• Immigrant origin students, Youth Participatory Action Research, & community knowledge
    P.I: Dr. Saskias Casanova, Assistant Professor
    Role: Lead Graduate Student Researcher

    Minoritized students can engage in research and are the experts in identifying the topics that affect their communities. Thus, we collaborated with middle school students, primarily Latinx students, to explore how Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) fosters belonging among students and their family members. YPAR involves collaborating with youth to research issues related to their lived experiences. The knowledge constructed using research aims to help youth resist oppression by acting toward social justice. Eight middle students were involved in an after-school class focusing on research, college preparation, and community building. They developed a research project on bullying at their school due to race, gender, and sexual orientation. Our project aims to assist educators and administrators develop more inclusive learning environments and the importance of research and action for students. For more information, visit M.I.E.L.

  • Transfer Student Receptivity at UCSC
    P.I: Dr. Saskias Casanova, Assistant Professor
    Role: Graduate Student Researcher
    Project: Infographic

    This research is in collaboration with UCSC’s Cultivamos Excelencia Hispanic Serving Institution Initiative to understand the experiences of transfer students of color to cultivate positive transfer student outcomes. For the first phase of this project, our results highlight that staff are under-resourced and unsure of how to develop and direct services for transfer students of color. Staff reflect on needing more institutional support to address the needs of transfer students of color and increasing their knowledge about resources and barriers faced by these students. Currently, we are analyzing qualitative data from transfer focus groups. For more information, visit M.I.E.L.

  • UndocuPAR Project: Exploring family strengths among undocumented community college students
    Role: Lead Researcher

    Research focusing on undocumented college students has primarily centered on the experiences of students who attend four-year institutions. Yet, most undocumented college students attend community college after graduating from high school. One of this project's goals is to further explore the experiences and challenges undocumented community college students face and highlight institutional policies and resources that address those challenges. Previous research has also found that family is often a source of optimism and perseverance, but universities rarely engage families. Therefore, in this study, we ask: How can institutions of higher education involve families and foster belonging within these spaces among these families and their students? Through engaging undocumented community college students in conducting participatory action research, gathering interviews with family members, and student surveys, our research will inform how community colleges can provide institutional support and the proper resources for ethnically diverse undocumented students and their families.