Iliana Vasquez is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a first-year graduate student at the UT Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS). Prior to attending UT, she was a Mexican American Studies (MAS) undergraduate at the University of Texas-Pan American. She will be serving as a Program Intern this Spring and will be assisting with this year’s Big Squeeze program.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Iliana is deeply passionate about regional Tejano music. Her participation in last year’s Big Squeeze program prompted her decision to return for this year’s festivities. Her passion for music has also extends into her academic work. Her intended research emphasis is in Tejano music, performance, and identity. Her inspiration to pursue this type of research came from her childhood spent in her grandparent’s home in La Grulla, TX who first exposed her to her Mexican American roots through music. Listening to el toca discos (the record player) play old Tony de la Rosa vinyl records and witnessing her uncles getting into heated vocal competitions as a child left an indelible mark on her that forever correlated music and culture with family.