Vanessa Padilla

Thesis - "A Tale of Two Cities: Richmond, California and Flint, Michigan"

Vanessa Padilla’s senior thesis borrows themes from Charles Dickens’s timeless novel, A Tale of Two Cities, to understand the disproportionate environmental burdens carries by communities of color in Richmond, California and Flint, Michigan. Focusing on the water crisis in Flint and the toxic air pollution in Richmond, Vanessa’s comparative interdisciplinary thesis unpacks the history of each crisis against a backdrop of scientific data, media representation, political rhetoric, and private corruption.

Area of Concentration - Urban Communities and Education

African American Studies C133: Race, Identity, and Culture in Urban Schools

Chicano Studies 159 : Mexican Immigration

Chicano Studies 172: Chicanos and the Educational System

Education 140AC: Literacy: Individual and Societal Development

Education 190: Critical Studies in Education

Sociology 130AC: Social Inequalities: American Cultures




Vanessa Padilla

The summer after graduation Vanessa immersed herself in French language and culture while living in Paris.  On her return to the states, Vanessa continues to intern for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, serving constituents in San Francisco.  Vanessa plans to pursue a degree in environmental law, so that she can advocate for people who face environmental crises like those she addressed in her senior thesis.