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Edith Melendez

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Edith Melendez

Edith Melendez  is currently a student at Eastern Washington University majoring in Applied Developmental Psychology. Through the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at Eastern Washington University, she has conducted a qualitative project under the guidance of Dr. C. Torres-Garcia, director of the McNair Scholar Program, and Dr. S. Davis, professor in the Psychology Department, on identifying gaps in academic services for undocumented students at EWU campus using anonymous online surveys. The results were used to frame an argument on the importance of building a space or center for undocumented students. Edith has presented her findings at several national undergraduate conferences. She is developing her manuscript for publication. Edith recently got selected as an Academic Research Consortium Scholar. She will be conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating, an Associate Professor in the Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology, at the University of California Santa Barbara. 

McNair Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Shanna Davis - Psychology

McNair Research Title: Developing a Support Center without Borders: Enhancing Services for Students Without Documentation 

McNair Research Abstract: College students without documentation (students) face many academic support hardships. As defined by the National Immigration Law Center, an undocumented person is a foreign national who resides in the United States with fraudulent documents or entered without authorization. Every year hundreds of motivated students with high potential to succeed in an academic setting enroll into four-year university with hopes of becoming upwardly mobile and contributing to society. Unlike college students with authorization, they have added stress and pressures relating to overcoming financial, social, and educational challenges. Despite these obstacles and legal status, they persevere and achieve academic success along educational pipelines. However, many universities in Washington State lack support structures that provide social support, personal development, and support services specifically tailored to college students without documentation. As such, the recommendations outlined in this essay suggests that creating a center will empower students and better support them.

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