California State University, Fullerton

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Studying Educational Success in Migrant Children

Doctoral Candidate Presents Research at College of Education Symposium

March 4, 2013

Alejandro Gonzalez '96 (B.A. in Spanish), a doctoral candidate in the preK-12 leadership concentration, knows how hard it is for migrant workers’ children. His parents worked the local strawberry fields and packinghouses, settling in Orange County to raise their five children.

His interest in working with migrant families piqued when he was a Cal State Fullerton undergraduate and participated in a summer program that assisted migrant students.

Gonzalez is a program specialist for the federally funded Migrant Education Program, San Diego County Office of Education, which serves Orange County.

He was among 23 doctoral candidates and Ed.D. graduates who discussed their research projects at the Feb. 20 "From Theory to Practice: Implications for Leadership, Access, and Diversity" Educational Research Symposium presented by the College of Education, the doctor of education in educational leadership program and the college's Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership.

"This event was an opportunity for us to celebrate the accomplishments of our doctoral students and share with our broader, local community research findings that can help solve educational problems that our doctoral students discover through their dissertation projects," said Dawn R. Person, director of the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership.

Real-World Research to Affect Change

As a doctoral student, Gonzalez wanted to do something more to make a difference in the educational lives of migrant families. For his dissertation, Gonzalez focused his efforts on not only providing high-quality educational support and services for these children, but also identifying ways migrant families have overcome barriers to ensure their children attain higher education.

The first in his family to earn a doctorate, Gonzalez graduates in May. His hope is to implement his research findings in the work of the Migrant Education Program.

Following his Feb. 20 presentation, Gonzalez elaborated about his research and experiences as a doctoral student.

"I'm hopeful my research will provide Migrant Education Regional Offices with qualitative data and personal experiences on effective educational strategies employed by migrant families with children in higher education."

Gonzalez also praised his faculty mentors — Isaac Cardenas, emeritus professor of Chicana and Chicano studies; Keni Cox, assistant professor of educational leadership; Miguel Zavala, assistant professor of secondary education; and Ronald E. Oliver, professor of educational leadership.

"As you can see," he said, "I have been fortunate to have multiple mentors in my academic life. This is an example of the great staff of the Educational Leadership Department."

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

Tags:  Academics & Research