Maria Rendon

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
Currently I'm working under mentorship of Professor Judith Stepan-Norris and Dr. Scott Simpson. My area of research is education and politics. Basically, I'm conducting a study in a predominantly Latino and African American school district in Southeast LA. Through my study I intend to find whether or not the ethnic composition of the school board has had on impact on the student's educational outcome, mainly through the hiring of Latino and African American teachers and administrators. I hypothesize that the struggle for power between African Americans and Latinos in the school district and city, that is minority politics, has deviated away the attention from implementing effective policies for improving student's achievement.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I first became exposed to research through the Summer Academic Enrichment Program, here at UCI, the summer after my freshmen year. Since then I participated in the Pre-Graduate Mentorship Program my second year and participated in the EAP Mexico Field Research Program my third year.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Particularly through SAEP, I was able to understand the value of research and how important it is for policy changes. The research projects I have worked on have analyzed social problems impacting communities of color and research has enabled me to critically analyze from an objective standpoint to suggest possible solutions.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

Being immersed in an indigenous community through the Mexico Field Research Program was one of the greatest learning experiences. Research has allowed me to maintain close contact with and has given me greater understanding and appreciation of my community, which is where I have conducted most of my research projects.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

Currently my plans are to apply for a master's in Public Policy. Again, research has been a key tool to understanding social problems that I plan to address through the policy arena as a future career.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Research is very valuable, no matter what field you are studying. Even if you are out to use research to produce social change, it is still a necessary skill to develop as a student. You'll understand things more clearly and will have an appreciation towards that subject.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '99 Gina Rappleye
Nov. '99 Maria Rendon
Oct. '99 Scott Avecilla
Sep. '99 Peter Krutzik
Aug. '99 Raj Gopalakrishnan
Jul. '99 Christina Rahn
Jun. '99 Catharine Larsen
May '99 Han Kang
Apr. '99 Bonnie Pau
Mar. '99 Sharla Meeks
Feb. '99 Simin Bahrami
Jan. '99 Catherine Le
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