Chávez earned a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies. She was a recipient of the University of California President’s Post Doctoral Fellowship (2014-2016) and a Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2014).
Since 2014, she has also collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution as a Digital Curator and Content Specialist for the Smithsonian Latino Center Mobile Broadcast Series. Her current ethnographic documentary project entitled Booming Bandas of Los Ángeles focuses on second-generation Zapotec brass bands in Los Angeles County, which documents how women and youth now fill the ranks of musicians and new leadership. See samples of Dr. Chávez's work below.