Riley McIsaac '09

Associate Director, HSI Grants Development
Riley McIsaac

"Pursuing my M.A. in Latin American Studies at UArizona was unquestionably one of the best decisions I have ever made. My two-year experience taught me an immeasurable amount – how to conduct research for my thesis project; the history of U.S. immigration policy; and the significance of the southern Arizona borderland region. It thoroughly prepared me for a career in academia. I fell in love with Tucson and UArizona the moment I arrived in August, 2007. I am proud to call myself a Wildcat and Tucsonan for life!"

Riley McIsaac currently serves as the Associate Director of Grants Development in the Office of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Initiatives at The University of Arizona (UArizona). In this role, Riley leads and implements grant development activities throughout the institution that support internal and external HSI capacity building efforts.

Riley has worked in higher education at UArizona for over 10 years, serving in various administrative capacities including grants administration, project and program management, and research lab management. From 2017-2020, she worked with a research team to submit 18 federal grant proposals totaling $19 million dollars, with $5.5 million successfully funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). While serving as the UArizona Program Manager of an NSF funded Scholarship-for-Service (SFS) CyberCorps program, Riley worked to diversify the scholarship recipients by targeted outreach and recruitment and thoughtful relationship building throughout the UArizona community and beyond. Prior to moving to Tucson to begin her M.A. in LAS, Riley worked in a refugee resettlement social services agency in Boston, MA, and in foreign exchange for high school students.

Riley is passionate about finding ways to remove systematic barriers that block equitable access to education, and creating culturally responsive pathways to success for underserved students. Areas of particular interest to her are strengthening pathways to increase undergraduate and graduate degree attainment in STEM fields for Hispanic/Latinx students and achieving racial equity in research.

Riley holds her B.A. from McGill University, where she double majored in Sociocultural Anthropology and English Literature, and an M.A. from The University of Arizona in LAS, focusing on U.S. Mexico border issues and immigration policy. She has lived in Ecuador and Peru and is fluent in the Spanish language.