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Meet the Spring 2018 DDCE Travel Grant Recipients

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This spring, eight doctoral candidates will be presenting their research at conferences and professional meetings across the nation with a $250 travel grant provided by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Established in fall 2017, the grant supports doctoral students in schools and colleges across the university who are studying areas that promote diversity and social justice.

We caught up with the grantees to learn more about their research and how they plan to make a positive difference for underserved populations here in the United States and across the globe.

Christopher Babits
Doctoral Candidate, Department of History

image of christopher babbitsResearch Focus: The history of conversion therapy
Travel Destination: Augusta, GA

“My research offers a rare opportunity to understand the complex intersections between religion, psychology, gender and sexuality. More specifically, my dissertation seeks to better comprehend the ways in which science and religion influence each other.”

David Enrique Delgollado
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Image of travel grantee Research Focus: How geo-spatial/political spaces inform teachers’ language and literacy ideologies
Travel Destination: Albuquerque, NM

“We need to change the way we prepare teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Specifically, we need to imbue critical reflexivity in teacher preparation programs so that educators can advocate for minoritized populations.”

Rachel Donnelly
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology

image of Rachel Donnell Research Focus: Population health, aging and family
Travel Destination: Denver, CO

“I grew up in San Antonio – a city that benefits from a diverse population but is plagued by considerable disparities in health. This background fueled my curiosity in the social determinants of health and health disparities. I believe that by understanding how stress and adversity shape health, and how this process may unfold in different ways for different groups, researchers have a lot to offer in the study of health.”

Gracia Sierra
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology

Image of Sierra Gracia Research Focus: The socioeconomic gradient of infant mortality in the U.S.
Travel Destination: Denver, CO

“The Population Association of America is the most important conference for demographers in the country. As a demographer, this conference allows me to acquire knowledge about the recent research in the field and the analytical tools being used.”

Sakina Jangbar
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Communication Studies

Image of Sakina JangabarResearch Focus: Rhetorical silence in the age of digital communication
Travel Destination: Minneapolis, MN

“My preliminary conclusions show that rhetorical silence—an intentional and strategic use of silence to influence—invites people to slow down, reflect and consider differing perspectives and respond humanely. I am excited to see how my research can open up new ways of instantiating socially just societies. The health of our diverse democracy depends on our ability to influence each other.”

Image of Maijia LieuJeonghyun (Jonna) Lee
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Educational Psychology

Research Focus: The relationship between students’ sense of belonging and academic engagement in college classrooms.
Travel Destination: New York, NY

“I expect that my research will provide some useful implications for learning and teaching within classrooms across varying course settings, focused on the role of social support from teacher and peer students in predicting college students’ academic engagement.”

Meijia Liu
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Special Education

Image of Miss LeeResearch Focus: Teaching mathematics to students with learning disabilities
Travel Destination: Baltimore, MD

“My research helps to better understand what has been used currently in the field, what specific teaching technique is promising, and what is needed for future research. By reaching the gaps, students are able to be better prepared for standardized tests and for their future careers.”

Paromita Pain
Doctoral Candidate, School of Journalism

Image of Paro Research Focus: Alternate media and global journalism practices from feminist perspectives
Travel Destination:  Prague

“It’s fantastic to see how very resource-poor people can actually bring about very positive change in their communities through the power of simple media technologies and the urge to participate in the news production process. Newsrooms are changing and can no longer ignore the common viewers’ perspectives.”