Gina Garcia, a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy, has been selected to participate in the 2021-2022 Student Experience Research Network (SERN) Midcareer Fellows Program.
The highly competitive 15 month-long fellowship program is designed to help the awardees translate equity-centered research to practices and policies that shape students’ experiences in schools and colleges.
Fifteen top education scholars from universities around the country were selected for the fellowship. According to SERN, the fellows will “collaboratively develop evidence-based and equity-centered narratives about federal and state policy topics that strategically target one or more policy intermediary audiences.”
“The fellowship is important because it is designed to help me translate research to policy, which is a skill that I am still developing,” says Garcia. “The fellowship also has a mandatory deliverable element to it, so the goal is to use the skills that I learn to develop products that speak to policy makers and intermediaries.”
The SERN fellows program is funded through grants from the Bezos Family Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Garcia was selected for the fellowship based on her equity-centered and antiracist research and teaching on higher education systems and policies.
Garcia brings equity and justice to the forefront in the courses she teaches in the politics and history of higher education, higher education administration, and social justice in higher education settings in the Pitt Education higher education programs.
Additionally, the themes are prevalent in her book “Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges & Universities.”
The SERN fellowship will provide Garcia and her colleagues with professional development and networking opportunities to further develop their research.
Since the program aligns with Pitt Education’s mission-vision for supporting equitable educational structures, Garcia knows this experience will help her to grow in the many roles that she serves at the school.
“As we are developing both master’s and doctoral level programs in education policy, the skills that I learn will be relevant for advising, mentoring, and teaching students who enter Pitt Education to pursue these programs,” says Garcia.
In the year ahead, Garcia is looking forward to building relationships with policy intermediaries and legislators and to networking with the other fellows who are known for their critical research around equity, antiracism, and justice.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity and for the support from the dean’s office and from my Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy department chair Jenn Russell,” says Garcia.
Pitt Education offers higher education graduate programs grounded in a commitment to equity and justice.