Denisa Gándara

Denisa Gándara
Assistant Professor
Southern Methodist University
Member of Division J - Postsecondary Education

As a graduate student representative for Division J (Postsecondary Education), I worked with dedicated and talented graduate student leaders, whom I now consider my friends. With them, I helped organize and participated in various programs for graduate students, including research methods workshops and Twitter chats. I personally benefitted from these initiatives, which were intended to enhance graduate students’ research skills and content expertise.

In addition to these year-long programs, AERA’s opportunities for cross-divisional learning constitute unique and valuable features of this organization. As a member of two divisions—J and L (Educational Policy and Politics)—and of various Special Interest Groups (SIGs), I have learned about how issues in which I am interested (e.g., higher education access for students with undocumented status) intersect with or are being addressed in areas outside of postsecondary education.

AERA has also afforded me the opportunity to form valuable professional relationships with students and faculty members. In addition to friendships, numerous career opportunities have emerged from these interactions, including two research collaborations. In sum, as a graduate student, AERA has facilitated the development of my scholarly identity and skills and allowed me to build long-lasting relationships. Indeed, my experiences with this association have been central to my development as a scholar and to my transition into a faculty role. 

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