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Marlene Mercado

Criminal Justice Research Fellow

Marlene is responsible for supporting the Criminal Justice Research Team across the Policing, Pretrial Justice, and the Corrections portfolios. Specifically, she helps research and analyze opportunities for high-impact philanthropic projects in the field of criminal justice.

Prior to joining Arnold Ventures, Marlene taught in the Chicana/o/x Studies Department at the University of California, Davis. Her courses included Chicanas in Politics and Policy and U.S.-Mexico Border Relations. While at UC Davis she also served as a research assistant to the Humanizando la Deportación community based digital storytelling project, the Mellon Research Initiative in Racial Capitalism, and the Open Letters from Prison Research Project.

Marlene was the recipient of the Chicana Latina Foundation Fellowship in 2020 and was the Olga Talamante Special Scholarship recipient for demonstrating a deep commitment to community based and oriented work. She was also selected as a fellow for the Women’s Fellowship through Community Change which builds the leadership of formerly incarcerated women of color, or those directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal legal system. Her participation in these two fellowships, and others, springs from Marlene’s deep commitment to community driven and oriented work which seeks to center the lived and embodied experiences of those most impacted by the criminal legal system.

Marlene received her doctorate in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. Her scholarship highlights what she calls “Chicana Carework” to delineate how Chicanas support their currently/formerly incarcerated loved ones and those subjected to premature death and the impact this carework has on them mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and financially.

Meet the Team

Criminal Justice

Headshot of Stephanie Akhter
Headshot of Kristin Bechtel
Headshot of Virginia Bersch
Headshot of Destiny Carter
Headshot of Ezekiel Edwards
Headshot of Jocelyn Fontaine
Headshot of Dina Grove
Headshot of Lauren Hardy
Headshot of Dylan Hayre
Headshot of Alexa Herzog
Headshot of Juliene James
Headshot of Nadege Joseph
Headshot of Walter Katz
Headshot of Cybele Kotonias
Headshot of Marc Krupanski
Headshot of Lindsey Lovel
Headshot of Alexius Marcano
Headshot of Carlton Miller
Headshot of Matthew Mizel
Headshot of Anita Ravishankar
Headshot of Rebecca Silber
Headshot of Jordan Simpson
Headshot of Jasmine Tran
Headshot of Jeremy Travis
Headshot of Asheley Van Ness
Headshot of Carson Whitelemons
Headshot of James Williams
Headshot of Dina Xie


Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.