Foundation system

UIC doctoral student receives Ford Foundation thesis grant

Nancy Dominguez-Fret

Nancy Domínguez-Fret, a doctoral candidate in literacy, language, and culture at the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for the 2022-23 academic year.

Domínguez-Fret is the first UIC winner of the prestigious scholarship since 2002. She is one of 36 winners from more than 500 applicants, joining notable past winners such as former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor KT McFarland; Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State; and renowned civil rights activist and author Cornel West.

The award provides one year of support to doctoral or doctoral candidates who have demonstrated superior academic achievement and a commitment to careers in teaching and research at the college or university level to complete and defend their thesis .

The Ford Fellows program “aims to increase the diversity of college and university faculties nationwide by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of faculty who can and will use diversity as a resource for enrich the education of all students.

Domínguez-Fret, whose thesis research focuses on exploring the lived experiences of bilingual Latino American teachers who teach Spanish as their native language, is proud to deserve this honor.

“As a first-generation Latina doctoral student who is also a mother, I am grateful for this opportunity, which will provide me with the resources I need to complete my doctorate and create a space where I can network with other scholars from different backgrounds. ‘similar backgrounds.'” she said.

This year’s application was Domínguez-Fret’s fourth attempt for a Ford Foundation Fellowship. She credits Lindsay Marshall, writing specialist at the Graduate College; his advisor, P. Zitlali Morales, UIC Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education; as well as his committee members, fellow students, and the academic community for the success of his application, stating that they “believed in me and my thesis project, and their support motivated me to keep applying.”

“Working with Nancy over the past few years has been an absolute joy, not only because her research is critical and timely, but also because she embodies the ‘keep trying’ mantra that is so central to scholarship applications. of higher education. Nancy and I met frequently about her Ford candidacy, discussed ideas together, and worked on numerous drafts of each essay. I’m so thrilled that Nancy received the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship—no one deserves it anymore, and I can’t wait to see what brilliant things she does next,” Marshall said.

Diversity is a central resource in Domínguez-Fret’s research and teaching, empowering its participants and students through its commitment to uplift, center, and learn from their lived experiences.

Informed by critical Latino race theory and Chicano feminist theory, she includes her research participants as collaborators and “co-constructors of knowledge” in her research process.

“In my work as a teacher, I aspire to provide students, educators in initial and continuing education, with tools to ensure that they place at the heart the histories, cultures and linguistic practices of their student communities culturally and linguistically diverse of their curriculum,” she said.

Domínguez-Fret’s work with bilingual Latin American teachers at SHL will have a huge impact on education in Chicago for Spanish speakers.

“My research aims to learn from participants’ narrative testimonies and explore how participants’ educational experiences influence their teaching practices. The results of my research will expand the rare knowledge base in bilingual education and SHL about the experiences of bilingual Latina/o/x students across the pre-K-16 educational pipeline,” she said.

This research also offers opportunities to promote the importance of bilingual education and to center humanizing and socially just pedagogies in Spanish language programs.

Beyond her dissertation, Domínguez-Fret also conducts research and collaborates with Chicago-area Latino bilingual students, parents, educators, and scholars to create greater access to rigorous bilingual education programs based on social justice for their communities.

Since its launch in 1962, the Ford Fellows program has supported efforts to build a more equitable higher education system by providing scholarships to more than 3,500 scholars from traditionally underrepresented groups to enable them to progress to higher education. higher echelons of academia.

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