Review Committee

The Américas Award is awarded based on the input of the Américas Award Review Committee, the members of which serve three-year terms.

Vicky Lowe (2022–2025)
Vicky Lowe currently teaches Spanish and Art at the Madeleine Choir School where she is the head of the Spanish department and Heritage Spanish program. She has taught K-8 for seventeen years. Her degrees are in Spanish teaching and Latin American Studies, and a Masters in Advanced Studies of Hispanic and Latin-American Literature. Her interest in teaching is rooted in her desire to guide a deep exploration of Latin American history, languages and cultures, including the understanding of indigenous perspectives and experiences. Vicky also collaborates with multiple organizations in Salt Lake City, Utah, including the Museum of Natural History, Arte de Mexico en Utah, Wasatch Community Gardens and PBS Utah, to develop curriculum, workshops and conversations with the community around indigenous knowledge and practices. Vicky’s life and work is directly influenced by her personal history. As the daughter of a Tseltal Maya indigenous mother and a caucasian archaeologist father, she has experienced various aspects of living and ancient Maya traditions. Witnessing the Zapatista uprising in her native Chiapas, Mexico, made her uniquely aware of the disparities and inequalities that indigenous people suffer, including her own family. Driven by her experience as an immigrant in the United States, she also aims to make visible, celebrate, and recognize the diverse identities of immigrant populations through her teaching. For Vicky, books help her understand and connect with her students and the world around her. Books are a portal to new adventures; sometimes she sees herself reflected on the characters and sometimes they are windows to see life through someone else’s history. Vicky is also a visual artist, loves good music, and spending time with her loved ones.

Cristina Rhodes (2022–2025)
Dr. Cristina Rhodes is an assistant professor of multi-ethnic American literature at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. She has published multiple academic articles on Latinx children’s literature, particularly thinking about how the Latinx youth body engages in changing the world. In addition to her scholarly writing, she is a regular contributor to Latinxs in Kid Lit, publishing reviews and original articles for teachers, librarians, and other consumers. She is also the book review co-editor for the academic journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature. Dr. Rhodes’s passion for Latinx children’s literature stems from the desire to ensure that other Latinx children, unlike herself, are able to see their realities represented in the books they read when they are still young.

Sergio Vasquez (2023-2025)
Born in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, México, Sergio moved to the United States at the age of 5. He currently works at Tulane University’s Center for Public Service where he helps manage the Service-Learning co-requisites, including, among others, the Latin American Studies courses. He previously spent nearly 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, 14 of those years in secondary education, where he helped establish the first all-boys’ high school in the Sacred Heart tradition, a tradition established by a religious congregation of women. Before Tulane, Sergio helped run Duchesne House for Volunteers, a ministry of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and has led workshops on the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart on 5 continents. He values cultural diversity and inclusion as an educational model. As an immigrant, Sergio found himself drawn to books and reading at a very early age: learning, and discovering about life, society, and culture. His role in Tulane’s Center for Public service allows him to stay connected with former Bayou Road neighbors like Community Book Center, where he shares the Community Book Center’s work of close to 40 years celebrating authors and literary icons, locally and internationally.

Shane Carter (2024-2026)
Shane Carter is the Program Coordinator for ORIAS. at the University of California, Berkeley. ORIAS offers educator resources and workshops focused on World History and other international topics on behalf of several area studies centers, including the Center for Latin American Studies. Prior to working for ORIAS, Shane spent two decades as a high school history-social studies teacher.