UOG project aims to help students develop, share their voice
For some students at the University of Guam, keeping up with their academics or having time to engage in long-term research experiences sometimes can be difficult because of certain life circumstances.
Research shows that for some students, including Pacific Islanders, family obligations and economic circumstances are often barriers to applying for research internships. This predicament impacts competitiveness and readiness for graduate school and can cloud how students perceive their value when it comes to the pursuit of academic and career opportunities.
“Understanding that reality can help us provide guidance on how to overcome barriers,” said Dr. Cheryl Sangueza, Associate Professor in the School of Education, Program Chair of the Master of Education in Innovations in Teaching and Learning, and Principal Investigator for the Alfred P. Sloan grant.
Dr. Sangueza's efforts to help empower students on how to turn what others may view as limitations – into assets – have received a significant boost with a $249,969 recent grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
With Sangueza's lead, the Sloan Foundation awarded the grant to develop a curriculum for students and faculty that will improve access to graduate education. The curriculum will be implemented in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The grant is provided through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion sub-program.
As part of the grant, Dr. Sangueza also conducted a workshop on April 7 that guided students on how to view their situations from different lenses.
Dr. Sangueza said one example is how a student can respond when asked: “What research experience do you have that makes you a good team member?”
Instead of apologizing for lacking research experience, a student taking care of multiple siblings, for example, can say: "Succeeding with my current family responsibilities demonstrates my strengths as a good team member, which will carry into any research team I join.”
“It's giving the students a different perspective on how to share their voice ... for when they apply for graduate research programs,” Sangueza said.
Aryanna Sanele, a student participant in the recent workshop, shared that some of the grant-funded activities opened many opportunities for her.
"I had never experienced a STEM Conference before, I wasn't even aware they existed until this year. With Sloan though, I was able to attend two this year." Sanele attended the UOG CNAS STEM Conference on April 7, and the 2023 UOG Center of Island Sustainability Conference which opened on April 11.
"It really opened my eyes to what happens in the STEM community, and I am very grateful to have experienced it," Sanele said.
The Sloan grant will also support two students to attend the 2023 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Conference in Portland, Oregon. The workshops, shadowing students in research labs, and exposure to local and national conferences offer ways to help students become competitive for graduate school opportunities.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Cheryl Sangueza, School of Education