Educational Leadership Assistant Professor Eligio Martinez, Jr., along with doctoral candidate Ever Barraza and Audrey Paredes, an alumna of the gender, ethnicity, and multicultural studies (GEMS) program at Cal Poly Pomona recently won the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s (AAHHE) “Best Scholarly Paper” award.
The award-winning paper, “Transitioning During a Pandemic: Examining the Institutional Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic for Latina/o/x First Year And New Transfer Student,” sought to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Latino transfer and first-year students entering higher education during fall 2020. The recipients received the award during the AAHHE’s national conference in March 2022.
According to Barraza, the inspiration for the paper came as a result of needing to shed light on existing inequalities that have been exacerbated due to the pandemic. Utilizing Critical Race Theory, the trio found that Latino students were negatively impacted by the pandemic and lacked proper institutional support in some cases.
“Higher education leaders need to respond in a way that centers students’ situations inside and outside of the classroom to provide the resources needed for them to succeed and feel connected to their campus,” he said.
Paredes, a GEMS alumna and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles said the paper informs how institutional leaders, practitioners and others in the field of higher education think about the ways in which we need to continue to address student needs in the wake of COVID-19 and its long-term impacts.
“This study confirmed that close attention needs to be paid to how COVID-19 had and frankly, continues to have, disproportional impacts on communities of color and/or those who are low-income,” she said. “The intersections of these lived experiences and realities cannot be ignored as we seek to support students in higher education.”
In addition to being selected for the award, the paper was also published in the April edition of the Journal of Latinos and Education, a quarterly international journal dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of issues at Hispanic-serving institutions.
“It is an honor to be recognized by AAHHE in their inaugural Best Scholarly Paper Award for the work that we did on Latina/o/x students and COVID,” said Martinez. “This recognition speaks to the quality scholarship that we are producing at Cal Poly Pomona and within CEIS. More importantly, it’s great to be able to share this recognition with Ever, one of our Ed.D. students, and Audrey, one of our CEIS alumni!”
For more information about the Department of Educational Leadership, please visit www.cpp.edu/ceis/edleadership.