Student scholars explain their work at Summer Education Research Poster Symposium

On Wednesday, Aug. 2, eight student scholars took part in the Summer Education Research Poster Symposium hosted by the UW–Madison School of Education’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

These student scholars had been conducting research alongside faculty mentors as a part of the 10-week Summer Education Research Program (SERP). The students, who came to Madison from across the country, delivered short presentations and spoke with those who attended the event about their findings.

The 2023 SERP scholars (Photo: Sirtaj S. Grewal)

This year’s event took place in the Education Building’s Morgridge Commons area. Following is a glance at each of this year’s SERP participants.


Keren Gomez-Villanueva

Home institution: Washington State University​

Faculty Mentor​: Andy Garbacz

Research focus: Factors influencing school teams’ implementation of equitable behavioral health practices

Biography: Keren is a rising senior majoring in elementary education with an endorsement in English language learning. Her research interest is in culturally sustaining practices within the classroom. At her home university, she is working on a project focused on integrating manipulatives during reading instruction and its effects on reading comprehension. She is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. ​


Yakob Lemma​

Home institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill​

Faculty Mentor​: Hailey Love

Research focus: Examining perceptions of early childhood support in four-year-old preschool for children with disabilities

Biography: Yakob is a rising junior double majoring in psychology and human development and family science. His research interests are in students of color and systemic racism in the education system. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. ​


James Lemuel​

Home institution: ​University of Texas at Austin​

Faculty Mentor​: Percival Matthews​

Research focus: Area, partitioning, analogy: exploring visual representation interventions for fraction addition

Biography: James recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was in the Plan II Honors Program and earned a major in mathematics, a teaching certificate in grades 7-12 mathematics, and minors in history and Asian American studies. His research interests focus on school closure; the relationships between communities, neighborhoods, and schools; and the implementation of ethnic studies into K-12 classrooms. Back home, James currently works as a high school math teacher in the Austin area.​

Portillo-Del Valle

Julianna Portillo-Del Valle​

Home institution: Pomona College ​

Faculty Mentor​: Haley Vlach

Research focus: The effect of culturally relevant content on word learning through dual-language storybooks

Biography: Julianna is completing her undergraduate degree in public policy analysis with a concentration on psychology. Her research areas are in early childhood development and learning, ethnic-racial identity development, and culturally responsive teaching. Her past research focused on popular banned children’s books released between 1970-2020. ​


Tierra Tresvant​

Home institution: Eastern Michigan University​

Faculty Mentor​: Erica Turner

Research focus: ​Minority serving community-based organizations with families and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

Biography: Tierra is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public and nonprofit administration. Her research interests include diversity, equity, and inclusion; youth nonprofit organizations; and education policy. She is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Presidential Scholar at her home institution.​


Abby Welch​

Home institution: University of California, Santa Barbara​

Faculty Mentor​: Diego Román

Research focus: Latinidad in rural Wisconsin: investigating teacher perceptions and instructional strategies for Latinx students

Biography: Abby is a rising fourth-year linguistics major and educational studies minor. Her research interests include ESL, foreign language education, and informal language learning methods. At her home institution, she is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.​


Matthew Wood​

Home institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill​

Faculty Mentor​: Nick Hillman

Research focus: Information as capital and its impact on potential first-generation college students

Biography: Matthew is a psychology major and education minor. During his time at UNC, Matthew has participated in the Scholarship Ambassador Program and Lookout Scholars, is a Covenant Scholar, and has held leadership positions in the Residence Hall Association. His research interests are in educational inequity, primarily first-generation and urban students. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.​


Leslie Yuqui​

Home institution: Bloomfield College ​

Faculty Mentor​: Mitch Nathan

Research focus: Unveiling mathematical cognitive shifts through gesture analysis in a collaborative setting

Biography: Leslie is a first-gen college student and a double major in mathematics and psychology. Her research interest is in how Latinx communities learn within math-related disciplines to foster meaningful engagement and encourage students to pursue STEM fields. Leslie runs her own nonprofit community organization called La Luz De Un Niño. She is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. ​

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