Bio: Payton Phillips García

I am a full-time Lecturer in the University of Southern California’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, a recent graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program, and a third-generation Angelena of Danish-Mexican-Irish descent. My father is a guitarist, and my mother is a high school English instructor.

I graduated from Occidental College, Los Angeles in 2002 with a degree in Urban and Environmental Policy. My senior thesis, “Notice of Displacement: The Real Cost of the Staples Center,” arose from a two-year community organizing internship with the Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice during which I worked with residents displaced by the Staples Center. I also participated in the campaign that resulted in the historic community benefits agreement signed between the Arena and the Coalition. 

After college, I began my professional teaching career with InsideOut Writers as a creative writing instructor to High Risk Offenders in Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Halls. After earning my California State Teaching Credential in Secondary Social Science from California State University Northridge’s Accelerated Collaborative Teaching (ACT) Preparation Program, I taught history and constitutional law in James Monroe High School’s Law and Government/Police Academy Magnet (LAUSD). Upon enrolling in graduate studies at USC, I began teaching part-time in District continuation and community day schools. I later accepted a position as Assistant Lecturer of Spanish at USC.  

My current research interests include: the Central American community of Los Angeles (including the Garifuna community), the American Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, and the poetry and prose of Central America and the Caribbean.


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