Rebecca Hope Morales


Rebecca Morales, PhD, a native San Diegan, moved from the working-class Mexican neighborhood of Barrio Logan to the wealthy seaside community of La Jolla when she was young, giving her a unique perspective on life.

She obtained a B. Architecture from U.C. Berkeley, an M.A. from U.C.L.A. in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in Urban and Regional Planning, making her the first on both sides of her family to receive a Ph.D. and the first Latina in the U.S. to earn a Ph. D. in Urban and Regional Planning.

She taught at U.C.L.A., the Claremont Graduate School, and the University of Illinois at Chicago where her research and coursework focused on community, regional, economic, and industrial development with an emphasis on the impact of industrial change on regions and communities, and issues of growing inequality.

Rebecca co-founded New Economics for Women, Inc., the nation’s largest non-profit aimed at securing housing, income, and wealth creation for low-income Latinas and their families. She was also a co-founder of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, the first nationwide consortium of university programs directed at supporting research and policies affecting Latinos in the U.S.

Through her examination of undocumented immigrants in a changing Los Angeles automobile industry, and later, design of the National Center for Industrial Innovation for the Mexican Sub-Secretariat of Trade and Industry, Dr. Morales became known for innovative and insightful approaches to understanding trends and solutions. She authored, co-authored, and (co)edited a number of books, chapters, articles and reports including: Stealing Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to the Gran Torino; Borderless Borders: U.S. Latinos, Latin Americans, and the Paradox of Interdependence; Flexible Production: Restructuring of the International Automobile Industry; and Latinos in a Changing U.S. Economy: Comparative Perspectives on Growing Inequality.

Rebecca lives in the historic mountain community of Julian in rural San Diego County where she undertakes research, engages in art, and writes novels. She co-curated the exhibit, In Plain Sight: Mexicano/Chicano Stories in San Diego, shown at the La Jolla Historical Society from February to May 2018. Pacific Rim Park: The Transformative Power of Art, a book about the work of Julian artist, James Hubbell, will be available at the end of 2018. She is currently working on a suspense novel, El Dorado, a story of extreme peril and hard choices confronting a young and brave Latina, Isabella Durango, who exposes unethical bio-prospectors taking advantage of shaman in Colombia. This book is part of a series of suspense novels with Isabella as the protagonist based on international industrial competition and crime.