BEE Lab Bio
Melissa Quesada is a Latina first-generation college student from Huron, Ca. Her educational experiences and growing up in the Central Valley fuel Melissa's research interests, which are in sociology of education, race and Latinx sociology. In 2017, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Philanthropic and Community-Based Leadership from California State University, Fresno. She was also a McNair scholar. In 2019, Melissa completed her masters' thesis titled “Are You a Teacher? Educational Background and Earning a Teaching Credential Among California Latinx College Graduates.” Melissa’s masters was created with support from a grant from the UC Office of the President’s California Teacher Education Improvement Network (CTERIN), on which she was a co-PI with my advisor, Irenee Beattie, and an interdisciplinary team of research partners.
In 2021, Melissa became a part of two research grant teams that focused on education and race. First, under the guidance of Irenee Beattie (along with faculty collaborators at UC Merced and Penn State), we are examining how institutional use of federally mandated data categories (IPEDS) for reporting race and ethnicity and how it erases some Black student subgroups from being counted as Black in institutional analyses. In 2021, Melissa also joined the UC PromISE Grant team at UC Merced with Zulema Valdez (PI), and other Co-PIS—Tanya Golash-Boza, Whiney Pirtle, and Maria Escobar—to investigate how “nested contexts of reception” shape the educational incorporation—measured by sense of belonging and academic achievement—of undocumented students on the University of California and California State university systems.
Melissa took comprehensive exams in sociology of education and race; as well as have taught Soc 132: Sociology of Education and Soc 180: Advanced Issues in Race and Ethnicity. Melissa is currently working on her dissertation project which builds on Glenda Flores’ seminal scholarship to integrate intersectionality and the life course perspective to examine how Latinx’s educational pathways into or away from teaching differ by gender and how they are influenced by interpersonal connections, social factors, and educational institutional practices. Melissa is interested in examining how a culmination of experiences across Latinx individuals’ early life influenced them to go into the teaching profession or not. Her dissertation research has been funded by the 2022-23 AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship.