My research presentations reflect my research interests in social inequality and specifically in the tension between individual and structural explanations of these inequalities. For example, my work on the division of household labor highlights the structural constraints that shape housework for Mexican American families, but also the gendered nature of the household division of labor.

My teaching presentations focus on my pedagogy and the effect that service learning and writing assignments have on learning sociological concepts. This work really reflects my interest in bringing traditional teaching tools (like writing) and non-traditional teaching tools (like service learning) to sociology students.

My professional development presentations cover important topics for faculty and students. Academia can be a confusing place for faculty and students at times and this confusing landscape can be made more welcoming to people of color and women if we focus on demystifying the unspoken rules in academia.

From Hispanic Enrolling to Hispanic Serving in Community Colleges

With Maria Reyes, Dr. Cynthia Pickering, Noe Ortiz, Dr. Gloria Gonzalez, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Virtual Conference on transforming STEM Higher Education, Nov 2020

How do we build capacity and support Hispanic Enrolling Institutions to become Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)? Arizona State University (ASU), Excelencia in Education, and the Maricopa Community College District (MCCD) examine key practices discovered at exemplar 4-year STEM HSIs and how they can be applied at 2-year HSIs in STEM programs. We pilot the innovative STEM-ESS in a Computer Information Technology (CIT) department in one college in the district (year 1) then rollout to four additional colleges in the district (years 3-5). The STEM-ESS approach uses the existing institutional knowledge to assess capacity and priorities. In addition, it incorporates evidenced based practices to support long term institutional change. In this session, we highlight how this approach and STEM-ESS is transferable to two-year HSI institutions.

Closing Achievement Gaps by Creating Opportunities for Success in STEM

With Dr. Jiaxin Zhao, Dr. Kurt Sterling, Brian Boomer, American, Association of Colleges and Universities, Virtual Conference on transforming STEM Higher Education, Nov 2020.

How do we build institutional capacity and support historically underrepresented students in STEM enrolled in community colleges? West Hills College Leemore (WHCL) serves as an important case in closing achievement gaps in STEM. As an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and the sole accredited provider of postsecondary education in the region, WHCL plays a pivotal role in the lives of students in the San Joaquin Valley. This facilitated discussion highlights how WHCL leveraged its partnership with Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) to fund National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM ACCESS Scholars Program and how that success lead to the current NSF CORES STEM. WHCL is establishing data driven and evidence based practices to assess and evaluate the impacts of STEM student success efforts (e.g. recruitment, outreach, supplemental instruction, and faculty mentorship).

Moonshots over California and Texas

With Drs. Rebecca Karoff, David Ruiter, Kim Costino, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Jan 2020.

In a July 2019 Forbes opinion piece, Brandon Busteed wondered why US higher education has failed to achieve what he terms “moonshots”—edu­cational equivalents of the lunar landing—”when it comes to enrolling and graduating students from the neediest communities and socioeconomic backgrounds.” But there are some moonshots taking place at the nation’s more open-access and less selective public institutions, far removed from hand-wringing elite institutions and admissions scandals. This fishbowl discussion will provide insight and exploration into “moonshot” programs that strive to close equity gaps for student populations histori­cally excluded from post-secondary attainment. Beginning with student success leaders from the nation’s two largest and most diverse states, California and Texas, the session will invite other participants into the fishbowl to explore student success efforts that are visionary as much for their approaches and reach, as for the students they enroll: low-income, first-generation, and—increasingly—from minoritized populations.

Negotiating Power and Status in the Academy: Everyday Experiences of Women of Color

American Sociological Association, Virtual Conference, August 2020.

This session will explore the ways that the academy reflects and reproduces social hierarchies in the everyday lives of tenure track and/or tenured women of color. It will also explore the strategies/mechanisms utilized to challenge/resist these hierarchies. Examining narratives is critical to revealing the rich details of day-to-day interactions since it is at the micro-level of interactions that power is negotiated. Through examining narratives of these interactions, we can discern the ideological and material imperatives that provide clues to institutional mechanisms that reproduce hierarchies.

Understanding "Gobbledygook": Sociology Students' Information Literacy in an Era of Fake News and Fake Science

Pacific Sociological Association, Portland, OR, March 2018

In the mist of claims that sociology is just “gobblygook” it is important to understand sociology students’ competency around information literacy and think of ways that we can ensure that sociology majors understand how to navigate, consume, and even advocate for social science research. We administered two surveys with questions around information literacy to sociology majors enrolled in a required research methods course at the beginning and end of fall of 2017. The first survey, collected in the first two weeks of the semester, provided a baseline of attitudes around information literacy (e.g. students’ attitudes about confidence around searching for information and use of resources) and questions that measured student knowledge around information literacy (e.g. questions about best way to search, recognizing types of sources). The preliminary findings (N=119) from the first survey show that students are confident about their skills around information literacy, but at the same time, they sometimes do not know the best ways to access information using library resources. The second survey will be administered to all students in the final two weeks of the semester. Ultimately we hope to understand how we can build on the knowledge students’ bring into our classrooms and identify places where we can fill in the gap in students’ knowledge and skills.

Behind Closed Doors: What are Job Search Committees Really Doing?

Pacific Sociological Association, Portland, OR, March 2014

I recently served on two job search committees on my campus and the experience was very eye opening. I would like to help demystify what really goes on behind these closed doors. The reality is that once the doors are closed and the committees are meeting, you have done all you can do. So what can you do to make sure your application gets reviewed? How can you help your application stand out from the crowd? In my presentation, I will discuss what is in your control and what is out of your control to help you better understand the job market. My insights will be based mainly on the academic market in sociology, but will touch on how ethnic studies committees view sociology applicants.

The Emergence of Other Families: Attitudes Toward Gay and Lesbian Families

With Melissa Cervantes,  American Sociological Association, New York, NY, August 2013.

As we look around us today it is easy to see that lesbian women and gay men are becoming an integral part of the changing landscape of family life in the United States (Stiers, 2011). Many aspects that we once knew about “traditional” families are now changing. Gay and lesbian families challenge our definition of the family as mainly a biological arrangement by showing us how family is also shaped by kinship. While same-sex marriage is at the forefront of thinking about people’s attitudes toward gay marriage, we focus on other attitudes, including gay adoption, parenting, and civil unions. We surveyed 116 respondents and find that our overwhelmingly female and young respondents have positive attitudes toward gay and lesbian families.

Sharing Household Labor in Mexican American Families

With Vilma Ortiz, American Sociological Association, Denver, CO, August 2012.

This article focuses on women’s and men’s division of household labor—measured by relative responsibility for core household chores—and argues that the results are examples of gender inequality in the home. We examine predictors of sharing core household chores using OLS regression with a sample of 542 Mexican American women and men. Contradicting cultural theories, Mexican American women perform less housework when they are employed, have higher earnings, and have more education. We also find that sex interacts with education. For women, more education significantly increases household sharing. Similarly, men share housework to a greater extent when their wives have more education. On the other hand, education is not significantly related to household sharing among men. The sex differences in housework sharing suggest that core housework continues to be considered the domain of women. Unique features of the study include the analysis of generational status and familism—factors that are important in understanding Latino families.

Excelling and Surviving in the Academic Job Market

Society for the Study of Social Problems, Denver, CO, August 2012. See the PowerPoint here: Excelling and Surviving in the Academic Job

Using Service Learning in Teaching Sociology: Student Challenges, Resistance, and Successes

American Sociological Association, Las Vegas, NV, August 2011.

Students in four upper division Sociology of the Family courses (N=198) participated in a Service Learning assignment for one semester. Students completed 10 hours of service at local non-profit organizations that provided services to families. Students were asked to volunteer with organizations whose mission covered concepts in class (e.g. poverty, children, elderly, abuse, or immigration). The goal of the service learning assignment was to help students make connections with concepts covered in class and “real life” situations. At the end of the semester students were asked to answer twelve questions about their experience. The questions asked students to evaluate the experience and to discuss the challenges and successes of service learning. Preliminary data analysis shows that students reported a variety of challenges, resistance, and positive outcomes in completing their service learning assignments. In addition, their use of the “sociological imagination” was also examined.

Service Learning and the Sociological Imagination in the Family: Challenges and Triumphs

American Sociological Association, Atlanta, GA, August 2010.

Students in four upper division Sociology of the Family courses participated in a Service Learning assignment for one semester.  The goal of the service learning assignment was to help students make connections with concepts covered in class and “real life” situations. To measure the impact of the assignment, the instructor developed a short survey that asked students to measure their experience and challenges faced during the project. In particular, students were asked to connect their service with material in the course.

Family Obligation & Family-school Conflict: Educational Attainment and Mental Health among African American and Latino Men

American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2009.

The paper examines the general impact of family obligations on educational attainment and mental health among Latino and African American male students. Structural equation modeling and Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) is used to describe the nature of the relationships among family obligations, family-school conflict, educational attainment, and mental health outcomes. The paper represents an opportunity to enhance the understanding about the educational and mental health challenges that African American and Latino male young adults face and the role that families have in shaping these outcomes.

Dividing Housework in Mexican American Families: Structural and Cultural Factors

With Vilma Ortiz, American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2009.

We use the Mexican American Study Project (MASP) data (N=542) and poisson regression to examine various structural and cultural factors that impact housework chores. We focus on how gender, socioeconomic status, and household characteristics affect housework for Mexican American families. We also focus on how generational status, a factor not traditionally measured in housework studies, affects housework. This analysis includes structural and cultural factors in order to understand how Mexican American families divide housework. Although, the Mexican Americans in the sample are more likely to have more gender segregated attitudes, structural factors (like number of children in the home and work hours) significantly influence household labor. We also find that women are able to convert their greater resources (e.g. higher education) into increased household labor participation on the part of their husbands. Theoretical reasons for the effects of gender and generational status are discussed.

’But This Isn’t an English Class’: Assessing Writing Evaluations in Sociology

American Sociological Association, New York, NY, August 2008.

Students in two upper division Sociology courses evaluated the usefulness of writing assignments in student learning. Students were assigned four writing assignments during the semester; these writing evaluations contained six questions that students answered for research articles in the course. The goal of the writing evaluations was to get students to summarize arguments, provide examples of arguments, and then think critically about the articles by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments and the implications of articles’ research findings. In addition, there were several different class activities that were used to prepare students for the writing evaluations. Students were also asked to evaluate the usefulness of these in class activities for preparation of writing evaluations.

Survival Skills for Excelling Your first Year at a CSU

Chican@/Latino@ Issues Symposium, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA, February 2008.

Re-Envisioning the 'Promise' Land: Chicana Displacement and Resistance in the Academy

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, San Jose, CA, April 2007. Get the Handout here: Helpful Resources for Surviving and Excelling in Academia