Cabrera is a second-year doctoral student specializing in Human Development in Context (HDiC). Her GRFP research, titled “Understanding Latina Doctoral Online Support,” will build on research she conducted during her first year of doctoral study recruiting and interviewing Latinas in U.S. doctoral programs via a private Facebook group.
“I learned that a shared space with other Latinas offered support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging even for those who just lurked and did not directly interact with others,” Cabrera said.
In response to the underrepresentation of Latinas in STEM doctoral programs, their unique needs as women and scholars of color, the high prevalence of social media use nationally, and evidence that viewing alone can be highly beneficial, Cabrera plans to use Instagram to create a Latina STEM doctoral community that will test how an online environment can provide support for Latinas in U.S. doctoral programs.
“This project is inspired by my aspiration to be a university professor. As a Latina faculty member at a research university, I will help cultivate diversity within academia and hope to serve as a mentor for the new generation of women of color pursuing higher education,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera is advised by Associate Professor Stephanie Reich.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The program is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various STEM fields. Fellows are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. For more information, please click here.