Ph.D. Student Luis Leyva Recognized for Research and Honored for Teaching
Luis Leyva, Ph.D. Candidate at Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE), was recently awarded the National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year. This fellowship supports a cohort of 30-35 interdisciplinary scholars pursuing research that advances the field of education. Selected as a NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship finalist, Leyva will be funded during the 2015-2016 academic year to complete the writing of his doctoral dissertation. Leyva’s dissertation research draws on intersectionality from Critical Race Theory to examine the racialized and gendered mathematics experiences of successful Latin@ engineering students at a diverse yet predominantly white four-year institution. Below is Leyva ‘s presentation at the GSE’s Brown Bag Series on findings from a study exploring the mathematics experiences of first-year African American and Latin@ college students at a predominantly white university:
Leyva was also honored as the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student Award from the Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick. The award is given to a graduate student who demonstrates generosity of effort, inspiration of future work and career choice, and extension of efforts beyond formal classrooms. Each year, the Graduate School-New Brunswick recognizes those students and faculty who have won awards for their excellence in teaching, graduate research, administrative service, and dissertation teaching at the Graduate School-New Brunswick’s Annual Spring Awards Reception, which was held April 23, 2015.
Leyva is enrolled in the Ph.D. program with an emphasis on mathematics and higher education. He has taught multiple courses to undergraduate and graduate students at Rutgers University including “Modern High School Mathematics,” “Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School” and “Individual and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom.” Leyva has been the Program Coordinator for the Teaching Assistant Project (TAP) since 2013 where he leads college teaching seminars. In addition, he has worked with Rutgers Upward Bound, which is a program that helps support underprivileged high school students as they prepare for college and has served on the executive board of the GSE’s Student Affairs Committee (G-SAC). In 2011, Leyva was named New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher of the Year by the New Jersey Department of Education.
“It is an honor to be recognized for my work in educational research and undergraduate teaching,” says Leyva. “These distinctions reflect the supportive community of faculty and students at the GSE who inspire me each day in my development as a scholar.”
 Drawing on Gutiérrez (2012), the term Latin@ decenters the patriarchal nature of the Spanish language that traditionally groups Latin American men and women into a single descriptor (Latino) denoting only men. The @ symbol allows for gender inclusivity among individuals of Latin American backgrounds compared to the either-or form (Latino/a) that promotes a gender binary.