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Dissertation Fellow, 2013
Dissertation: Building a College Culture in an Under-Resourced High School: Informing Latina/o College Choices and Enrollments
Abstract: This dissertation examines how educators in an urban high school with limited access to resources build a school culture to improve college preparation. At the organizational level, this qualitative case study reveals how school leaders conceptualize and build a college culture in a majority Latina/o high school. At the student level, this study identifies how the school culture informs the college choices and enrollments of Latinas/os. The study integrates critical race theory, school culture, and the three-phase college choice model to develop a guiding theoretical framework. Data for this study derive from two oral history interviews with 57 high school seniors, semi-structured interviews with 18 practitioners and administrators, and school observations over the course of a school year. Preliminary findings indicate that although the high school site is building a college-going culture, disjointed efforts limit the culture and Latina/o college choices and enrollments.
Dissertation Fellow, 2008
Dissertation: The ‘Other’ at Home: The Construction of the Label ‘Muslim’ as an Emergent Racial Signifier
Abstract: Through this study I ask how this racialization process of Muslim college students in Southern California is occurring. I will engage this research through a mixed methods study employing analysis of two preexisting data sets and the collection of interview and focus group data from Muslim college students on three campuses in Southern California. To explore the questions within my study I utilize a theoretical approach drawing from multiple traditions to construct a more complex picture of Muslim college students. I utilize aspects of socio-cultural learning theory, critical race theories, post-colonialism and critical pedagogies. This project addresses questions including: how do Muslim college students characterize the U.S. culture’s representations of the ‘Muslim’ in the post-9/11 period; how do Muslim college students construct their own racial/racialized identities, and how are these racialized characterizations and identities reflected in the daily lives of Muslim college students?
Walter Allen and Robert Teranishi
UCLA/sociology and education
Title: The Educational Experiences and Postsecondary Opportunities of Southeast Asian Students
This study examines the educational experiences and postsecondary opportunities of Southeast Asian (i.e. Laotians, Hmong, Cambodians, and Vietnamese) students in California. Using interviews and surveys along with state and national data bases, the study explores students’ educational preparation and aspirations for education beyond high school.
Dissertation Fellow, 2002
Dissertation: Do You See What I See? A Qualitative Study of Black and Latino Adolescents’ Identity Formation
Abstract: This study will inform our understanding of the nuances of race and ethnicity in schools, specifically how young people’s racial identity is shaped by their high school context , how it is influenced by peers, and how it impacts students’ conceptions of themselves as college-going young people. Depending on what the adolescents reveal as salient, the study may help schools develop ways to connect students’ racial and ethnic identity formation to college preparation and the development of a college-going identity, including providing multicultural and multilingual social supports and diverse ethnic and gender relationships with adult workers and educators at schools
Dissertation Fellow, 2007
Dissertation: Opportunities to Teach, Grow and Transform: Exploring the Relationship Among School Conditions, Teachers’ Social Networks, and Teachers’ Careers
Abstract: High school reform and teacher development/retention are two pressing issues in urban education. This study explores the relationship among school conditions, teachers’ social networks, and teacher development/retention in the context of a secondary reform—the creation of small, autonomous high schools—that is part of both a community-backed effort to improve educational opportunities for local, predominantly Latino students and a national trend among urban school districts. The mixed methods research design includes a social network survey administered to roughly 100 teachers at the large, comprehensive urban high school undergoing reform and longitudinal case studies that chronicle four of those teachers’ experiences as they move across school contexts and work to expand opportunities to teach and learn for themselves and their students. Thus, this study seeks to yield findings that will inform ongoing reform efforts and extend existing research concerning the role of social relations in supporting teacher development/retention and urban high school reform.
UC Berkeley/social welfare
Dissertation Fellow, 2011
Dissertation: School-Based Health and Social Services: Reducing or Reproducing Inequality in Education?
Abstract: Given persistent racial and ethnic disparities in access to health and social services, scholars and advocates have long argued that intensive school-based support programs are a critical condition for the academic success of disadvantaged students of color. Yet surprisingly little is known about the actual dynamics of service delivery and use in educational settings, particularly across race and ethnicity. Administrative data from health and social programs in a large urban school district indicates that the provision of services in schools does improve access for historically underserved groups. However, the dramatic overrepresentation of Black and Latino youth in the most stigmatized and problem-focused services, such as individual psychotherapy, may be cause for concern. Drawing on institutional theory and research from special education, this study will use archival, administrative, and survey data to examine school processes that contribute to differential patterns of student participation by race and ethnicity.
Dissertation Fellow, 2008
Dissertation: A Social Justice High School: The Construction and Socialization of a College Going Culture
Abstract: With many urban schools that primarily serve diverse students being designated as low performing it becomes paramount to examine how the day-to-day conditions at these schools impact minority students’ preparedness, eligibility, and competitiveness for college admission. The proposed dissertation reports on a three and a half year ethnographic study that follows the establishment and eventual closure of one such small school, Panther High School, in Oakland, CA. The study focuses on the creation, co-construction, and socialization of college going identities among Latina/o and African American students. The dissertation examines these processes primarily by looking at language use, literacy practices, and critical discourses of academic achievement in the lived experiences of these students in their school and neighborhood communities. A close examination of these processes offers insight to researchers, educators, policy makers, and community organizers on the critical conditions and transitions of these underrepresented youth in pursuing a higher education.
Margarita Azmitia, Ph.D., Holli A. Tonyan, Ph.D., and Olaf Reis, Ph.D.
UC Santa Cruz/psychology
Faculty Augmentation Grant, 2002
Title: The Role of Social Support in Under-represented Minority Students’ Adjustment, Identity, Grades, and Retention in Their First Year of College
Compounding the disproportionately low rates of Under-represented minorities’ (URMs’) admissions into the UC system is their lower rate of college retention and completion. This study will follow URMs during their first year of UCSC enrollment, "mapping the ebbs and flows" in their social support networks, and how these impact students’ identity and self-esteem, adjustment, mental health and grades. These data will reveal much about URM’s response adjustment to college life and may suggest policies or interventions that can enhance their experiences and retention.