Published: Jan 13 2014 12:00AM
Jason Rivera, administrative associate in the College's Office of Human Resources, Development, and Engagement, is one of 20 recipients for this year's American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE)/Ford Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Fellowship.
Mr. Rivera and his fellow co-recipients were selected from a pool of over 120 candidates. The AAHHE/Ford Fellows Program provides Latina/o doctoral students interested in entering academia with unique scholarly and professional development opportunities. To be selected as an AAHHE/Ford Fellow, students must be full-time graduate students, identify as Latina/o, aspire to enter the professoriate, exhibit academic potential through past experience and future career goals, and demonstrate a strong track record of service to the Latina/o community. As an AAHHE/Ford fellow, Rivera will develop a policy brief, further develop his research agenda, engage with a faculty mentor, and present his research at an upcoming AAHHE Conference, which will be held March 6-8, 2014 at the Hilton Costa Mesa, CA.
In addition to his work at the College, Rivera is a full-time advanced doctoral student in the Minority and Urban Education Department of Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership Program at the University of Maryland. In the last 15 years, Rivera has also served as a public school teacher, administrator, college instructor, and staff member. Throughout his career, he has encountered the systemic institutional and societal barriers that impact Latino student outcomes. These encounters--coupled with the multiple roles he occupies as a Latino male, educator, scholar, and social justice activist--are what have compelled him to pursue doctoral studies. As an emerging scholar, Rivera has been able to utilize his research and scholarship to contribute to the current dialogue on closing the achievement gap for Latino and African American students at Montgomery College. He has also served on a research team led by Dr. Victoria-Maria MacDonald that was charged with examining the low graduation rates of Latino males at a four-year public higher education institution in the greater Chicago area.
After serving on the Chicago research team, Rivera was invited to participate in the 40th Anniversary Symposium of Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS), which is also known as the Puerto Rican High School. PACHS was one of the first alternative schools to utilize critical and culturally responsive pedagogy to teach students ostracized and marginalized by the Chicago public school system. The PACHS experience brought three of Rivera's research interests--care, social, and cultural capital--into alignment and affirmed his professional aspirations.
Following his scholarly studies, Rivera is looking forward to advancing his academic career to support students on their educational journeys while continuing to honor his passion for social justice and community engagement. He also remains committed to helping reframe conversations about Latino males from deficit-oriented approaches toward models of success and how such models can be replicated to support Latino male college persistence and completion. Rivera's ultimate goal is to generate research and scholarship that favorably contributes to the growing national discourse on Latino male educational experiences.