Pitzer Student Maria Melendrez ’16 Wins Fellowship to Research Education Issues

Maria Melendrez '16
Maria Melendrez ’16

Claremont, Calif. (March 23, 2016)—Pitzer College student Maria Melendrez ’16 has been selected as an undergraduate research fellow by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). One of only 20 fellows chosen from a highly competitive national pool of applicants, she will attend a series of workshops during the 2016 AERA Annual Meeting in Washington DC on April 8-12, 2016. The workshops are designed to build the talent pool of undergraduate students who plan to pursue doctorate degrees in education research or in fields that examine education issues.

A sociology major, Melendrez has conducted extensive research on increasing educational access for underrepresented students with Pitzer Associate Professor of Sociology Roberta Espinoza and William Perez, associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University. Her work has focused on the challenges faced by first-generation college students, undocumented students, deported young adults and Mexican indigenous youth in the US.

Melendrez is the inaugural first-gen intern for Pitzer’s Institute for Global/Local Action and Study and has helped develop programs at Pitzer for first-generation college students. A Pitzer Admission Fellow, Melendrez has worked with the College’s academic support services to create workshops and expand tutoring services on campus. She plans to pursue a PhD in the sociology of education.

Founded in 1916 as a professional organization representing educational researchers in the US and around the world, the American Educational Research Association strives to promote the use of research to improve education and the public good. With approximately 14,000 participants, AERA’s annual meeting is considered the largest gathering of education scholars in the country.

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