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Research Summaries

The College of Education’s New Mexico Research Initiative (2013) is focused on stimulating and advancing research of our faculty. Specifically we support critical education and related needs within the State of New Mexico such as STEM education, teacher preparation, early childhood development, and health outcomes.  The New Mexico Research Initiative grants support activities such as collecting and/or acquiring data, producing preliminary findings, preparing or submitting manuscripts for review, and/or activity that leads to the pursuit of external funding. 

Carlos LopezLeiva and Marios PattichisCarlos LópezLeiva
Department of Language, Literacy and Socio-Cultural Studies
Marios Pattichis
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Carlos and Marios have formed a cutting edge interdisciplinary team for "Advancing Out-of-School Learning in Mathematics & Engineering". This research team has already successfully developed a curriculum that integrates mathematics and engineering content through digital audio, image, and video processing.This exciting project has been implemented in two phases: a mathematics-engineering summer school during the Summer 2012, and a mathematics-engineering club during the Spring 2013. They are now working together to expand their efforts by focusing on the computer literacy issues that face New Mexico and the nation to include collaborative learning, mentoring, bilingual students and also redesigning free software to further support this effort.


Elizabeth YakesElizabeth Yakes
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education
Magdalena Avila 
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences

Elizabeth and Magdalena bring their unique skills and passions together by collaborating with Casa de Salud Clinic in the South Valley with Dr. Camila Romero to evaluate innovative culturally immersed diabetes education classes for mixed literacy groups of vulnerable immigrant populations.  This project "Controle la diabetes de por vida: A community-based participatory diabetes education research project" addresses a critical health education need in New Mexico by conducting and evaluating a "train-the-trainer" nutrition education program for monolingual Spanish speaking community health workers promotoras and bilingual student apprentices. In turn, it is anticipated that the promotoras and student apprentices will disseminate the nutrition education to other promotoras apprentices to reach 80% of Casa de Salud’s diabetes patients, 50% of other chronic disease patients and 500 community members.


Glenabah MartinezGlenabah Martinez
Department of Language, Literacy and Socio-Cultural Studies

Glenabah is examining race and cultural relations and its impact on curriculum in a racially and culturally diverse school. She is a gathering data on the experiences of Indigenous youth who attend a public high school and is also collecting and analyzing public documents of community relationships between the town and the pueblo. By examining both student and teacher perspectives, as well as current adult residents of the pueblo nation and the town, she will gather valuable data and first hand perceptions of school climate, attitudes, intercultural/racial relations, and town-pueblo relationships.


Alfredo Martinez and Peter WinogradAlfredo Martinez
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences
Peter Winograd
Center for Education Policy Research

Alfredo and Peter are collaborating with Albuquerque Public Schools on a project "An Analysis of Academic Performance on Athletes Compared to Non­ Athletes in a Large Urban School District" to explore how athletes differ from their peers in measures of academic success.  These COE researchers are gathering critical information on key policy issues that administrators are facing in regards to student athletics. They are determining how data can be used to inform those policy issues.


Deborah Cohen and Cristina PerryDeborah Cohen
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education 
Cristina Perry
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences

Deborah and Cristina are teaming together on a grant "Development and use of e-tablet technology to improve field data collection for dietary and physical activity behaviors of overweight and obese children in New Mexico" to develop software to improve data collection of pediatric dietary and physical activity behaviors.  By innovatively using e-Tablet technology the COE team will develop a method for users to toggle back and forth between English, Spanish and Spanglish and to be able to enter data directly into a database to help address this pressing health issue in New Mexico.


Trish Steinbrecher and James SeligTrish Steinbrecher
Department of Education Specialties
James Selig
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education

Trish and James identified a need for examining growth in New Mexico Standard Based Assessment SBA test scores for students with disabilities. "Project GRIST: Growth and readability in standards-based test scores for students with exceptionalities" will occur in two phases. Phase 1 will examine growth in NM SBA scores for students with disabilities; examine demographic variables that interact with these growth rates in this population; and compare growth rates between students with disabilities and students without disabilities.  Phase 2 will determine readability measures to be used and the location and identification of "probes" across multiple grade levels and subjects from New Mexico and other states.


Christine Mermier Ann Gibson Christine Mermier
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences
Ann Gibson
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences 

Christine is studying autophagy and physical activity’s important health implications in the study of diseases and how it can lead to better understanding of improving health outcomes through exercise. The word autophagy is derived from Greek words “auto” meaning self and “phagy” meaning eating. Autophagy is a normal physiological process in the body that deals with destruction of cells in the body. It maintains normal functioning by protein degradation and turnover of the destroyed cell organelles for new cell formation. During cellular stress the process of autophagy is upscaled and increased. Cellular stress is caused when there is deprivation of nutrients and/or growth factors. Thus autophagy may provide an alternate source of intracellular building blocks and substrates that may generate energy to enable continuous cell survival.


Cathy QiCathy Qi
Department of Educational Specialties

Cathy is examining the prevalence of “Potential language delays and behavior problems and the relationship between language and behavior among English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Hispanic preschool children enrolled in Head Start programs”. This research will enhance her currently funded grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Summer 2012 to Summer 2014). She is investigating the link between children’s early language scores and possible predictions to behavioral problems and social skills.  Dr. Qi will explore how various factors of home and classroom environments impact the relationship among language, social skills and behavior.


David AtencioDavid Atencio
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education

David is investigating Long Term Family and Child Outcomes of Young Children in New Mexico Home Visiting Programs”. He is collecting and analyzing data from families receiving home visitation services and will focus on the relationship of children’s development ratings and the assessment of their executive functioning, self-regulation and readiness. The study will also examine parental self-efficacy and parental stress after home visiting intervention.


Margo CollierMargo Collier
Department of Educational Specialties

Margo has developed a pilot project which will serve as a model in assisting incoming freshmen who struggle with the transition from high school to college prior to the start of fall classes,  “Speak to Write: Starting College Freshmen with Learning Disabilities off Right”. This projectis in keeping with UNM’s “First Year in High Gear” initiative. During Dr. Collier’s innovative two-week summer “Speak to Write” workshop, 16 incoming high school graduates will receive an iPad, instruction, practice in pre-writing techniques, use of speech recognition technology (SRT) to draft writing assignments, and mid-semester weekend tune-up sessions through their UNM freshman year of college.  The use of SRT will help to improve writing skills of this group of high school graduates who were diagnosed with learning disabilities (LD) are likely candidates for UNM remedial courses during their freshman year.


Matthew Lemberger-TrueloveMatthew Lemberger-Truelove
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education 

Matthew is pursuing a project, “Effects of the Student Success Skills Program on the Executive Functioning Skills, Feelings of Connectedness, and Academic Acheivement in Middle School Students” which will study the effectiveness of an evidence-based school counseling curriculum – Student Success Skills – as delivered by a school counselor on the executive functions, feelings of connectedness, and academic achievement of middle school students.  The study includes all participating middle school students in the Belen, New Mexico school district.


Susan CopelandSusan Copeland
Department of Educational Specialties

Susan is focusing on developing improved protocols and associated recommendations for eliciting perceptions of satisfaction with services from adults with Intellectual or Development Disabilities (I/DD). Dr. Copeland’s project  “Eliciting Perceptions of Satisfaction with Services from Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)” will determine how adults with I/DD would like to be asked about their satisfaction with services and supports (e.g., by whom, in what setting[s], in what format); and will determine what adults with I/DD think is important to ask about satisfaction with services. 


Zia HossainZia Hossain
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education

Zia will focus his research efforts on “Links between Parental Practices and Children’s Academic Achievement in Latino Families in New Mexico”. Dr. Hossain has collected data on parental practices and school-age children’s academic outcomes from 150 two-parent Latino families residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He will now use the Latino data set to conduct further data analyses and disseminate information on mothers' and fathers' involvement in children’s academic socialization, as well as how to identify predictors of fathers' and mothers’ involvement in children’s academic outcomes. His timely research is laying the groundwork for a National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development proposal to conduct research on fathers' contribution to early childhood development in Latino families in New Mexico.


Vanessa SvihlaVanessa Svihla
Department of Teacher Education

Vanessa is collaborating with multiple Co-PIs including UNM researchers from Architecture, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and ARTS Lab as well as representatives from the New Mexico Performance Assessment Network, ACE Leadership High School, CNM, the Native American Community Academy, Kubik Perspectives, Health Leadership High School, and the Education Resources Consortium. The project, “Performance Assessments are Rich and Reliable (PARR)” will pilot student performance assessments over the coming year. The PI and her team have an ultimate goal to develop and test performance assessments that are so important to provide students a rich means to demonstrate understanding of disciplinary content and practices in authentic real-world meaningful contexts.