Hispanic Scholars Honored for Dissertations

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Costa Mesa, CA (March 8, 2012) —

This press release is also available in Spanish.

Four Hispanic scholars were honored for their research on diversity and multicultural issues during the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) annual conference in Costa Mesa, California, March 8–12. The awards are provided by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and recognize dissertations chosen from more than 50 entries nationwide.

The theme of AAHHE's Seventh Annual National Conference is "Celebrating Our Similarities, Embracing Our Differences" — "Celebrando Nuestras Semejanzas, Valorando Nuestras Diferencias." The conference draws hundreds of the nation's top Hispanic researchers, educators, policymakers and leaders. This year's recipients are:

Kristine M. Molina, Ph.D., received the first place "Kurt M. Landgraf Outstanding Dissertation Award," named for the ETS President and CEO. Molina is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Miami in the NIH/NHLBI-funded Behavioral Medicine Research in Cardiovascular Disease Training Program.

Her developing line of research is aimed at understanding the unique role that discrimination and socioeconomic status play in contributing to adverse health outcomes, and on elucidating the pathways to psychiatric and medical comorbidities and coping with such conditions in the context of structural disadvantage among Latino youth and adults. She has also conducted research on the role of neighborhood context and mental health disorders across racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., and on the role of discrimination on Latino adolescent psychosocial adjustment.

Accepting the second place award was Armando Ibarra, Ph.D., currently an Assistant Professor with the School for Workers and a faculty affiliate with the Chicano and Latino Studies program at the University of Wisconsin. He received a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish, a Master's in Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Armando has extensive and diverse research and teaching experience. His research interests include the study of international labor migration, Latino community development and incorporation, and organized labor in the United States. He is uniquely positioned within his institutions and is able to engage in traditional university and broad-based community teaching.

His dissertation, Poverty in the Valley of Plenty: Mexican Families and Migrant Work in California offers an account of the lives and work of Mexican farm worker families in California.There was a tie for third place. The award went to Carmen Martínez-Calderón, Ph.D., a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests lie at the intersection of immigrant incorporation, academic institutions, urban politics and U.S. law. Her dissertation explores the role of local, state and federal laws and policies in creating institutional conditions and fostering social networks that influence democratic politics and levels of immigrant assimilation and incorporation.

Also winning third place was Lindsay Pérez Huber. She received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Social Science and Comparative Education (SSCE), specializing in Race & Ethnic Studies. Her dissertation examined the intersections of racism and nativism in dominant discourses of U.S. undocumented immigration. She focused on how those discourses mediated the educational trajectories of undocumented and U.S. born Chicana college students in California.

"Each year we dissertation judges are impressed by the scholarship evidence in the work of all the award entries," says Loui Olivas, Ed.D., president of AAHHE and a member of the panel of judges. "Selecting winners from such an impressive pool of applicants is a challenge and a pleasure. They win — and America wins."

In addition to the awards, the four finalists also will receive:

  • a monetary award — $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place
  • an AAHHE/ETS plaque
  • support to attend the 2012 AAHHE Conference to present their dissertations in an individual concurrent session
  • the opportunity to submit an article based on the dissertation to the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education

In addition, ETS will invite the first-place winner to publish an abstract of the winning dissertation in ETS Policy Notes and to showcase the research at an ETS-hosted seminar in Princeton, New Jersey. For further information on AAHHE and the annual dissertation competition, visit www.aahhe.org. For information on ETS visit www.ets.org.