Commencement Profile 22: Daniel Rios Arroyo makes the case for community cultural wealth

Monday, June 6, 2022
Daniel Rios Arroyo

Daniel Rios Arroyo, a doctoral student focusing his research on social and educational justice in K-12 through the higher education pipeline, has earned his MA; his advisor is Dr. Richard Duran. Daniel earned his B.A. in Sociology with Education studies minor from UC Los Angeles. His current research focuses on Latina/Latino students' transition from high school to college with a primary interest in Latina/Latino English language learners' educational experiences. As a graduate student, Daniel has gained teaching experience by being a TA in the Black Studies Department and the Spanish department. Daniel is also involved with SKILLS (School Kids investigating Language in Life and Society) as an instructor teaching high school English language learners. Daniel has also joined UCSB's Promise Scholars program as a Time Management Associate.

GGSE: Your MA research explores the idea of community cultural wealth. What have you learned about how that's crucial to education?

Rios Arroyo: My MA explored how five San Joaquin Valey community college students transitioned from high school to college and what forms of cultural wealth they utilized to navigate educational institutions. Community cultural wealth is crucial in education as it challenges cultural deficit thinking models that place the academic failure of Latina/Latino students and other Students of Color on their cultural backgrounds and families. Furthermore, for community cultural wealth to flourish in its ideal theoretical intentions, educational systems and methods of practice need to be reconstructed. For example, teacher-preparation programs need to train pre-service teachers on utilizing community cultural wealth pedagogies to cultivate underrepresented students' aspirations to go to college at an early age.

GGSE: What's been a highlight of working as a teaching assistant (and what courses have you TAed for)?

Rios Arroyo: I have been a teaching assistant in the Black Studies Department, Chicana/o Studies, and an instructor of Spanish 1. The highlight of working as a TA is having the opportunity to mentor undergraduate students as they navigate higher education and plan on pursuing a graduate degree.

GGSE: Having had the first few years of grad school occur during the pandemic, are there any positives to take out of this time, and what are they?

Rios Arroyo: Yes, the pandemic made me spend more time working on unlearning unhealthy habits of putting academic work first before family, social life, and my mental health. I also developed new hobbies, and I improved my time management skills.

GGSE: What are you most looking forward to as you move towards your dissertation work?

Rios Arroyo: I look forward to engaging myself in the literature and refining my dissertation research focus. I plan to focus my dissertation study on Latina/o students from the San Joaquin Valley college access, college choice decision, and college experiences/persistence. I am most excited to collect data and learn from the participants' lived experiences and find ways to use their lived experiences to inform policies and practices.

GGSE: Are there people at the Gevirtz School you would like to thank?

Rios Arroyo: I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Richard Duran, for his guidance and support as I developed my research interest for my MA. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Rebeca Mireles-Rios and Dr. Jin Sook Lee for being part of my MA committee and helping me narrow down my focus, and providing me with femtorship.