Kaitlyn Armendariz Shergill

MA, Cultural Heritage Scholar

Headshot of Kaitlyn Armendariz
  • WONDER HOUSE @ SXSW 2020 Talks:

    Decolonize Your Taco
    Talk and Tasting

    with Kaitlyn Armendariz and Rose Hattab

    Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m.
    - and - 
    Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m.


Explore the cultural legacy of the Sonoran Desert through the decolonization of southwestern cuisine while you learn and taste the history and foodway traditions of this unique region. 


Kaitlyn Armendariz Shergill holds a Master of Arts from the University of Arizona in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Southern Utah University. Kaitlyn has worked as an outreach scholar for the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies, has presented her work across the United States of America and internationally, and currently works as the Outreach and Engagement Manager under the Vice President of Health Sciences’ office at the University of Arizona. She specializes in the social role of art and the role that cultural heritage conservation plays in sustainable development. Her research focuses on policies of gentrification, sustainable tourism, and global intersections of conservation and management policies in relation to cultural heritage conservation. 

Kaitlyn is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation university student. Her experience as a Latina in America and her Hispanic heritage have been an inspiration in her research. Discussions on colonialism in college and graduate school prompted her to do intense research into the history of her family and their immigration to America and to Mexico. From hearing about her abuela’s (grandmother’s) experiences as a migrant worker to her abuelo’s (grandfather’s) Basque family fleeing persecution in Spain, she has been constantly surprised by what she has learned. Perhaps most surprising was her discovery that her family members were likely Crypto-Muslims who fled the inquisition in Spain for the safety of the New World, bringing with them a unique culture that was then blended with the culture of Mexico. Kaitlyn believes that by learning about the ties between all of our cultures, we can foster increased diversity and use history to build a more sustainable and tolerant future.