Did you know that each year graduate students from every UC campus travel to Sacramento to school lawmakers about the importance of graduate research?
Two students from each campus, along with their Dean of Graduate Students, are selected each year to meet with local legislators and advocate for the support of UC graduate studies and research.
This year, Lois Harmon, Ph.D. Education, and Tori Greenen, M.S. Environmental Science & Management, will both represent UCSB along with Dean Carol Genetti at the eighth annual Graduate Research Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 19.
Lois Harmon plans to inform legislators about her research project: How elementary pre-service teachers acquire knowledge for supporting English Learners’ academic language development.
Lois was inspired to pursue this research focus after an education abroad experience in Seville, Spain: "I realized that it was a huge challenge having to speak Spanish the entire time—but this was a choice I made. In the United States, speaking another language is beyond the control of many children who arrived here with their parents."
As part of her advocacy, Lois stated, “I would like to inform policymakers about the needs in our local schools for new teachers to learn how to instruct non-English background students.”
Tori Greenen will detail her master’s project, Go-Zero, to legislators. Go-Zero looks to develop strategies to help the California Governor’s Office incentivize the installation of electric vehicle chargers at workplaces.
Tori explained her motivation to advocate: “As a UCSB graduate student and as a citizen, I am driven to find solutions to climate change and the many impacts it will have."
After graduation, Tori is interested in continuing her work that draws from business, policy, and engineering to create sustainable energy solutions.
Watch the videos below to learn more about Lois and Tori and their research advocacy mission.