My name is Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr.
I am a father and a husband, a brother and a son, a teacher and a scholar, and a Chicano. I am the second of three children born to two Chicanos from East Los Angeles, and the grandson of Mexican immigrants who arrived to California in the early and mid 20th century. I’m a native Californian who grew up in the town of La Puente, lived a decade in Northern California, and now calls the L.A. Southland home (again).
I view my role as a teacher as my chosen vocation. I view teaching as a collaborative process of fostering learning in others. I hope to nurture a critical and empathic form of humanism–what I call “Chicana/o critical humanism.” I am trained as a historian, though I view the study of the past as a form of activism in the present. I am less concerned with disciplinary boundaries than with the development of scholarship that speaks to our continuing struggles for equity, for human dignity, for justice.
I am the product of education and a living testament to the kinds of transformative power it can possess. As a child, no one in my immediate family could call themselves a “college graduate.” Today, all five of us hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, including two who continued to earn a Ph.D., and two who earned an M.A. This is more than our collective achievement, it has framed our very access to the privileges of this society. My commitment to teaching and learning emanates from this experience, as does my dedication to quality and accessible education for all.
I attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School and Bishop Amat Memorial High School, both in La Puente. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Claremont McKenna College in 1994, with a double major in History and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). I then studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where I received both a M.A. degree (1996) and a Ph.D. (2002) in United States History.
I have been actively employed in higher education since 1995, beginning first as a teaching assistant at UC Berkeley, and then as an instructor, both at Cal and at Vista Community College (now Berkeley City College). I accepted my first tenure-track teaching position when I joined the faculty of California State University, Monterey Bay in August 2002. At CSUMB I worked as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Humanities and Communication, or HCOM. I served as the coordinator of the Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Program and taught courses in the Department of New Humanities for Social Justice, where I also served as founding chair.
In January 2006, I joined the faculty of Pomona College, one of the collection of higher education institutions collectively known as the “Claremont Colleges.” I hold a joint appointment in the History Department and the Intercollegiate Department of Chicana/o ~ Latina/o Studies, where I teach classes primarily focused on Latina/o History. In 2012 I was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor.
Along with my wife and our three children, I live peacefully in Pomona, California.