Alicia Gaspar de Alba is an award-winning novelist as well as a professor and poet. Gaspar de Alba was born in El Paso, Texas on July 29, 1958. She taught English to Mexican executives and staff members of General Motors' maquiladoras at the Instituto Interlingua in Juarez, Chihuahua from 1978-1980. In 1979, The National Research Council (NRC) in Washington, DC offered her a Ford Foundation fellowship for minorities due to her excellent academic performance. She earned her B.A. in English in 1980 and M.A. in English in 1983 from the University of Texas in El Paso. She enrolled as a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Iowa in 1985 but then quit a year later due to culture shock. Afterward, Gaspar de Alba returned to her doctoral studies in American Studies, this time at the University of New Mexico, where she graduated with distinction. She focused her research on Chicano/a art, pop culture, literature, and writing. For her dissertation, "Mi Casa [No] Es Su Casa: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation Exhibit," she won the Ralph Henry Gabriel American Studies Dissertation Fellowship in 1993, a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1993, and a Chicana Dissertation Fellowship from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1992. It was named the Best Dissertation in the field of American Studies in 1994. The University of Texas Press published the dissertation as a book, titled Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master's House: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition, in January 1998.
From the guide to the Alicia Gaspar de Alba Collection of Maquiladora Murders Research Materials Collection, 2005, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA)