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Amy Nunez


Bio, Research, Abstract

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    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

    2013 TRiO McNair Research Internship-Perceptions of College Among Latino Elementary School Students

    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:__________________________________________________________________

    Núñez, A. (2013). Perceptions of College among Latino Elementary School Students. Ronald E. McNair Scholar Summer Internship Research, Cheney, Washington, Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García (Summer 2013) The purpose of this research is to discover the perceptions of college among Latino elementary school students and explores factors which may lead to these perceptions. It aims to identify ways in which we can improve our educational system by addressing the needs of Latino students and concurrently improving their academic achievement.

    Núñez, A. (2013). The Depiction of Latinos on KIMA Action News in Yakima WA. Paper Presented in an Introduction to Chicano Culture Course, Cheney, Washington, Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García                                                

    Núñez, A. (2013). The Cuban Educational System. Paper presented at the Eastern Washington University Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, Cheney, Washington, Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García (Spring 2013) This research seeks to discover why Cuba's educational system is successful in regards to academics, attendance rates, literacy rates, and retention rates. It additionally explores the similarities and differences in the educational systems between Cuba and the United States.

    Núñez, A. (2013). Secondary Education in the Yakima School District. Presented at the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Conference, Portland, Oregon, Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García (Fall 2012) This research investigates the trends of graduation and dropout rates of Latino students in the Yakima School District. It aims to discover some of the different factors which contribute to the lack of motivation from students and analyzes the strategies that the school board, counselors, and teachers are doing to address this issue.

    Núñez, A. (2013). Secondary Education in the Yakima School District. Presented at the NACCS Pacific Northwest Fall Regional Conference, Toppenish, Washington, Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García

    Núñez, A. (2012). The Cuban Educational System. Paper presented at the  "Why I Went to Cuba" Public Forum, Cheney, Washington,  Mentor: Dr. Martín Meráz García 

    Honors and Awards:_______________________________________________________________________

    McNair Scholar Summer Internship, Awarded $2,800. The goal of the McNair Program is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. (2013)

    Sea Mar Internship Recipient, Awarded $3,840. Sea Mar Health Clinics pride in "proudly serving all persons without regard to race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, or sexual preference, and regardless of ability to pay for services." (2013)

    Margarett Dunn Scholarship, Awarded $500, $200, $200. (2011, 2012, 2013)

    Trustees Scholarship, Awarded $3,000. (2012, 2013)

    President's Office Award, Awarded $1,200.  This grant was awarded to seven students who were chosen as part of a delegation to study abroad in Cuba. (Winter 2012)

    Las Aguilas "Aguila of the Year" Las Aguilas is an elite group of students whose mission is to succeed academically and to give back to the community. (2011, 2012)

    Diversity Grant, Awarded $4,700. The Diversity Grant aims to provide funding for a project regarding diversity and that can be completed during the academic year. M.E.Ch.A was awarded this grant for our Izcalli Calmecac High School Student Conference. (2011)

    Teacher's Scholarship, Awarded $1,000. (2011)

    Chicano Education Program Scholar, Awarded $1,000. (2010, 2011)

    Advantage Scholar, Awarded $1,000. Rewarded to first generation college students with a high insight resume score, cumulative grade point average, and financial need. (2010)



    Contact Information

    Eastern Washington University
    526 5th Street
    Cheney, WA 99004

    phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)

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