Latina Researchers Network
Social Justice Essay Challenge
WINNING ESSAY BY DR. FLORALBA ARBELO
We asked the Latina Researchers Network, “How are you using scholarship or evaluation to promote social justice for Latinx, their families or community?” We are excited to feature the winning essays. They remind us that no matter the circumstances, the challenges or obstacles, we all have an important story. Stories that will open the doors to the next generation of investigators – stories that transcend geographic location and academic disciplines.
*Essays were edited for content and brevity.
Floralba Arbelo, Ed.D. Assistant Professor of Education, Carlos Albizu University, Miami
Dr. Floralba Arbelo speaks to her education as a means to promote social justice by investigating topics linked to Latina/o academic success.
Being a Latina Scholar is a privilege; with it comes the responsibility to help other Latina/o’s and their families achieve their goals and to help our community progress.
I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an educator, and a scholar; each role has shaped who I am and how I contribute to the Latina/o community.
Years ago, I determined to use my education as a means to promote social justice by investigating topics linked to Latina/o academic success. I have dedicated my scholarship to raising awareness, particularly among the academic community.
In highlighting questions related to Latina/o students’ academic persistence, success in higher education, and high school completion, I look at culture from an asset-based perspective, how higher education institution can best serve their Latina/o college students, and why high school teachers and staff should make it their business to understand the barriers that our people confront when working toward their academic goals. I believe my scholarship has raised consciousness about these pressing issues in our community.
I believe this type of scholarship will inspire other Latina/o’s to research and work to promote the success of Latinas/os.
In researching critical topics that engage scholars, academic leaders, policymakers, teachers, counselors, and other leaders who have the ability to contribute to the progress of Latinas/os, another brick is placed on the wall of progresso para mi gente.
I understand that the future of nuestra gente depends in part on the educational pathways available, the networks, support, and mentorship available to them. Those in unique positions of influence should use that influence for the good of the Latina/o community. These topics give a voice to our Latina/o community, share insights on equitable student support practices that truly impact Latina graduation rates, and inform practices para el bien of our community. Palante!