Gisselle Perez-Leon

PhD Candidate

Latin America and the Caribbean

I specialize in 20th c. Mexican history. My dissertation traces the development of public services and municipal governance in Nogales, Sonora between 1918, when the first physical boundary divided "Ambos Nogales," and 1965, when investments from the Mexican National Border Program (PRONAF) and the binational Border Industrialization Program rebuilt the Nogales gateway. Using municipal and state archives, I explore how working women, Chinese business owners, Indigenous Tohono O'odham, and Native Yaqui asserted rights to waterworks, electricity, and education in a changing border city.

Prior to graduate school, I worked as Paralegal for the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Racial Justice Program, and the New York Legal Assistance Group's (NYLAG) Tenants' Rights Unit. I welcome inquiries from fellow first-generation students pursuing graduate study in History.

Research Interests

  • Urban History
  • Migration Studies
  • Ethnic Studies

Prizes and Awards

2022          Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad  

                   Reinhard Bendix and Allan Sharlin Fellowship for Global, International & Area Studies

                   UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender Research Grant

                   Dr. Iris Hui Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship

2021          UC Berkeley Mentored Research Award

2020          Graduate Remote Instruction Innovation Fellowship

2019          Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award

2018          The New York Metro Leaders' Fellowship


Instructor of Record

          Atlantic Foodways, Freedom Summer Collegiate

Graduate Student Instructor

          History 146: Women and Gender in Latin America

          History 8B: Modern Latin America

          History 142: Cuba in World History

Graduate Student Reader

          History 125B: African American History and Race Relations