Cal State LA alumna receives award for doctoral dissertation on social justice

April 14, 2016

Los Angeles, CA -- Elva Cortez-Covarrubias, a recent graduate of Cal State LA’s doctoral program in educational leadership, has been honored for her dissertation on social justice.

Elva Cortez-Covarrubias received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Education Research Association Hispanic Research Issues Special Interest Group. The award was presented during the association’s conference last week in Washington, DC.  

“Dr. Cortez-Covarrubias is an amazing practitioner-scholar who continually strives toward social justice and equity for all students,” said Sharon Ulanoff, associate director of the Ed.D. program at Cal State LA. “Her dissertation fills a critical gap in the literature related to Latina leadership in K-12 schools and makes a significant contribution to the field. The award is well-deserved.” Ulanoff is also chair of Cortez-Covarrubias’ dissertation committee.

The award selection committee determined that Cortez-Covarrubias’ dissertation revealed “a promising combination of hard work and creative insight into the challenges facing Latina/o education.”

Cortez-Covarrubias’ doctoral dissertation, “Latinas Leading for Social Justice: Resistance and Recognition through Dual Language Programs,” is a narrative inquiry that gives voice to Latina leaders who work in K-12 schools. She recounts their testimonios to highlight the experiences that influenced their identity and leadership trajectories. Testimonio is a first person narrative.

“For my dissertation, my goal was to address the lack of attention to the experiences of school leaders from diverse backgrounds in the literature on leadership for social justice,” said Cortez-Covarrubias, who resides in Los Angeles.

Cortez-Covarrubias currently serves as the director of certificated performance evaluation support for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has previously served as a principal, assistant principal, English Language Programs coordinator, and teacher. She holds an M.Ed. and an administrative credential from the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA, and an M.A. in political science from University of Michigan.

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