Currently, Rachel is pursuing a master's degree from the School of Social Service and Administration at the University of Chicago. Her graduate student research project focuses on the impacts of mainstream perceptions of human trafficking on individuals with lived experience. Before moving to Chicago, Ms. Baltazar received a bachelor's degree in psychology and feminist studies at the University of California. As an undergraduate student, Rachel worked as a research assistant on projects that centered on gender based violence, civic engagement, empowerment theory, and community based solutions. She also served as an intern and mentor for the Latinx Empowerment at De Anza (LEAD) program, where she assisted community college students in navigating higher education systems and solutions for community issues. Rachel continues to work with the LEAD program as a website manager and teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in Women Studies, Intercultural Studies, and English.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Rachel was heavily involved in grassroots organizing with the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action. As the student coordinator for the Institute, Ms. Baltazar worked with other organizations and gave expert testimony during state assembly on the impacts of policy implementation for higher education funding. These efforts resulted in policy changes to protect vulnerable students from being edged out of financial assistance. In addition, Rachel also worked with immigrant farm workers to improve work place conditions, and assisted in the lobbying efforts of undocumented students for the California Dream Act to improve financial aid benefits.