PhD students Sabrina Solanki and David Liu will present their research at the National Graduate Student Lecture Series at UC Santa Barbara on April 18. The theme of the lecture series is "ExpandED: Broadening the Understanding of Today's Educational Issues." The series features graduate students from across the U.S. discussing their ongoing research, much of which is dedicated to improving diversity and equity in education. The theme of the April 18 event, the second event of the series, is “Helping Special Populations Succeed in K-12.”
Sabrina Solanki is a fourth year PhD in Education student, pursuing a specialization in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC). Her research interests include teacher effectiveness, student school-to-work transitions, and educational incentives. Ms. Solanki is advised by Professor George Farkas and Assistant Professor Di Xu. During her presentation, Ms. Solanki will describe her STEM research at UCI and suggest ways to promote student integration and success at the university level.
Abstract: Low rates of STEM persistence in college have called upon researchers, policymakers, and higher education administrators to consider and evaluate effective, evidence-based solutions. Although an extensive theoretical literature and qualitative evidence points to learning communities as a promising strategy to improve persistence and academic success in college, rigorous quantitative evidence on the impacts of these programs in STEM education is limited. In this lecture, the speaker will discuss the evaluation of a two-year learning communities program for incoming Biological Sciences majors at a large public university in California. Students and community members will learn about ways to successfully promote student academic and social integration to the University and how both components are important in order to foster positive student outcomes, particularly for students least likely to succeed in college.
David Liu is a fourth year PhD in Education student, pursuing a specialization in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development (LTCD). His research interests include science education, out-of-school time activities, and diversity and equity. Mr. Liu is advised by Assistant Professor Hosun Kang. At the lecture series, Mr. Liu will share findings from his introduction of a STEM afterschool program targeting upper elementary Latina females.
Abstract: Dominant discourses have unfairly framed Latinas and their communities as not being able to successfully in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These discourses overlook the fact that Latinas carry incredibly rich cultural resources and practices that policymakers, researchers, and educators may leverage to create opportunities for their deep and meaningful engagement in STEM. The first part of this talk will report an investigation of the cultural resources and practices that six fifth grade Latinas leverage to engage in STEM learning activities across settings. The second part of the talk will discuss a design experiment that David is currently implementing as an outreach program in a research practice partnership. Finally, David will discuss preliminary findings of how to support Latinas’ STEM engagement, discuss forming a research practice partnership, and how design based research can be used for educational research.
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