About Me

"We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it." -Augusto Boal

I began teaching Sociology full-time with the Foothill De Anza district in 2004. I started off at Foothill and in 2008 moved over to the De Anza campus. I feel incredibly lucky to teach at De Anza because (believe it or not) I was once a student at De Anza. Like most of my students, my goal was to transfer to a University and De Anza helped me do that. I met wonderful instructors, got “turned on” to Sociology and for the first time in my life, was interested in school. I transferred to the University of California Berkeley where I studied Sociology and received my undergraduate degree in 2002. I loved my experience at U.C. Berkeley so much that I decided to apply there again for my graduate degree in Ethnic Studies. I graduated in 2004 with my Master’s in Ethnic Studies and in that same year was hired to teach full-time with our district.I grew up in San Jose and my family has deep roots there—my grandparents would migrate to work in the fields of Central Valley and the orchards of the South Bay. They would return home to Mexico in the winter.  At different points in their lives, my parents both migrated permanently to California in search of work. They did not know each other at the time of their migration journeys but eventually met at the Del Monte cannery in San Jose where they were both working, canning peaches. They settled in San Jose, had four of us kids, and raised us on immigrant, working class salaries. (This taught us all to “share” really well—none of us ever really had “our own” stuff! Even clothes were shared sometimes!) My parents were also active in their unions which led to my own political education at a very early age and activism later in life. I also think that growing up in a union household surrounded by people of all kinds was largely responsible for me becoming a sociologist!

When I am not in the classroom, meeting with students or grading papers, I enjoy being with my family. We love to get outdoors, cook together, and play with our 95 lb. beast of a mutt who thinks she is a lap dog. I also love the theater and take every opportunity to see local performances, particularly productions that star actors of color. If I weren't a sociologist, I would most definitely be a theater "nerd"--working in a theater in some capacity!

Classes I Teach

No Classes this quarter.

Faculty Info

Maristella ("Mari") Tapia

Maristella Tapia






  • BA Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley

Office Hours

Spring 2018

vary each quarter. Please check your syllabus or email me to confirm when they are.

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