SAN ANTONIO, Texas, March 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its effort to increase the number of Hispanics receiving doctoral degrees and taking leadership roles in higher education, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) is once again honoring four Hispanic scholars for their outstanding doctoral dissertations. The awards were presented during the organization's annual conference March 28–30, in San Antonio, Texas.
The awards are sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and recognize dissertations chosen from more than 50 entries nationwide. The theme of AAHHE's Eighth Annual National Conference is "Hacia una agenda Latina: Forjando Nuestro Destino," — "Toward a Latino Attainment Agenda: Shaping our Own Destiny."
The conference draws hundreds of the nation's top Hispanic researchers, educators, policymakers and leaders. This year's winners are:
Marcela Cuéllar, Ph.D. is the recipient of the first place Kurt M. Landgraf Outstanding Dissertation Award, named for the ETS President and CEO. Cuéllar is a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation is titled Latina/o Student Success in Higher Education: Models of Empowerment at Hispanic Service Institutions, Emerging HSIs, and Non-HSIs.
There were co-winners of the second place award.
María Cristina Cruza-Guet, Ph.D. is pursuing postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine's Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health, where she is an American Psychological Association Postdoctoral Minority Fellow in the Program for Recovery and Community Health. Her dissertation is titled A Longitudinal Analysis of the Relationship between Social Support and Psychological Distress among Hispanic Elders in Miami, FL.
Nelson Flores, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. His research seeks to bridge theory and practice in ways that transform educational programming for language-minority students. His dissertation is titled From Nation-States to Neoliberalism: Language Ideologies and Governmentality.
The third place award went to Priscila Díaz, Ph.D. She is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, at Azusa Pacific University. Her main research interests include attitudes toward immigrants, and societal and intrapersonal challenges facing minority and immigrant groups. Her dissertation is titled Perceived Group Discrimination and Problem Behavior: The Moderating Role of Traditional Cultural Values and Familial Relationships in Mexican American Adolescents.
"Although Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the country, they are underrepresented in all areas of higher education," says Loui Olivas, Ed.D., President of AAHHE and a member of the panel of judges. "We see gains every year in the number of Hispanics earning doctorates and serving in full-time faculty positions. However, the percentages are not climbing commensurate with the population's growth. These recipients are shining examples to light the way for other aspiring Hispanic scholars."
In addition to cash awards and plaques, ETS invites 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.
ETS also sponsors the annual Latino Student Success Institute at the conference. ETS Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of People, Process and Communications Yvette Donado delivered the opening address. After citing the need to overcome the negative trends, she cited a series of positive indicators. "Everyone in this room," she concluded, "whether students, administrators or researchers, hold great promise. You are here because you believe that you can and must make a difference for your lives — and the lives of others."
Donado is also a member of the editorial board of Perspectivas, a policy brief on Hispanics and higher education published by AAHHE, the University of Texas San Antonio and ETS. The latest issue, written by Anne-Marie Núñez, Ph.D., and Diane Elizondo, Ph.D., of UTSA, examines the community college/baccalaureate "transfer gap." It was distributed at the conference and is available from AAHHE.
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org
The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc. is an association of Hispanic faculty and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities. AAHHE supports the development of Hispanic college professionals and is dedicated to increasing the pipeline of Hispanics in higher education, bringing issues pertinent to Hispanics to the attention of the larger academic community, and recognizing the accomplishments of Hispanics in support of higher education. AAHHE has created a Graduate Fellows Program and a Junior Faculty Fellows Program to provide guidance, instruction and mentors to help Latino and Latina higher education professionals navigate the complexities of higher education and increase their preparedness for leadership positions. AAHHE also bestows six annual awards to individuals who champion Hispanic higher education in the areas of leadership, faculty research, teaching, support, fine or performing arts and literary arts or publications. For more about AAHHE, visit www.aahhe.org.
SOURCE Educational Testing Service