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Amy Nuñez


Bio, Research, Abstract

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    Acknowledgement to Mentor:

    I would like to take this time to thank my mentor, Dr. Martín Meráz-García for the dedication he has shown to help me complete my research study and the encouragement he has given me to present at conferences as well as in his classroom. I greatly appreciate the time and effort he has put into supporting my education as well as my extra-curricular activities promoting higher education and engaging in political involvement. I am confident that with his guidance, I will be able to navigate graduate school and ultimately be the superintendent of a school district someday. Dr. Martín is a significant role-model in my life and I hope that someday, I will make a positive difference in someone else's life as he continues to do for me.




    Amy Núñez  was born in Pasco, Washington and raised in Yakima, Washington. She graduated from Eisenhower High School in 2010 with the desire to be an elementary school teacher.

    Her parents immigrated to the United States twenty years ago in search of a better life for their children. Education, among many other things, is one of the main essentials which her parents did not have access to and made sure that all of their children had access to. This motivation from her parents has inspired her to pursue a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with emphasis in Reading, Spanish, and Chicano Studies. Ultimately, her goal is to become superintendent of a school someday. She believes that this position is where she can truly make a difference and offer educational support services to individuals who may need it. Additionally, as a superintendent she will have the opportunity to positively represent a population whose contributions are often overlooked in this society.

    Because of her experience as a Latina in the United States, she has dedicated a substantial amount of time towards promoting cultural diversity and higher education among Latino students. She has organized English for Language Learner classes for monolingual adults, assembled a scholarship list for high school Latino students in the Yakima Valley, helped prepare and deliver Christmas baskets to low-income Latinos in the Cheney community, helped organize two Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano@ de Aztlán high school student conferences, and she has coordinated a Día de los Muertos event as well as a Día de los Niños event at Eastern Washington University. She is additionally a LEAP (Latino Educational Achievement Project) Ambassador and advocates for 1079 students in Olympia on a regular basis.

    On top of her extracurricular activities, she has maintained a 3.8 grade point average and has made the Dean's list seven out of the eight quarters that she has attended Eastern Washington University.

    Amy has had the opportunity to present one of her research projects titled, "Secondary Education in the Yakima School District," at the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Conference in Portland, OR and the NACCS Pacific Northwest Fall Regional Conference at Heritage University. 



    Dr. Martin Meraz Garcia, Assistant Professor, Chicano Education Department, EWU


    TRiO McNair Research Internship:___________________________________________________________

    Perceptions of College Among Latino Elementary School Students (2013)

              According to the Pew Research Center, the disparity between Latinos (14.5%) and Caucasian (51%) students ages 25 and older who had an earned bachelor's degree in 2012 continues to concern scholars and policymakers. For this reason, this project looks at the college perceptions among Latino elementary school students in Washington State and how schools can improve their academic achievement. One unique aspect of this research includes the different perspectives according to gender among Latino children. This aspect of the research is important because the gap between males and females attending college continues to increase.  

                Scholarly articles (Chung and Dickson 2011; Spears, Brown, and Chu 2012; Moreno and Gaytán 2013; Becerra 2012), support the statement that the educational system in the United States can improve the services provided to Latino students in order to increase their chances of attending college. Some concerns raised by these scholars includes the lack of certified teachers and administrators who are culturally competent and can help Latino students develop the skills they need to succeed in college. These skills include effectively managing issues that may result from their socioeconomic and undocumented status, language barriers, and a lack of positive sense of cultural identity.

              With approval from the Institutional Review Board at Eastern Washington University, this study used a rendition of the Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark doll experiment adapted to address Latino student's self-perception regarding academics. Additionally, interviews and focus groups of Latino children and parents were conducted as well as a survey of teachers totaling approximately 250 participants (N=250). The interviews of approximately 100 randomly selected children in grades 2-5 from five different schools focus on self-reflection and their academics.  At least 75% of the students in these districts were of Latino background with 79% qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Approximately 50 parents were recruited using the Snowball Sampling Method. The focus groups with Latino parents aimed at identifying factors they believed may be contributing to the academic perceptions of their children. Lastly, a survey of approximately 100 teachers across Washington State was conducted with questions aimed at gauging their cultural competency.  The study finds that schools can intervene much earlier and do more to help Latino children develop the foundation needed to prepare them for the rigors of higher education.


    Conference Presentations:________________________________________________________________

    Perceptions of College among Latino Elementary School Students,

    The Depiction of Latinos on KIMA Action News in Yakima WA,

    Secondary Education in the Yakima School District,

    The Cuban Educational System,


    Honors and Awards:______________________________________________________________________



    Contact Information

    Eastern Washington University
    526 5th Street
    Cheney, WA 99004

    phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)

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