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Melissa Quesada awarded Pre-Professoriate Fellowship and Teaching Innovations Award

October 4, 2023
Melissa Quesada
Melissa Quesada

Congratulations to sociology graduate student, Melissa Quesada, who was awarded the UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellowship and the Sage Publications Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award!

The UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellowship aims to enhance faculty diversity and pathways to the professoriate for underrepresented students from Hispanic-serving institutions. The fellowship will support Melissa in pursuing professional development activities to enhance her teaching and research toolkits and conduct research that examines (1) the impact of intersectional inequalities on transitions to adulthood and work and (2) the influence of institutional policies and practices on student achievement outcomes.

The Sage Publications Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award is designed to support the next generation of sociology scholars and teachers who are committed to teaching and learning sociology. The award gave Melissa the opportunity to attend the American Sociological Association's Section on Teaching & Learning pre-conference workshop, grow as a scholar-educator, and improve her teaching methods to better serve our students. Melissa shared:

"My teaching philosophy draws its foundation from my educational journey as a Latina first-generation college student and enriched by the diverse groups of students I’ve had the privilege to instruct at UC Merced. I grew up in Huron, California; where [according to the 2016 U.S. Census], only 0.8% of the population had ever received a bachelor’s degree or higher. For me, studying sociology helped me process my own experiences and inequalities; therefore, meeting faculty who cared about teaching and learning along my journey motivated me to focus on my education. I want to cultivate a classroom space, where students can make those connections as well and be agents of change in their communities. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to inspire and empower my students to reach their full potential and achieve their learning objectives."