Students Share Research During Scholars Week

Published on May 02, 2023

Every April, Eastern Kentucky University hosts Scholars Week, a time when faculty and students celebrate, showcase and promote their academic achievements within the EKU community. Events range from presentations to Scholars Tank, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate and expand upon what they’ve learned in the classroom. 

Kaitlin Coyle, a senior triple major in broadcasting & electronic media, English and Spanish, presented her research, “Exploring the Challenges of Biracial and Multiracial Latino/as in the U.S.,” during Scholars Week. 

“My research focuses on the unique challenges that biracial and multiracial Latino/as face growing up in the United States. My research also reveals that Latino/a identity is much more complex than the U.S. census can grasp, as many Latino/as view their Latinidad as part of their racial heritage,” said Coyle. 

Coyle’s relatedness with her research topic is what initially sparked her interest. Coyle identifies as a white Latina—her mother is Panamanian while her father is American. Although she grew up in Berea, Kentucky, she was born in Italy and considers herself to be from Kentucky, Panamá and Italy. 

“Many of the challenges that I outlined within my research were challenges that I personally experienced,” said Coyle. 

Elizabeth Guadarrama, a junior majoring in Spanish teaching, also presented research alongside her peers during Scholars Week. Guadarrama’s research was titled, “Pathways to Educational Attainment for Latinx Students.” 

“My research is to look at better methods to ensure academic success among diverse students in the classroom,” said Guadarrama, from Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Through her research, she discovered that diverse or culturally competent educators have a significant impact on students of color. “There has been better academic performance, improved graduation rates, and students are more likely to attend post-secondary education. Along with this, students reported feeling positively academically challenged and cared for when taught by a diverse educator,” said Guadarrama. 

Like Coyle, Guadarrama felt a personal connection with the topic she chose for her presentation.

“In high school, I had my culturally competent teacher, and now in college I have my diverse professors. Each plays a part in my academic success; without them I would not be here right now answering any questions,” said Guadarrama.

Both Coyle and Guadarrama also presented their research at the Posters at the Capitol event in Frankfort, Kentucky, in March. 

“I would also love any opportunity to continue presenting this research project as I think it is such an important topic in the United States and something that I am very passionate about,” said Coyle.

Guadarrama wants to work with librarians to find more information that will later help to get her research published. “I would like to work on getting it published and bring in other researchers for the topic of discussion,” said Guadarrama.

Several students presented varying research topics throughout Scholars Week. Presentations included artwork, original writing, research and other scholarly and creative work. Scholars Week increases opportunities for faculty scholarship, research and faculty-student collaboration through recognition of research, academic excellence and professional success.