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Elaine Denny and Undergrads Publish in the Cambridge Press

November 16, 2022

Looking for strategies to engage first generation students in research?  Check out this this paper, titled  "New Voices of Inquiry: How the Inclusive Classroom Catalyzes Innovative Research"  by professor Elaine Denny and a team of more than a dozen UC Merced undergraduates.

Their paper offers evidence-based tips AND showcases novel research by student co-authors at our Hispanic-Serving Institution. It’s a great example of how more inclusive social science research sparks fresh ideas while getting first gen students excited about data-driven careers.  Looking for strategies to engage first generation students in research?   Their paper offers evidence-based tips AND showcases novel research by student co-authors at our Hispanic-Serving Institution. It’s a great example of how more inclusive social science research sparks fresh ideas while getting first gen students excited about data-driven careers.

Hear from the participants!

"Azul Torres Vargas highlights how this research approach created a sense of control over her learning and built confidence in tools she wanted to use to serve her community in the future: As a first-generation minority student, pursuing higher education has been a challenge I do not face alone, but it is projects like these that allow me to flourish. Having to research, experiment, and write on a topic that interests me was eye-opening because it allowed me to take control, not only learning but centering my hands-on education on what makes me passionate. Moving beyond the traditional lecture-reading format, this research project allowed me to dive deeply into an important issue in my community using new knowledge. It made me realize that research is the only way I can make a significant change to my community because in order to fix a problem, you first have to understand it.

Evelyn Arana touches on similar themes in her reflection: At the initiation of this project, I found it intimidating to be conducting research. But with the guidance and determination I had, I was able to contribute to research that I am very passionate about. I learned that research is everywhere and if you are able to ask yourself a question about the topic you can elaborate that idea into a project. This experience of conducting research was a challenge I enjoyed taking on. It not only allowed me to believe in myself but also continue to contribute to the Latinx immigrant community. Si Se Puede.

Jorge Rodriguez-Mota is a student who aspires to be a high school teacher in his home community and cultivate similar skillsets in the next generation. His insights, therefore, shed light not only on the learnings of college students individually, but also on how such empowerment can have ripple effects as students graduate into the professional realm: As a student interested in graduate school, the opportunity to conduct an experiment effectively demystified the research process, changed how I reviewed the experiments of others (in analyzing strengths and flaws), and created a sense of empoweempowerment for my capacity to conduct research in the future (as I am doing now."

Read the article here.