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Doctoral candidate receives ACES Award

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


aces awardMaria Delgado understands that women of color are underrepresented in leading administrative positions at community colleges. Now, she has been recognized for her work in bringing attention to this inequity.

Delgado, a doctoral candidate in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation at the recent Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) celebration for her project titled “Women of Color Leading Community Colleges”. The recognition was accompanied by a $250 monetary award.

The ACES symposium is a university-wide, daylong event that showcases the best of UTA students' research and creativity. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty mentors to write and submit abstracts for the competition. The approved abstracts are then turned into poster presentations to be presented at the symposium.

“The significance of this study expands the literature about women of color in higher-level administration and contributes to the change in the hiring practices that community colleges currently use,” writes Delgado in her project’s abstract. “Fully understanding the extensiveness of women of color in higher-level administrative positions in community colleges in Texas is important because women of color serve as an asset and resource for students, thus the significance of this study also provides a paradigm to current community college leaders about practices for employee recruitment and retention that benefit women of color.”

For Delgado, her interest in the topic goes beyond the purely academic. “The reason why I decided to design a research study that focuses on women of color it is because I’m intrigued by the underrepresentation of women in higher-ranking administrative positions at community colleges,” she says. “But, the most intriguing part is when the numbers are disaggregated by ethnicity, women of color remain underrepresented in higher-ranking administrative positions.”

Receiving recognition at the ACES symposium for her work means a great deal to Delgado. “As a Hispanic woman sometimes, I doubt about my skills as researcher and I am in constant search for people who can validate me. Earning the award gave me the validation that I needed and motivated me to work harder and to keep representing well my Hispanic community.”

“I am very grateful towards my dissertation Chair, Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen,” Delgado continues. “She has supported me in this journey and due to her advice I decided to send my proposal to participate in the symposium. Dr. Ozuna Allen has influenced me to be passionate about research. She always challenges me to work harder and to do better in my research skills, but most importantly, she has encouraged me to believe in myself and given me the confidence that I needed to be successful in my doctoral studies at UTA.”

That admiration is returned by Dr. Ozuna Allen, who served as judge with Dr. Jon Leffingwell and Dr. Janet Melton for students representing the College of Education.

“I am extremely proud of Maria Delgado,” says Dr. Ozuna Allen. “Over the years, I have witnessed her growth and development as a practitioner-scholar. Her topic addresses the leadership development of women of color in community colleges, which is a critical topic in higher education administration. The findings from her study will have significant implications for community college research, policy, and practice.”

aces award

(l to r) Dr. Taryn Ozuna Allen, Maria Delgado and Dr, Jon Leffingwell

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