May 19, 2022

Dissertation Award Winners, 2022 – 2023

It is our pleasure to announce the TNDY Dissertation Award Winners for the 2022 – 2023 Academic Year. Please join us in congratulating the following students whose work stands out in its academic rigor, sophistication, innovation, and contribution to transdisciplinary scholarship.

Sergio Gonzalez

School of Educational Studies

“A Jotería Identity and Belonging: Pláticas of Co-Creation with Queer Latinx Graduate Students in Higher Education”

Homophobia, patriarchy, and white supremacy are deeply embedded in academia and our communities; consequently, there is a lack of empirical research that speaks to the collective experiences connected to Jotería, queer people of color, and Latinx/a/o graduate students (Tijerina Revilla & Santillana, 2014). Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory qualitative dissertation is to understand how sense of belonging informs the identity development of queer Latinx/a/o graduate students in higher education. By incorporating Jotería Identity and Consciousness and Sense of Belonging as guiding frameworks, this dissertation will lay the foundation to center queer Latinx/a/o graduate students’ lived experiences through the co-creation of authentic pláticas.

Anthony Lyons

Center for Information Systems & Technology / School of Educational Studies

“Data Industry Career Competencies for Post High School African American Males”

On many comparative lists regarding STEM students and workers, African American males are an unacceptably low percentage of the population. This research seeks to ascertain which transdisciplinary components are fundamental for programs seeking to identify, needs assess, and assist African American, post high school males interested in the Data Science and Analytics field. By identifying which skills are fundamental for an entry-level Data Analytics career, but also the skills gaps that may hinder an individual’s success, facilities interested in developing competency-based training programs and data analyst pipelines will have a roadmap to follow.

Jessica Moss

School of Arts & Humanities / Cultural Studies

“Interfaith Communities: Relationships in Thirdspace”

Contending with, and expanding the understanding of, diverse interfaith relationships, this project presents a nuanced awareness of interfaith action and the dialectic of lived religion with interfaith engagement. Arguing that interfaith is a type of thirdspace in which engagements have affective impacts on individuals within interfaith communities, as well as orientation towards religious communities.  While there are common struggles, interpretations, and socializations that hinder the participation of women and non-binary individuals in institutional interfaith spaces, observing organic interfaith relationships as occurring in thirdspace allows for the recognition of radical inclusion and dedication to diversity.

Ana Ortiz Salazar

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation / International Studies

“The Future of Plastics Scraps Trade: Identifying Determinants and Impacts of the Shifting Global Plastic Scraps Network”

China’s 2017 National Sword policy, which banned plastic scraps imports, has had ripple effects throughout the global plastics scraps trade network. The consequences are cross-sectoral and multi-scalar, resulting in cascading impacts across markets, policy, natural environments, and human public health. To anticipate the future impacts of a shifting global plastic scraps network, the author first uses a Social Network Analysis (SNA) approach to explore the network’s topological changes over time. To better understand those changes and their consequences, a cross-sectional time-series multi-method analysis is also used, identifying characteristics that make countries more likely to become havens for plastic waste.

Monica Perkins

School of Educational Studies

“Toward Black Feminist Theorization in the History of U. S. Medical Education”

Seminal literature on early twentieth century Black women physicians is often biographical and bereft of contextualization within the construction and reform of medical education in the United States.  Furthermore, discourse on the history of US medical education has an ahistorical ethos that places Black women’s epistemologies on the margins. This study employs Black Feminist Thought in archival research on California’s earliest Black women physicians within the context of the construction and reform of medical education to problematize and nuance understandings of early twentieth century US medical education and challenge how scholars interpret archival gaps to develop historical claims.

Rebecca Williams

School of Arts & Humanities / Music

“Piano Instruction: An Exercise in Collaborative Creativity through Dialogic Pedagogy”

Private piano instruction necessitates dialogic pedagogy and a collaborative mindset to enable the co-creation of knowledge between teacher and student because it seeks to teach affective and motor skills in addition to the traditional cognitive learning of the classroom. This project lies at the intersection of musicology and pedagogy, weaving together historical artifacts with current pedagogical practices. A textual analysis of historical keyboard pedagogy sources will be conducted and analyzed through the lenses of a set of pedagogical frameworks. Several case studies will be conducted using these frameworks to determine if dialogic pedagogy elicits agency and fulfillment in piano students.

This year we were also able to recognize and award three “Honorable Mention” distinctions for work showing exceptional promise and impact.  These awardees will receive additional funds to carry out their dissertation research.

Maritza Cha

School of Educational Studies

“Exploring college knowledge: Diálogo between college counselors and socioeconomically disadvantaged Latinx public high school students”

The purpose of this dissertation study is to explore college counselors’ experiences establishing relationships, engaging, and sharing college knowledge with socioeconomically disadvantaged Latinx students. The researcher will be doing their dissertation employing plática methodology, this study aimed to understand the experiences of both college counselors and Latinx high school students as they enter in diálogo around the college guidance process. The research sheds light on the constraints and opportunities in the college guidance process, contributing to research and practice for a critical group of high school students. 

Marcia Joppert

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation / Psychology

“Evaluation Education in a World in Transformation: The Way Forward”

This study adopts a transdisciplinary perspective by examining how formal evaluation education programs (FEEP) respond to challenges in the field of evaluation in a world in transformation. Decision-makers need sound evidence to understand the dynamic change the world has faced and its impacts. This scenario has provoked discussions about the need to change how evaluation is practiced and taught. However, evidence is lacking about whether education programs prepare evaluators for this new scenario. By gathering data from evaluation experts and Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE), this study will provoke reflections on how FEEP should adapt or change.

Chengcheng Zhang

School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation / Economics

“How do demand-side incentives relate to insurance transitioning behavior of public health insurance enrollees? A novel voting ensemble approach for ranking factors of mixed data types”

To estimate the insurance transitioning behavior of the public health insurance enrollees in the U.S., we conduct factor analysis importance based on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2011 – 2018. We aim to quantify the relationship between insurance transitioning and related factors. We also design a voting ensemble to obtain two types of relatively model-free ranking scores for each factor. We find that the top five driving factors of insurance transitioning are number of physician office visits, family size, chronic condition, age and family income. A predictive model based on the top-ranked factors is provided and model validation result shows that it is competitive to other popular prediction methods.

Again, we would like to extend our congratulations on this great work as we wish everyone a productive year with their research and writing.