Elvira Abrica Associate Professor & PH.D. Coordinator
Ph.D., Higher Education and Organizational Change, University of California, Los Angeles, 2015
M.A., Higher Education and Organizational Change, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
B.A., Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2008
Cum Laude, Departmental Highest Honors, College Honors, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2008
Dr. Elvira J. Abrica’s research interests focus on increasing access to higher education for historically underrepresented groups across post-secondary institutional contexts. Her agenda centralizes students subjective experiences with race, ethnicity, and immigrant generation and includes research on experiences and outcomes for men of color; student identity exploration and development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields; organizational change and student equity in community colleges; and institutional research and assessment. Current projects include 1) a qualitative study on the vocational and transfer pathways of Black, Latino, and Asian American immigrant students within the Nebraska community college system; 2) a quantitative investigation of how community college leaders expand and restrict the STEM transfer function; 3) an exploration of the positioning of Latinos in the theoretical landscape of racial ontology. Dr. Abrica is a faculty affiliate of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools (CYFS) at Nebraska and Project M.A.L.E.S at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Abrica also serves as one of the co-principal investigators (CO-PI) for New Mexico Highlands University’s SomosSTEM (“We are STEM”) program. This research is funded by a National Science Foundation grant and it involves engaging students in more culturally informed, place and community-based undergraduate participation in STEM.
Prior to coming to Nebraska, Dr. Abrica worked professionally in institutional research, assessment and student affairs at four-year and two-year institutions. Past research studies--including a dissertation study titled “Thank God I’m Mexican: ;A Physiosocial Framework for Understanding Racial Reappraisal Strategies Among Latinos in Engineering"--have focused on Latino students in engineering; perceptions of campus climate among transgender, LGBQ, international, and transfer students; and militarization of American public schools. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A native of Southern California, Dr. Abrica also holds a B.A. and M.A. from UCLA.>
Areas of Expertise
- Higher Education & Community Colleges
- Qualitative & Quantitative Methods
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Racial Oppression
- Transfer Programs
Dr. Abrica teaches in Higher Education and Educational Leadership, in the Community College Leadership specialization. Her teaching interests include topics related to access and equity, qualitative and quantitative methods, and organizational change. In serving as a faculty advisor and mentor to students, Dr. Abrica encourages students to think critically about research and to develop their own research agendas based on their interests and experiences. Prospective advisees are encouraged to pursue methodologically rigorous and conceptually innovative topics in developing thesis topics. Current students are working with Dr. Abrica to explore a range of topics related to success and completion in higher education.
- Abrica, E. (2018). How to measure student success? Toward consideration of student resilience as a metric of success in institutional accountability frameworks Community College Journal of Research and Practice.
- Abrica, E., Rivas, M. (2017). Chicanas in IR: Data-driven advocacy for Latino students from institutional research contexts in the community college. Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) Journal.
- Abrica, E. & Martinez, E. (2016). Strategies for navigating financial challenges by race, gender, and immigrant generation: Implications for persistence of Latino male community college students. Journal of Applied Research in the Community College.
- Alicea, S., Suárez-Orozco, C., Singh, S., Darbes. T., Abrica, E. (2016). Observing classroom engagement in community college: A systematic approach. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
- EDAD 842: College Students in America
- EDAD 920: Diversity & Equity in Educational Organizations