Sandra Espinoza

Sandra Espinoza-Montes is a first-generation student from Wapato, Washington. She graduated in 2018 with a degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Sandra earned a full ride at EWU through extensive scholarships. She presented her research in several local, regional, and national conferences. In the fall of 2018, she began her doctoral program in counseling psychology with full funding at Western Michigan University. She is currently a PhD candidate.

After she completes her PhD, Sandra plans to develop a mental health practice in a rural area to provide Spanish speaking and culturally-sensitive services to under-served populations. Sandra was raised by an immigrant family and is the only member in her immediate family to graduate high school and the only individual in her extended family completing a bachelor degree and pursuing her PhD.

McNair Program Reflection:

"The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair) at Eastern Washington University (EWU) is an extraordinary, effective, and life changing program. As a first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented student, I had no resources, role models, or advisors my freshman and sophomore year in college. I was insecure about my future and was terrified to use my voice. It wasn't until I applied and got accepted to the McNair program where I finally felt secure, confident, and brave to explore and dismantle traditional cycles that fabricate our society. McNair provided me the opportunity to complete an internship in the summer where I was allowed to collaborate with a mental health psychologist in the Counseling and Psychological service department at EWU. My mentor helped me complete my research study by meeting with me weekly, revising my writing structure, and providing resources and tools to help me enhance my writing and speaking abilities.


"The McNair program also helped me prepare for the Graduate Record Examinations with workshops, online study guides, and writing seminars. Furthermore, I was able to attend regional conferences and network with faculty and graduate students during campus tours which was all covered financially by the McNair program. A feminist, activist, and a proud Mestiza, describes who I am today and the woman that I have always aspired to be when I was a child. I couldn't have done it without the support, guidance, and contribution of the McNair program. Therefore, I would like to thank Dr. Torres Garcia, Cynthia, Ben, Lexi, and Carlos Munoz for providing me every resource that I needed to reach this point in my academic career."

2017 McNair Factulty Research Mentor: Dr. Katherine Nelson (Formerly Colles) - Counseling and Psychological Services
Research Title: Hermeneutical Phenomenological Analysis of Intracultural Bullying Between Mexican Americans and Mexican Immigrants

Abstract: A growing body of research has examined acculturation conflicts among the fastest growing ethnic group, Latinx youth, in the United States (Lorenzo-Blanco, Oshri, Unger, Baezconde-Garbanati, & Soto, 2016). Research has reported acculturation conflicts in the form of bullying between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants (Mendez, Bauman, & Guillory, 2012). Language skills and a sense of superiority are two key components that drive Mexican Americans to bully Mexican immigrants due to their lack of the English language and citizenship status (Berry, 2005; Mendez, Bauman, & Guillory, 2012). Although educational interventions for bullying are increasing, interventions for intracultural bullying between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants are often neglected (Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, & Isava, 2008). This study will utilize hermeneutical phenomenology to investigate intracultural bullying between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants to formulate solutions to this cultural conflict.