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UC research group announces newest fellows


Contact Claudia Bustamante | 310-267-4408

University of California research group announces newest fellows working to promote
educational access, equity and diversity in California schools

Collage of 2011 fellowsLOS ANGELES (Nov. 3, 2011)—A diverse group of researchers from multiple University of California campuses were awarded grants for their work in addressing educational inequalities.

UC/ACCORD All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity awarded 13 dissertation fellowships to doctoral students from UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine. Their fields of study include education, sociology and social welfare. A faculty seed grant, which supports initial stages of research, was also awarded to a UC Riverside professor working with Latino high school students and the correlation between their mental health and academic success.

“The strength of the UC system is its ten campuses,” said Daniel G. Solórzano, UC/ACCORD director and professor of education at UCLA. “Identifying young researchers and faculty who are at the cutting-edge of research in educational access, equity and diversity in California public schools takes advantage of that strength.”

This year’s fellows will present their work at the 11th annual UC/ACCORD Conference held in Lake Arrowhead Nov. 4-6.

UC/ACCORD seeks to increase the number of graduate students and faculty within the UC system whose scholarship inform critical conditions for enhancing college opportunities, transitions in the lives of underrepresented students, and issues related to making higher education accessible to all Californians. The Dissertation Fellowship and Faculty Seed Grant recipients engage in research that will support and inform Californians’ efforts to replace prevailing patterns of schooling inequality and disparities in access to higher education with equitable conditions and outcomes for children from all sectors of the state.

Since 2001, UC/ACCORD has awarded 88 dissertation fellowships, 11 postdoctoral fellowships and 24 faculty seed grants totaling about $2.7 million.

Thirteen dissertation fellowships were awarded to the following doctoral students:

Yolanda Anyon
is a doctoral student at the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include racial and ethnic disparities, school-based interventions and positive youth development. Anyon’s dissertation examines the help-seeking pathways of low-income youth of color in educational settings, considering the influence of school context on students’ use of school-based health and social service programs.
Dissertation: School-Based Health and Social Services: Reducing or Reproducing Inequality in Education?

Melanie Bertrand is a doctoral student in Urban Schooling at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Using ethnography and Critical Discourse Analysis, she studies the potential of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR)—youth-driven, collective research and advocacy—to challenge systemic racism in education.
Dissertation: Working Toward Change: Youth Researchers Challenging Systemic Racism in Education

Manuelito Biag is a doctoral student in School Organization and Educational Policy at UC Davis’ School of Education. His research interests include the organization of schools, school health programs and policies, and the connections among young people's health, psychosocial development, and educational trajectories.  His current research examines data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health to determine how use of school health services shape students' academic outcomes.
Dissertation: Adolescent Well-Being and School Connectedness: Implications for School Practices and Policies

Jessica Cobb is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley. Cobb’s research interests include the sociology of childhood and education. Her dissertation employs in-depth interviews to explore the subjective experiences of teachers in three racialized-class segregated schools in Southern California, especially in terms of how teachers think about their work and inequality.
Dissertation: Shocking Inequality: Teachers’ Subjective Experiences of Unequal Schools

Rhoda Freelon is a doctoral student in Urban Schooling at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Freelon’s research uses quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches to explore African American parent engagement and the intersection of race- and class-based educational inequality.
Dissertation: Shaping the Lives of their Children: How African American Parents Make Emotional Investments

Elizabeth Gilliland is a doctoral student in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the UC Davis School of Education, with designated emphases in Second Language Acquisition and Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Gilliland studies how high school second language writers, particularly long-term English language learners, understand academic language and writing. Her research focuses on how federal and state language and education policies affect English language learners' access to quality literacy instruction and, consequently, their preparation for college-level writing demands.
Dissertation: Talking about Writing: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Adolescents’ Socialization into Academic Literacy

Sera Hernández is a doctoral student in Language, Literacy, and Culture at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on U.S. language politics and how they impact language use and literacy practices in homes and schools. Her dissertation examines how educational discourse and policies influence interactions between the home and school for Mexican immigrant families with children in middle school, and the implications of these day-to-day interactions on the families’ long-term educational expectations.
Dissertation: Beyond Risks and Resources: Educational Discourse and the Construction of the Home-School Relationship for Mexican Immigrant Families

Kim Nga Huynh
is a doctoral student in Policy and Organizations Research at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Huynh’s research interests include community colleges, school organization, remediation, marginalized youths, and the role of teacher/faculty beliefs in the education process. Her dissertation research highlights transitional periods; specifically examining how new community college students perceive opportunities and constraints within their respective institution, and the ways they adapt to institutional weaknesses.
Dissertation: Stepping Stones to a Baccalaureate

Edward Lyon is a doctoral student in Mathematics and Science Education at UC Santa Cruz’s Education Department. Lyon's research interest involves understanding how k-12 science teachers can assess in ways that are consistent with science education reform and equitable for English learners. His dissertation research studies 11 secondary science preservice teachers and draws upon assessment construction, use, and equity as theoretical lenses to explore in what ways the teachers’ assessment expertise changed during their teacher education program.
Dissertation: Shifting from Assessment as Evaluation to Assessment as a Vehicle for Science Learning and Equity: Changes in Secondary Science Preservice Teachers’ Assessment Expertise

Danny C. Martínez is a doctoral student in Urban Schooling at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Martínez’ research documents the diverse language and literacy practices of youth from non-dominant groups in and out of schools. His dissertation examines patterns of intercultural communication between black and Latino youth, the diverse ways these youth become communicatively competent members of their various communities, and the youth’s underlying language ideologies.
Dissertation: Expanding Linguistic Repertoires: An Ethnography of Black and Latino Intercultural Communication at Willow High School

Tina Matuchniak
is a doctoral student specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology at UC Irvine’s Department of Education. Matuchniak’s research examines the impact of high school English language learners’ writing practices and performances on their ability to gain access to and succeed in college. Matuchniak’s interests include studying effective language and literacy interventions at the secondary school level, understanding factors that promote effective transition from high school and college, and investigating the impact of literacy preparation on college retention and persistence.
Dissertation: Mind the Gap: A Cognitive Strategies Approach to College Writing Readiness

Ronald K. Porter is a doctoral student in the Social and Cultural Studies at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. His research interests include African-American educational thought and critical theories of race, gender and sexuality. Porter’s dissertation research traces the intellectual history of African-American educational thought looking specifically at the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke and James Baldwin.
Dissertation: Contested Humanity: Blackness and the Educative Remaking of the Human in the 20th Century

Femi Vance is a doctoral student in Educational Policy and Social Context at UC Irvine’s Department of Education. Her research interests include the quality of after-school programs, attracting adolescents to after-school programs, and the use of positive youth development approach in educational settings. Vance relies on her research to inform her work with after-school programs in Southern California, where she provides professional development and program improvement strategies.
Dissertation: Adolescent Skill-Building and the Persistence in Youth Programs

The Faculty Seed Grant for the 2011-12 year was awarded to Sara Castro-Olivo, an assistant professor in School Psychology at UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education. Her project—Facilitating Universal Emotional Resiliency for the Social and Academic Success (FUERSAS) of Latino English Language Learners—will identify high school students at risk of dropping out and study the impacts of cultural and social interventions. Born and raised in El Salvador, Castro-Olivo came to the United States at 14 and experienced firsthand the social and emotional impact of being an immigrant and English language learner. Her research focuses on promoting social-emotional and academic resiliency among culturally and linguistically diverse populations.


Contact Claudia Bustamante | 310-267-4408

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