UCR researchers awarded grants for education and business studies

Author: Imran Ghori
March 20, 2019

Two UC Riverside researchers were awarded grants from the Haynes Foundation for research work on studies examining minority entrepreneurs and students with achievement gaps.

The Los Angeles-based Haynes Foundation, established in 1926, provides grants and fellowships for research that advances social, political, and economic issues in Southern California.

In February, the group announced a $12,000 faculty fellowship award to Qingfang Wang, a professor of geography and public policy at the School of Public Policy. The foundation is also funding a two-year $200,000 major research grant to Cassandra Guarino, a professor of education and public policy at the Graduate School of Education and the School of Public Policy.

Wang, whose research has focused on inequality and development with a focus on minority communities, is conducting a pilot study on the experiences of Latina-owned businesses in the Inland area. 

Qingfang Wang
Qingfang Wang

While research suggests entrepreneurship can boost the social and economic mobility for women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups, there is limited knowledge of women and minority business owners in the Inland area, Wang said.

 “This study seeks to examine the diversity and fluidity of the entrepreneurial process and explore the possibility of empowering disadvantaged groups and enhancing their innovative potential as an agent for socioeconomic development,” she said.

Wang is working with the National Latina Business Women Association, Inland Empire chapter, and the Office of Research and Economic Development at UC Riverside on the study, which is titled “Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Entrepreneurship in Underserved Communities: Latina Women Owned Businesses in the Inland Empire Region.”

Guarino is studying the achievement gaps in mathematics among different minority groups, including English learner students, and how they may have changed since Common Core Standards were implemented.

The study, “Examining Disparities in Mathematics Achievement to Promote Equity,” looks at eight years of data from 23 school districts in Riverside County for students in grades 3 through 8, and 11. 

Cassandra Guarino
Cassandra Guarino

“It will help identify which schools and districts have done a good job in narrowing those differences,” Guarino said.

While the school districts track test scores and average performance for different groups of students, there has been no comprehensive study of achievement gaps before and after Common Core in the Inland region, she said.

Such data are greatly needed and can be used to help better serve all students, Guarino said.

The findings of the research will be presented to Riverside County school districts.