Claudia Saldaña Corral was a graphic arts instructor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez when she decided to use her artistry and teaching experience to help underprivileged children achieve brighter futures.
In 2012, Saldaña was accepted to the Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLC) Ph.D. program under the literacy/biliteracy concentration in UTEP’s College of Education.
The program has allowed her to combine her interests in art and education with research and practical experience to develop new teaching practices to help underprivileged children succeed in school.
“I envision working in academia or a nongovernmental organization,” said Saldaña, who expects to graduate in May 2018. “I plan to use my research to support children who come from disadvantaged communities to give them continuity in their education.”
Now in the dissertation phase of the program, Saldaña is one step closer to achieving her dream, thanks in part to the UTEP’s Woman’s Auxiliary Fellowship she received in September.
The fellowship awarded Saldaña $10,000, which will enable her to meet the demands of finishing her dissertation, which focuses on art as a mediating tool in children’s learning.
“This fellowship will help me to complete this important stage in the research development process, which requires a higher commitment from me,” Saldaña said. “This funding will be crucial in helping me to meet my short, medium and future goals of working with people in underserved communities to make a positive impact in their lives.”
The award also comes with a matching gift from the College of Education in the form of a paid research assistant position in the college.
Since 2011, the Woman’s Auxiliary of UTEP has provided annual fellowships to exceptional doctoral students like Saldaña to help them successfully complete their graduate studies. Saldaña was selected by the Graduate Scholarship Committee for her outstanding performance as a student. She has presented her research at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., and at the International Perspectives of Research in Arts Education workshop in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Saldaña has worked part time as a research assistant in the TLC program and as a lab coordinator in the Ethnography of Languages, Literacies and Learning (EL3) Lab to pay for her education. In the EL3 lab, she helps to organize research workshops for faculty and doctoral students.
“Claudia Saldaña Corral has been an exceptional doctoral student and researcher,” said College of Education Interim Dean William H. Robertson, Ph.D. “Her high-quality work and scholarly approach come as a result of her personal assets, which include persistence, dedication, organization and creativity. We in the College of Education and the Teacher Education Department are extremely proud of Claudia and celebrate her success in achieving this honor as the recipient of the Woman’s Auxiliary Fellowship for 2017-18.”
Author: Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications