Queer of Color Counter-stories from Engineering, Computing, and Mathematical Science Majors
Luis Leyva

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Vanderbilt University

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
In education broadly, research has documented unique experiences of oppression and resistance among queer Black and Latinx students, or queer students of color (QSOCs), negotiating their racial identities with heterosexist views on gender and sexuality among communities of color. However, the field lacks knowledge about QSOCs� experiences in specific content areas, especially engineering, computing, and mathematical (ECM) sciences plagued with racialized, heterosexist ideologies of ability. This study addresses this void through an intersectional analysis of 32 queer Black and Latinx students� narratives of oppression and resistance (or counter-stories) in pursuing ECM science majors at two predominantly white and two historically Black universities. This counter-storytelling analysis examines how classroom instruction and co-curricular support opportunities affirm and disaffirm queer of color identities, as well as QSOCs� coping strategies for protecting their identities and persistence in ECM sciences. The counter-stories are syntheses of various data sources for capturing reflective and situated dimensions of experience, including written autobiographies, classroom observations, individual interviews, participant journaling of everyday events, and group interviews with stimulus-recall of journaled events. Findings will contribute to developing a framework of QSOC-affirming STEM pedagogical practices, including instruction and student support, to inform ECM science departments� professional development across different university contexts.
About Luis Leyva
Luis A. Leyva is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University-Peabody College of Education & Human Development. His research explores how historically marginalized students across intersections of race, gender, and sexuality construct their identities while navigating instructional and student support contexts in undergraduate STEM education. Leyva?s scholarship has been distinguished as a 2016 Dissertation Fellow by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation and recipient of the 2018 Early Career Publication Award from the Research in Mathematics Education special interest group of the American Educational Research Association. Leyva has been awarded two multi-year grants from the National Science Foundation?s Division of Undergraduate Education as well as two research fellowships from the Mindset Scholars Network (New Venture Fund/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Women of Color in Computing Collaborative (Kapor Center/Center for Gender Equity in Science & Technology). His research has been published in the Harvard Educational Review, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, and Journal of Urban Mathematics Education. Leyva is the director of the Power, Resistance & Identity in STEM (PRISM) research lab at Vanderbilt University-Peabody College. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics education with a graduate certification in women?s and gender studies. Leyva was certified as a K-12 mathematics teacher in New Jersey and has over six years of professional experience in STEM college student support initiatives, including living-learning communities and summer bridge programs.

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