Congratulations to EWU McNair Alumna and EWU McNair Director Dra. Christina Torres García who was invited to write an article about Chicana feminist epistemology in higher education for Oxford Research Encyclopedias to be included in their Race and Education issue. In addition, Dra. Torres García has been hard at work at research and writing in multiple other areas, including: DACAmented students’ Testimonios about their Educational Journey Against the Backdrop of Racist Nativist Discourse in Washington State, submitted to the Journal Race, Ethnicity, and Education; Being Brown in the time of Trump: The Tactics of Dehumanizing (Im)migrants which is now undergoing peer-review at the University of Arizona press; ongoing co-research with EWU McNair Alumna Dr. Laura Zamudio-Orozco examining how race, gender, and class shape STEM research mentor-mentee relationships; and in coordination with the Pell Institute and the Council for Opportunity in Education, is researching first-generation, low-income students' challenges and obstacles during the COVID-19 and how this affects their college aspirations.
Chicana feminist epistemology in higher education is an extensive manuscript that suggests democratizing and diversifying the Western Canon of thought in higher education research. Using the work of decolonial philosophers, Dra. Torres García illustrates how Westernized Universities’ epistemological foundations present a form of Eurocentric fundamentalism. She presents an evolution of the contributions of Chicanas from the 19th to the present and describes how their work has been excluded from the Western canon of thought in higher education. She shows how Chicana feminists have constructed their own epistemic foundations, methodologies, and how they are disrupting the boundaries of how knowledge is created. Because the Latinx population is increasing rapidly, giving rise to more Hispanic Serving Institutions around the nation, her research is critical. It ultimately recommends incorporating Chicana feminist epistemologies into educational research.
Dra. Torres García's current research with Dr. Zamudio-Orozco examining mentor-mentee relationships stems from gaps in the field.
Mentoring is a widely studied concept presented as a vital component for undergraduate students’ research and their graduate school journeys. However, little research examines the effectiveness of mentoring experiences from the perspective of first-generation, low-income students.”
They aim to bring students’ testimonios to the forefront to illustrate how they struggle to navigate the intersections of race, class, and gender and how this shapes the power dynamics within the mentor-mentee relationships.
Dra. Torres García's research with the Pell Institute and Council for Opportunity in Education to find out the short-term and potential future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the decisions and life experiences of low-income and first-generation college students uses mixed methods involving national surveys to increase our empathetic understanding of student actions, and outcomes for this student population and higher education. Two of our graduating McNair Scholars, Alexandria Coronado and Lizeth Bañuelos, have also supported this research. Both completed their own McNair research projects during their EWU McNair Summer Research Internship and into the 2020-2021 school year on related topics. Alexandria, with the mentorship of Dr. Lindsey Upton, completed the research paper: Impacts of COVID-19 on Food and Housing Student Resources at Universities in the State of Washington. Lizeth, with the mentorship of Dr. Aryn Ziehnert, completed the research paper: First-Generation Students' Academic Experience: The Role of Institutional Supports during a Pandemic. Both students have been accepted to multiple graduate programs and will attend graduate school starting the fall of 2021!
EWU McNair is incredibly proud of all of Dra. Torres García's work. She not only exemplifies outstanding research, but also incorporates a social justice lens in all of her work with an eye to improve higher education and better meet the needs of all students. Like so many of our EWU McNair alumni, Dra. Torres García gives back to her community both in her everyday work and in her research. Recently EWU McNair had the chance to showcase similar approaches by other McNair alumni in our Social Justice in Research Panel. Click here to learn more about EWU McNair’s other alumni accomplishments! Our EWU McNair Scholars continue to show the power of McNair on students, higher education, and changing the world!
Congratulations again to Dra. Christina Torres García!