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Dissertation Fellow, 2012
Does the apple ever fall from the tree? A qualitative study of college-going processes
Abstract: This study investigates how students from varying backgrounds transition from a local high school to colleges and how various in- and out-of-school factors (e.g., relationships, school programs and practices, economics) shape their college-going processes. Data from formal and informal interviews of students and school personnel, document collection, participant-observations in various contexts, and surveys of participating students are used in this qualitative case study to describe and analyze the college-going processes of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students and their non-AVID, college-bound peers. A Bourdieuian theoretical framework is employed to provide a (re)productive analysis of how particular factors (e.g., students’ enrollment in high-track classes, relationships with individuals who share their knowledge of how to make students look competitive vis-à-vis other applicants, students’ access to financial assistance to pay college costs) shape these students’ college-going processes and result in either socially (re)productive or transformative processes and outcomes.
Sara Castro-Olivo, Ph.D.
Faculty Seed Grant Fellow, 2011
Title: Facilitating Universal Emotional Resiliency for the Social and Academic Success (FUERSAS) of Latino English Language Learners
This study consists of two phases. The first phase will evaluate the relationship of mental health, acculturative stress, and academic aspirations/outcomes of Latino high school students. This phase will function as a needs assessment and screening procedure for identifying youth at-risk for dropping out. Identified students will be invited to participate in phase II of the study, which will pilot the impact of a culturally adapted social-emotional learning intervention on students’ academic and social-emotional outcomes. Previous research has identified a significant correlation between Latino students’ mental health and acculturative stress. Both of these factors have been shown to have a negative impact on the academic performance of middle school Latino students (Albeg, 2010). It is hypothesized that mental health will be correlated with academic outcomes, and aspirations, of Latino high school students. The proposed intervention is expected to have positive effect on participating students’ social-emotional and academic outcomes.
Lindsey Malcom, Ph.D.
Faculty Seed Grant Fellow, 2009
Title: Moving Beyond Cultural Deficit Models to Understand the Formulation of College Financing Strategies among Latina/o Students: A Resource Mapping Approach
Abstract: This pilot study examines the ways in which social networks, access to information, and community, familial, and high school institutional contexts influence the formulation of college financing strategies for Latina/o students. The study builds upon the work of previous scholars who have identified these factors as vital to Latina/o students decisions about college and who have characterized college decision-making as a collaborative, socially mediated process. The study provides a qualitiative account of the experiences of rising Latina/o high school seniors as they formulate college financing strategies continuing until their college matriculation. Using network analysis, the project contributes to our understanding of the manner in which the nature and intensity of relations to various resources influence the perceptions, knowledge, and beliefs about financial aid of Latina/o students and the resulting development and implementation of college financing strategies. Preliminary results suggest that while all students in the sample were concerned about college costs and altered their college decision making based on these concerns, students with more extensive resource networks with a diverse range of ties (i.e., ties to institutional agents, ties to information sources on the internet, ties to pre-college programming, ties to peers, ties to college-attending siblings) applied to more postsecondary institutions and perceived that they had a broader range of college opportunities than those with limited resource networks with ties of one or two types (e.g., only ties to family; only ties to peers).
Dissertation Fellow, 2006
Dissertation: Enlisting Minority Students into Science Research: Federal Policy, Science Curriculum, and Minority Underrepresentation in the Sciences
Abstract: Despite three decades of federal efforts to equalize ethnic/racial representation in the sciences, college enrollment and graduation statistics show that, other than Asian Americans, all major minority groups continue to be severely underrepresented in science and science education. Few studies illuminate why these efforts have not significantly increased representation of minority groups. This dissertation seeks to address one facet of this knowledge gap. Through an ethnographic case study, this research examines the intended and unintended consequences of a major federal program designed to facilitate underrepresented minority students’ transition from undergraduate to graduate school in order for them to become research scientists. In particular, this dissertation will investigate: the role of federal minority programs in the undergraduate science context; the life and conditions for underrepresented minority students in college science; and, the policy implications of recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority students in the sciences.
Dissertation Fellow, 2006
Dissertation: Navigating Through Highly Unequal Terrain: Latinos and Latinas in Graduate Education
About: This study will investigate how University of California policies, as well as inequalities embedded in the graduate schooling process itself, impact the educational trajectories of Latino/a doctoral students. Research suggests that recent policies enacted by the University of California system, including budget cuts, narrowing of admissions criteria, and increases in student fees, threaten the academic presence of Latinos/as and other historically underrepresented students at the undergraduate level. Less concern and research, however, has focused on how these and other University of California policies also impact Latinos/as at the doctoral level. This dissertation will examine how University of California policies, as well as race, class, and gender inequities embedded in the graduate schooling process, impact Latinos/as’ access to, and experiences in, doctoral degree programs in the University of California system.