Michelle Rivera is a champion for equity and inclusion across multiple public sectors. She is a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow (2017-2019) and the recently appointed Public Engagement Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at the Field Museum. She earned her doctorate in Communication from the Institute of Communications Research, with a graduate minor in Latina/o Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Trained as a qualitative researcher and communications practitioner, Dr. Rivera has taught and mentored communications, PR, advertising, media, and Latina/o studies students at the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan. 

In 2015-2016 she was named an Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) at the University of Michigan, where she was an Affiliate Faculty member in Digital Studies and a jointly appointed Postdoctoral Fellow/Visiting Scholar at the NCID and the Department of American Culture. Her focus on racial and ethnic marginalization in mainstream media led her to teach and write on this subject in academe. In particular, Dr. Rivera’s work sheds light on the complexities of Latinidad—challenging outmoded and static representations of authenticity that often circulate through Latin(x) popular culture, and which increasingly demand intervention in a global and digital age. 

She has been invited to present at media and communications conferences across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Finland, Australia, and Argentina. Her published work on global Latin(x) media and popular culture appears in Anti-fandom: Dislike and Hate in the Digital Age; 50 Events that Shaped Latino History: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic; The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Media; The Routledge international handbook of children, adolescents and media; and Seeing in Spanish: From Don Quixote to Daddy Yankee

She is currently writing a book manuscript that will comprise her research on digital audiences and the global crossover of reggaetón music. Dr. Rivera has served as an expert witness on reggaetón in the legal sector and has been interviewed on the subject for RazeTV, Billboard Magazine, Remezcla, and Fusion (now Splinter). 

In addition to her academic research, Dr. Rivera's consultative market research and analyses of wide-ranging datasets on US Latin/a(o) identity have contributed to the foundation the first ever Leadership Mastery Institute (LMI) in the Midwest—developed by Latinas On The Plaza—a non-profit organization dedicated to providing career development programs for women of color across professional sectors.

Articles, Publications, Appearances