvement:
2005 National Immigration Law Center (Washington), special training on immigrant workers rights, May 16, 2005, Tucson, AZ
2004. Inter University Programs in Latino Research (IUPLR) Census Bureau Training, University of Notre Dame.
Recognitions and Awards:
2011 YWCA Women on the Move Award.
2010 Raul H. Castro Institute Latina Trailblazer Award
1986 Certificate of Recognition Día Internacional de la Mujer Conference, Phoenix, AZ
1985 Ford Foundation Travel Scholarship for the NGO conference on the Decade of Women, FORUM '85, Nairobi, Kenya.
 1980 Phi Theta Kappa, National Scholastic Honor Society, Eastern Arizona College
 1980 Minority Talent Roster for Distinguished Academic Performance, Eastern Arizona College.
 1980 Arizona Council Epsilon Sigma Alpha Scholarship, Eastern Arizona College President's Award for perfect 4.0 GPA.