Enrique Alan Olivares-Pelayo was born in Tucson and is proud to call the Old Pueblo home. He is a writer, poet, activist and public speaker determined to reduce the size and scope of the criminal punishment system. In addition to his studies, Enrique is the lead organizer for the ReFraming Justice project at American Friends Service Committee – Arizona, where he dedicates himself to advocacy through the empowerment and elevation of voices from marginalized communities.
Enrique is graduating summa cum laude with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and creative writing. He also has completed the Professional and Technical Writing Certificate. Enrique is a recipient of the Elaine A. Bychinsky Promising Writer Award, the Emma Lou Fielder Scholarship in Literature, the Richard Garcia Memorial Scholarship, the Richard Kissling Spirit of Inquiry Endowed Scholarship and the Maya Smith-Dolana Memorial Award in Creative Writing. A member of both the Honors College and the English Honors Program, Enrique's honors thesis is a work of creative nonfiction that draws from his own life and grapples with the themes of addiction, incarceration and identity.
Enrique's experiences surviving addiction, and the four years he spent as a prisoner in the Arizona Department of Corrections, inform his research interests in creative nonfiction, cultural geography, carceral landscapes and autoethnography. As a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program, Enrique focused his research on qualitative methods to explore race inside Arizona's prisons. His work as a McNair Scholar culminated with "Carceral Geographies from Inside Prison Gates: The Micro-Politics of Everyday Racialization,'' which was co-authored with Dr. Stefano Bloch of the School of Geography, Development and Environment and published in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography.
After graduation, Enrique will pursue graduate studies in the Accelerated Master of Arts in English program while remaining a committed advocate for restorative justice and community safety. He wishes to express his deep gratitude to his parents, his family, friends and faculty mentors at both Pima Community College and the University of Arizona.