Current Research: What is the relationship between the parents of first-generation students and elite institutions?
Stemming from my study of the COVID-19 websites of highly-selective institutions, I aim to learn more about the relationship between the parents of first-generation students and elite institutions, and question whether there are things that should be done to alter that relationship to benefit first-generation students.
I did a content analysis of the COVID-19 websites of 24 highly selective universities to see if they a) mention first-generation students; and/or b) addressed the concerns first-generation students had at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I use the term generation blindness to describe how institutions may overlook the unique concerns of first-generation students by ignoring (or simply not ackowledging) generational identity. The findings show that highly selective universities almost never mentioned the term “first-generation students” on these websites and rarely addressed several critical issues that concerned first-generation students. These issues include: the challenge of navigating the complexities of the first-generation identity during the pandemic; the struggles that family members of these students faced (i.e. job loss); the students’ imperative to support their families (i.e. helping to watch younger siblings); and the difficulties students faced by having to use their homes as learning environments. I use the term “Generation Blindess” to reference how institutions forego tending to generation- identity or addressing the issues most pertinent to first-generation students on these websites.
How do state flagship universities address affordability for low-income students in their strategic plans?
I did a content analysis of the strategic plans of the state flagship universities to see how they addressed affordability for low-income students. Such analysis matters because, according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, nearly all of the flagships are unaffordable for low-income students.
4-year Institutional Selectivity of Community College Honors Student Transfers
Using a national dataset and quasi-experimental design, I examined whether completion of an honors program in community college predicts transfer to selective 4-year universities.
First Generation Student Choice of Community College
I recently studied the factors that influence first-generation students to choose community college as their first institution after high school. It is important to comprehensively understand why first-generation students choose community college after high school and not assume that it’s only because of the open access and lower tuition rates that community colleges provide.
Evaluation Plan, STEM Program for Underrepresented High School and Undergraduate Students
I helped the Wistar Institute, a “global leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccine development” based in Philadelphia, develop an evaluation plan for a STEM training program for underrepresented high school and undergraduate students. When developing an evaluation plan for any student, especially for students from underrepresented populations, it is important to consider their backgrounds and experiences that will mesh with the program. If an evaluation does not take this part seriously and consider it thoroughly, I do not think it will measure success in the most effective manner.