Teaching, Learning & Assessment

CSUMB Students & Alumna, Alisal High School Students, and Faculty Mentor Present at 18th CSU Symposium on University Teaching at CalState LA

Under the mentorship of Liberal Studies faculty member Dr. Miguel Lopez, Maria Martha Ramirez (CSUMB student, Psychology) and Lauren Ramirez (CSUMB student, Liberal Students) co-presented at the CSU Symposium on University Teaching with Ixel Cervantes and Leah Bracenas (both Alisal High School students) and Isela Villanueva (a CSUMB graduate and current 6th teacher at Natividad Elementary School). They were part of a larger group of CSUMB faculty members presenting at the symposium that highlights exemplary teaching across the California State University system. Twenty of the 23 CSU campuses participated.

Their presentation was titled "(Re)Imagining Grit: An Urban Perspective on the Lives of Academically 'Successful' Latinas" (abstract below). The students shared their testimonios and poetry at this professional conference and the audience erupted with cheers and applause when Ixel and Leah announced that they had been accepted to the CSU. Not only was their presentation a significant contribution to ongoing dialogue on improving teaching and learning across the CSU, but on a personal level it exposed the students to what is possible: more than one CalState LA student approached Ixel and Leah with offers to get them settled and connected should they choose to attend CSULA).

It was a significant effort on everybody's part to travel to CalState L.A., including Lauren's parents (pictured below) who made the long drive to L.A. with the group to take care of Lauren's 2-year-old son Diego during her presentation.

Miguel, Ixel, and Lauren will give a similar presentation at CSU Fresno in April.

CSUMB Students, Alisal High School Students, and Faculty Mentor Present at 18th CSU Symposium on University Teaching at CalState LA
Back: Lauren Ramirez (CSUMB student, Liberal Studies), Diego (Lauren's son), Lauren's father, Leah Bracenas (back; Alisal High School student), Lauren's mother (front), Ixel Cervantes (Alisal High School student), Maria Martha Ramirez (CSUMB student, Psychology), Isela Villanueva (CSUMB graduate & 6th grade teacher at Natividad Elementary School), Miguel Lopez (CSUMB Faculty, Liberal Studies)

Presentation abstract

(RE) Imagining grit: An urban perspective on the lives of academically "Successful" latinas

The growth of “grit” and a “growth mindset” as lenses to promote and understand academic “success” have reshaped PreK-16 education. Yet, the complexities of how urban Latina youth “demonstrate” a subaltern grit and how, simultaneously, pre-service Latina teachers “see” (or, do not see) this grit, is still an arena for “observation” and research. This presentation explores how a mentorship model between “successful” urban Latina teens and undergraduate Latinas –preparing to be “maestras”—provides for an expanded understanding of an urban and culturally rich sense of “grit.” The presenters, through a community-based photography and “testimonio” project, model how the telling of “historias” by Latina youth, gives “voz” and agency to their lives—albeit through their “cultura” and love of “familia.” And, simultaneously, how the “testimonio” project is a teaching tool by which pre-service teachers are able to (re)examine educational frames, like, “social belonging” and “self-regulation,” and thus,“internalize” a (re)imagined grit.