EWU McNair alum Dr. Laura Zamudio earns PhD; Serving as Winter/Spring 2020 Eastern McNair Interim Academic Advisor before joining Heritage University as an Assistant Professor of Math and McNair Program Coordinator

Dr. Laura Zamudio is an Eastern Washington University TRIO McNair alum who earned her bachelor's degree from Eastern with a major in math education and a minor in Spanish. As an EWU McNair Scholar research intern, she completed two McNair research projects in math education with Dr. Gayle Milsaps in the summers of 2014 and 2015. After graduating from Eastern, she earned a Ph.D. from Florida International University in Math Education: Curriculum and Instruction in December 2019.


The EWU McNair Program was grateful when she was able to make a brief stop back in Cheney to join our team in January 2020 as our Interim Academic Advisor. As a recent McNair scholar who successfully made it through the process of earning a Ph.D., she provided instrumental insights to the potential McNair scholars enrolled in the winter McNair Scholarly Identity class. The course guides first-generation, low-income and underrepresented emerging scholars through the process of defining and preparing to achieve their academic goals as they create academic bios, Curriculum Vitas, and LinkedIn profiles to help them start to identify as a scholar. It also provides a hands-on learning opportunity by encouraging scholars to seek out and apply for Summer Research Opportunities, and each year, some are rewarded with fully-funded SROPs. This process has allowed EWU McNair scholars to participate in SROPs at places like MIT and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


Dr. Zamudio worked with the McNair Director, Dr. Christina Torres Garcia, and the McNair Graduate Student Assistant Cori Jaeger to assist students in completing and submitting these SROP applications, just as most schools were announcing their summer research programs would be on-line due to the pandemic. Three scholars, Malachi Chukwu, Wendolyn Martinez, and Aulane Mpouli were selected for these opportunities, with Malachi and Wendolyn being able to complete them virtually at the Laney Graduate School Summer Opportunity for Academic Research (LGS-SOAR) Program at Emory University and the Junior Summer Institute in Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) at the University of Michigan respectively. Aulane's Ohio State University (OSU) research internship was canceled due to COVID-19; however, she was invited to a summer webinar series by OSU to help prepare her for graduate school, and completed an EWU McNair Summer Research Internship project, working online with Eastern chemistry faculty Dr. Yao Houndonougbo. While assisting students in navigating the challenges of upcoming summer research projects, Dr. Zamudio also provided valuable guidance to the scholars accepted into graduate programs as they prepared to make the transition to graduate school during a pandemic.


Her experience in on-line and equitable teaching practices was integral to helping the program develop and provide necessary academic support services when McNair was forced to adjust in a matter of weeks to a completely virtual learning environment. In spring, as Eastern continued to offer all of its services virtually, Dr. Zamudio continued to support students as needed in Dr. Torres Garcia's Spring Research Methods class, frequently meeting in one-on-one Zoom sessions while also working closely with the Assistant Director, Cynthia Dukich, and GSA Jaeger, to provide analytical writing feedback for the weekly McNair spring GRE Analytical Writing Seminars.


Basically, Dr. Laura Zamudio is a rock star!


She now serves in a joint position at Heritage University as an assistant professor in the math department and the McNair Program coordinator. We're so proud of her and excited for the next step in her journey as she continues to support students through equitable education.


Click the link to read Dr. Zamudio's dissertation abstract:

Dominant and Critical Mathematics: A Multi-Case Study Examining Mathematics Teachers’ Equitable Teaching Practices



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