Irene Monica Sanchez, an incoming student in the Masters Program in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies-Higher Education, is currently working with Dr. Frances Contreras, who asserts that the College is lucky to have a student of Sanchez’ caliber. The feeling is mutual.
“I chose the UW College of Education because I believe in the work of Professor Contreras and felt I would be supported in the work I want to continue to do on the transfer portion of the pipeline,” says Sanchez, who has previously studied the experiences of Latino community college students transferring to the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). “I also chose the UW after the welcome I received when I visited the campus during GOMAP's prospective student days.”
Hailing from Riverside, California, Sanchez began her higher education at Riverside Community College. As she states, “I think that's important because I spent five years there and it informed what I wanted to do and was where I first got the idea to pursue a Ph.D.”
She obtained her undergraduate degree at UCSC, where she stayed busy working full-time for the UCSC Educational Partnership Center for the GEAR UP and Early Academic Outreach Program as a college facilitator at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville, specifically community and cultural organizations in Watsonville.
“At UCSC I was involved with a group dedicated to educational rights for undocumented and immigrant students,” Sanchez states. “Students Informing Now (SIN) as well as community based organizations in Watsonville such as The Watsonville Brown Berets and Girlzpace. In fact, I co-founded a girls empowerment group, worked for migrant education in Monterey County, and danced with White Hawk Indian Council for the Children.”
As a Sociology and Latin American/Latino Studies at UCSC, Sanchez wrote an outstanding thesis based on ten interviews or testimonios of Latina/o community college transfer students at UCSC and their educational journeys and experiences. Prior to UCSC she was one of thirty Latino students nationwide selected for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus summer internship program.
In 2006, she was selected for the UCLA Summer Program for Undergraduate Research where, under the mentorship of Professor Daniel Solorzano, she did research at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies exploring issues relating to Chicano community college students. Much of this informs her future work.
“I would like to continue to do work related to Chicana/o and Latina/o students access and educational opportunities, specifically focusing on the transitions between high school to community college and community college to four year universities for students of color. I would also like to continue to be involved in the community here in Seattle.”
College of Education, University of Washington
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