September 9, 2019

SFSU Alumni News from Dr. Melo Yap!

About Dr. Melo Yap

She was a first-generation college student. Her interdisciplinary training in Biology, Education, and Ethnic Studies shaped her versatility in using concurrent methodologies to advance research on underrepresented groups in STEM fields. At UCLA, she studied the influences to the scientific thinking of women of color STEM majors in the community college via mixed methods approach of qualitative questionnaire and critical network theory. She is also an alum of SFSU [B.A. Black Studies (now Africana Studies) & B.S. Physiology]—a SEPAL student and MARC Scholar at Dr. Vance Vredenburg’s research lab. She got her M.S. in Biological Sciences at CSULA, building theoretical models of biological systems. 

She is pursuing this project, because she believes that we should center the standpoint and voices of women of color in order to truly support them.  
About the Project
This project proposes to identify national trends in STEM pathways of women of color community college students and contextualize emergent and adaptive dynamics in their networks that influence their scientific thinking and navigational capital. To address the complexity of this understudied group’s academic journeys, we draw from interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks such as complex systems theory and Black feminist epistemology, and from mixed methods approaches such as statistical measures, network analysis, ecological diversity indices, and qualitative interviews. The project’s broader impact will contribute to transforming STEM access pathways for community college students, especially from underrepresented groups like women of color. Findings can inform diversity initiative programs of equitable strategies that center the perspective of an understudied group as primary stakeholders and central voices in their own success.

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