Dr. Victor Rios

Dr. Victor Rios is MacArthur Foundation Chair and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.   He received his Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley in 2005.  Professor Rios has worked with local school districts to develop programs and curricula aimed at improving the quality of interactions between authority figures and youths.  Using his personal experience of living on the streets, dropping out of school, and being incarcerated as a juvenile—along with his research findings—he has developed interventions for marginalized students aimed at promoting personal transformation and civic engagement. These programs have been implemented in Los Angeles, California (Watts); juvenile detention facilities; and alternative high schools.  He is also the author of six books including, My Teacher Believes in Me: The Educator’s Guide to At-Promise Students (2019); Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D. (2011); Buscando Vida, Encontrando Éxito: La Fuerza de La Cultura Latina en la Educación (2016); and Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth (2017).

Dr. Rios has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ted Talks, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Primer Impacto, and National Public Radio.  He has had the honor of meeting President Obama and advising his administration on gun violence and policing.  His Ted Talk “Help for kids the education system ignores” has garnered over 1.7 Million views.  He is the subject of the documentary film The Pushouts (thepushouts.com), airing on national TV (PBS) in 2019 and 2021. He recently provided the keynote address for the California School Board Association.