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Rafael Hernández
UC Santa Barbara/counseling, clinical and school psychology

Dissertation Fellow, 2013


Brianne Dávila
UC Santa Barbara/sociology

Dissertation Fellow, 2010

Dissertation: Negotiating ‘Special’ Identities: Structure and Agency in Special Education

Abstract: This study is a qualitative exploration and analysis of Latina/o student experiences in special education, specifically in the Resource Specialist Program (RSP) in an urban high school located in Southern California. Using an ethnographic approach, observations, in-depth interviews (with students, parents and teachers) and educational case studies are analyzed in order to determine the role of educational experiences and student interactions in shaping student identity, academic performance and motivation. I focus on the role of schools as social institutions, and teaching and learning as cultural practices in order to understand their role in the production of racially gendered identities for Latina/o students enrolled in special education. This research contributes to the sociological and educational literature that seeks to challenge deficit notions traditionally attributed to the educational outcomes of Latina/o students and expose the way social institutions and interactions shape the life opportunities of Latina/o students enrolled in special education.

Mary M. Bucholtz, Ph.D., and Jin Sook Lee, Ph.D.
UC Santa Barbara/linguistics and education

Faculty Seed Grant Fellows, 2010

Title: School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society (SKILLS)

The proposed project is the pilot phase of an intervention enhancing college opportunities for high school students of diverse economic, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. SKILLS centers on an innovative and rigorous college-level curriculum in linguistics, supported by intensive academic mentoring. Teams of Graduate Student Teaching Fellows, undergraduate assistants, and Master Teachers in ninth- through twelfth-grade social studies classrooms in Santa Barbara County teach linguistic concepts and methods using a hands-on, technologically cutting-edge curriculum that gives students extensive experience in college-level work. Students carry out and present original empirical linguistic research on scientific, social-scientific, and humanistic/ artistic aspects of the language and culture used in their peer groups, homes, and local communities. They thereby gain a deep understanding of linguistic phenomena, the research process, and academic communication from diverse disciplinary perspectives. In addition, students’ enhanced appreciation of their linguistic heritage and their own linguistic expertise helps foster their multicultural college-going identities.



Michelle Samura
UC Santa Barbara/education

Dissertation Fellow, 2007

Dissertation: Architecture of Diversity: Dilemmas of Race and Space for Asian American Students in Higher Education

Abstract: Significant increases in Asian American college enrollment have created a veil of success often concealing a variety of tensions and dilemmas that many Asian American college students wrestle with—dilemmas that stem from their achievement, on the one hand, and their inability to escape processes of racialization on the other. By highlighting the multiple salience of higher education for Asian Americans, this study aims to examine how Asian American students work to understand, negotiate, and contest their racial identities given their fluctuating status within the larger US racial system. Bringing together three distinct and usually separate perspectives to frame this project—symbolic interactionism, group position model, and spatial analysis—this study gathers data from a large public university in the form of in-depth interviews, surveys, ethnographic observations, and cognitive mapping in order to: 1) examine how Asian Americans college students navigate through physical and social spaces; and 2) explore what it means to be Asian American in spaces where inclusion and mobility, while highly sought after, remain problematic.

Juliet Williams, Ph.D.
UC Santa Barbara/women's studies

Faculty Seed Grant Fellow, 2007

Title: Making a Difference: The Fall and Rise of Single-Sex Public Education in the United States

With the support of the UC ACCORD Faculty Seed Grant, I am developing a research proposal to assess the success of middle school single-sex education initiatives in promoting access to higher education for historically underrepresented students. My study focuses on the effectiveness of a distinctive model of single-sex education which in recent years has emerged as the dominant approach used in public school settings-a model which employs sex segregation in the classroom but does not otherwise address sex and gender differences or inequalities as part of the official curriculum and pedagogy (see Datnow et. al. 2001). The fieldwork for this project will be based at Excel Charter Academy in East Los Angeles, a newly opened public charter middle school serving students mainly from low-income Latino families in the surrounding area.



Jessica Singer
UC Santa Barbara/education

Dissertation Fellow, 2006

Dissertation: Literacy Sponsorship and First Generation Latino College Writers

Abstract: There is great need for educators and researchers to understand the kinds of classroom experiences that Latino students encounter in K-College that reinforce their literacy growth. This dissertation is a retrospective interview study of ten Latino college students and the factors that led their college professors to judge them as outstanding writers. The participants have made it past various social and academic barriers to attend and succeed in a prestigious four-year university. All of the students come from low-income families with little or no formal education in high poverty communities, and spoke no English at the time of entrance to school. This research will contribute to the diversity of literacy studies by providing concrete examples of the interactions and processes that mentors use to assist Latino students develop superior writing skills. Findings yielded from this dissertation may have significant implications for writing instruction and interventions for Latino students in K-College classrooms.

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