Educational Testing Service

March 03, 2009 09:40 ET

Hispanic Scholars Honored for Dissertations

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - March 3, 2009) - Four Hispanic scholars will receive cash awards from Educational Testing Service (ETS) at the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas on March 7. The awards recognize dissertations chosen from more than 50 entries, as part of the second annual competition sponsored by ETS.

Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, will receive the first place award, the "Kurt M. Landgraf Outstanding Dissertation Award," for her dissertation titled "Yalálag is No Longer Just Yalálag: Circulating Conflict and Contesting Community in a Zapotec Transnational Circuit."

Accepting the second place award will be Sandra Larios of the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University for her dissertation "Using the Social Ecological Model to Understand the Contextual Factors Associated with HIV Risk in Commercial Sex Workers at High Risk for Contracting HIV."

Adriana López of the University of Pittsburgh and Tiffany Schiffner of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will share the third place award. López won for her work, "Markov Models for Longitudinal Course of Youth Bipolar Disorder," and Schiffner for her dissertation, "'I'm Just a Guy!': Mexican American College Students' Constructions of Masculinity and Sexual Health Beliefs."

"It is such pleasure to be able to recognize outstanding scholarship by young Latinos or that extend our understanding of Hispanic populations," says Eleanor Horne, Vice President of the ETS Social Investment Fund, who will present the awards. "We believe that such recognition is not only deserved, but also helps to encourage other Hispanic scholars to aspire to the highest level of academic achievement."

Loui Olivas, founding president of AAHHE and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Arizona State University, participated as a member of the panel of judges and worked with Horne to create the awards. "Honoring academic excellence is at the core of AAHHE's mission to advance Hispanics in higher education -- and beyond," he says. "We are fortunate to have the support of ETS for this important program."

The AAHHE Conference

The three-day conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk in San Antonio, will gather more than 300 academics, administrators, university presidents, trustees and regents. It will host the first "summit" of Hispanic American university trustees and regents, sponsored by ETS.

The conference will also include a conference plenary session on the status of Latinos in America. Moderated by Henry Cisneros, Chairman and CEO of American CityVista, it will feature a diverse group of Hispanic leaders from throughout the country. The seminar will be taped by C-Span for later airing.

ETS participants in the summit include Board of Trustees Chair Piedad Robertson; Policy Evaluation and Research Center Senior Vice President Michael Nettles; Vice President for Higher Education David Payne; and New Constructs Research Director Patrick Kyllonen.

For further information on the AAHHE and annual dissertation competition, visit

About ETS

At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English-language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually -- including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® test and The Praxis Series™ assessments -- in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.