Joshua Anzaldúa, M.S.W. (he/him/él) is a proud native of San Antonio’s westside community, a predominately Latino inner-city neighborhood known in the early twentieth century as San Antonio’s Mexican Quarter. Josh is a Latino/Chicano scholar-activist, a first-generation college student, community leader, and social justice researcher. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Texas A&M University, a clinical-track Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston, and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Joshua is a survivor of chronic childhood adversities including intergenerational poverty, food insecurity, housing instability, and other challenging experiences such as being second-generation in his family to have received a subpar K12 education in a historically underresourced and underserved community. These experiences have fueled his lifelong commitment to help inform and transform current and future sociopolitical landscapes and educational structures in ways that better serve and center the cultural, socioeconomic, health, and holistic needs of people and families of the most vulnerable and historically marginalized backgrounds.
Josh’s lived experiences have also helped guide his career pathway as he possesses over a decade of service, experience, and expertise stemming from the fields of higher education, college recruitment/admissions, academic and career advising, community and nonprofit sector organizational leadership, case management and advocacy, and social/racial justice educational research.
Broadly, Josh’s academic interests aim to unveil the vast interconnectedness between student and family biopsychosocial and educational wellness, and social mobility on the cultural and social development of groups of those living furthest at the margins of society. His doctoral research uses a lens rooted in social justice and trauma research to help examine Latino/x and Chicano/x student and family exposure to assimilationist, racial/culturally unresponsive, and other oppression-based public schooling systems, policies, and practices and impacts on the educational and cultural development across three generations of central Texas students formerly enrolled in Texas public schools.
Josh has been recognized by various groups and professional entities for his commitment to social justice and equity research and leadership as he completed a four-year doctoral research fellowship with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio (Go Roadrunners!), is a former fellow with The Education Trust, The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies, Excelencia in Education, Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, and was honored to be named a Barbara L. Jackson Scholar and David L. Clark Scholar with the University Council for Educational Administration. In summer 2023, he received a scholarship from the Trauma Research Foundation to participate in its Traumatic Stress Studies Certificate program led by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of a #1 New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. The program is also supported by several of the nation’s most influential psychological trauma researchers and clinical experts.
Josh has authored and co-authored various reports and refereed/non-refereed research projects that were shared across local and national groups and spaces such as the City of San Antonio’s mayor, community and business leaders, and other of Bexar County area stakeholders and with education researchers, policymakers, and leaders across various professional organizations. He’s presented individual and collaborative research at the Association for the Study of Higher Education, University Council for Educational Administration, the American Educational Research Association.
In 2022, Josh’s first peer-reviewed manuscript titled, Internationalizing Trauma-Informed Perspectives to Address Student Trauma in Post-Pandemic Tertiary Education was published in the book COVID-19 and higher education in the global context: Exploring contemporary issues and challenges. The chapter documents in real-time the widespread and potentially traumatic events and impacts of human loss, grief, suffering, and global sociopolitical unrest taking place in the United States and across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter calls for a dramatic shift and internationalization of a trauma and human rights perspective to help inform efforts in reimagining higher education (re)structures of policies, process, procedures, practices, and cultures in ways that help minimize and mediate potential for student and family retraumatization associated with a legacy of oppressive social conditions and better address the forecasted/lingering impacts on all students, their academic success, and holistic wellness in a post-pandemic higher educational landscape.
Josh aspires to share his life, professional, academic experiences, and agency in selfless service to Latino/x communities everywhere and his lifelong goal is to serve in an executive leadership role where he can work alongside passionate individuals and communities toward achieving the transformational changes that make our world a better place for Latino/x and all peoples.