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COEHD center showcases policy research from across university

by Jo Ann Jones, COEHD    |    December 20, 2017

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The College of Education and Human Development’s Center for Research and Policy in Education hosted a series of presentations this semester on education and policy research by faculty and graduate students from across the university.

The presentations were part of the recently established Policy and Research in Education Seminar Series (PRESS) that have featured educational research on underserved and underrepresented populations from scholars in higher education, educational psychology, bicultural-bilingual studies, sociology, and demography. Attendees, comprised of professors, graduate students, and staff, have the opportunity to provide constructive feedback to the presenter.

“I think PRESS is a really good opportunity to improve yourself and get some exposure for the work and research you do in the college,” said Mingxia Zhi, third-year doctoral student in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. “There’s also a potential for collaborations across departments.”

Zhi presented her research on “Parent Talk, College Aspiration, and College Enrollment for English Language Learners” earlier this semester. The feedback she received from PRESS attendees helped her to improve her research.

“As a graduate student, I have learned a lot from these interactions,” said Zhi. “For myself, I am really proud that I presented and received very good feedback on my work.”

PRESS is the brainchild of COEHD faculty members Drs. Amaury Nora, Sofia Bahena, Vanessa Sansone, and Guan Saw. These professors saw a need to develop and foster a community of education researchers within the college and beyond.

“We really wanted to do something for graduate students so that they can have opportunities to present their emerging research,” said Ripsimé Bledsoe, doctoral student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and PRESS co-facilitator. “It is an opportunity for faculty to not only present their research, but to also support graduate students and help them improve their craft.”

This semester, four doctoral students and two faculty members presented their research on education and policy. Each PRESS presentation brought together more than 20 attendees in person and through live streaming. The number of presenters and attendees, Bledsoe said, will hopefully continue to grow each semester.

“I am hoping that PRESS grows larger, but still maintains this intimate opportunity to be with fellow researchers and get feedback and feel like you’re supported,” said Bledsoe. “PRESS is really an opportunity to cultivate a community of researchers. So far, it’s been wonderful.”

PRESS will continue in the spring of 2018. Faculty or graduate students interested in presenting their research should contact PRESS co-facilitators Bryan Duarte ( or Ripsimé Bledsoe (

Photo courtesy of Dr. Guan Saw, Educational Psychology

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