Student Experience Research Network Blog

In March, Student Experience Research Network (SERN) released a call for applications for our Midcareer Fellows Program, designed to bridge equity-centered research on the structures (i.e., practices, policies, and norms) that shape students’ experience of feeling respected as valued people and thinkers in school with current topics in federal and state policy.

We are pleased to announce that 15 outstanding scholars have been selected to participate in the fellowship. We are excited to learn from and with them as they draw on rigorous research on student experience to develop new evidence-based and equity-centered narratives about policy topics and continue to advance their scholarly work in the academy.

They bring expertise in areas connected to active policy discussions, including access and equity in postsecondary education; civic engagement and student voice; culturally responsive education; educator preparation, learning, and retention; institutional climate and cues in the built environment; and racialized and gendered experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics contexts. The selected scholars have taken an equity-centered approach to their academic research, bringing a wealth of experience in jointly producing knowledge with people who are most impacted by their research, developing frameworks that build from the strengths and assets of minoritized people and communities, and interrogating the role of racism and other systems of oppression in the phenomena they study.

The highly collaborative fellowship was designed specifically for researchers who advance this type of scholarship, identify as a member of one or more minoritized groups in the academy, and who have received tenure and are well-positioned to deepen their social impact.

Through the SERN Midcareer Fellows Program, the selected scholars will collaboratively develop evidence-based and equity-centered narratives about federal and state policy topics that strategically target one or more policy intermediary audiences – a powerful mechanism for shifting how issues are understood and responded to within policy. They will engage in professional development and structured networking opportunities to grow their knowledge of federal and state policymaking and the surrounding ecosystem and they will provide input that influences the construction of the fellowship. Over the course of 15 months, fellows will produce both translational and scholarly projects that further their professional goals.

The SERN Midcareer Fellows Program is funded through grants from the Bezos Family Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Advisors Sapna Cheryan, Thomas Dee, Michal Kurlaender, Bethany Little, Mary Murphy, Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Karen Pittman, and Vivian Tseng will provide thought partnership and guidance to strengthen the impact of the fellowship.

We at SERN are grateful and excited to be able to introduce the members of the 2021-2022 SERN Midcareer Fellows Program. They hail from universities across the country, represent a range of fields and methodologies, and are committed to informing policy through rigorous, equity-centered research on student experience.

Nolan L. Cabrera
Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice
University of Arizona

Rebecca Covarrubias
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Marcela G. Cuellar
Associate Professor, School of Education
University of California, Davis

Gina Ann Garcia
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy
University of Pittsburgh

Conra Gist
Associate Professor of Teaching and Teacher Education
University of Houston

Tehia Starker-Glass
Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Elementary Education
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Elan Hope
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
North Carolina State University

Uma M. Jayakumar
Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration and Policy
University of California, Riverside

Christopher C. Jett
Associate Professor of Mathematics Education
University of West Georgia

Audrey Lucero
Associate Professor, Language and Literacy Education
University of Oregon

Xiaoxia Newton
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Lara Perez-Felkner
Associate Professor of Higher Education and Sociology
Florida State University

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Associate Professor of English Education
Columbia University

Sophie Trawalter
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Psychology
University of Virginia

Chezare A. Warren
Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations
Vanderbilt University

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