UCI School of Education home to most GRFP fellows in STEM Education and Learning Research for fifth time in past seven years.
“These three students are impressive scholars and it gives me great joy to see their hard work and dedication to their research literally pay off,” said Gillian Hayes, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division at UCI. “The School of Education is just one of many schools at UCI that continues to show its commitment to top-tier research. It’s truly special to be an Anteater.”
Cabrera, Carranza, and Wong each will receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 - which will go toward tuition, fees, and opportunities for international research and professional development.
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.
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.
“My interest in these research topics stems from my own struggles with identity as a Mexican-American woman in the educational spaces I have navigated and the important role that sources of support, such as my parents, played in my educational persistence,” Ramos Carranza said.
Ramos Carranza’s career goal is advocating for the educational success of underserved communities, particularly from the Latinx community.
She is advised by Professor Sandra Simpkins and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus Deborah Lowe Vandell.
Wong’s study will experimentally test the effectiveness of low-cost cardboard VR/AR simulations guided by IBL frameworks, utilizing transformative technologies to bridge the literature on digital media, cognition, and STEM education.
“My intervention consists of a VR field trip where students are transported to scientific phenomena around California, placing students right in the middle of geologic features such as slot canyons, waterfalls, and lakes,” Wong said. “Students then interact with AR by solving puzzles, answering questions, and using gestures to experience scientific inquiry through an innovative and entertaining content delivery platform.”
Wong’s career goal is bridging together his passion for digital media with science education to design effective immersive learning experiences representative of today’s student learning behaviors.
He is advised by Associate Professor Lindsey Richland.