USTARS Spotlight: Nestor Hernandez

Nestor Hernandez

Year: Will be a senior fall 2019

Major and Minors: Major: Sociology Minor: Economics, Anthropology

 I started off the USTAR program when I took a course with Dr. McQuillan. She invited me to start working as a USTAR to gain research experience which was helpful for me. Our project is ADVANCE. Advance focuses on the recruitment of women into STEM fields, backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Using the data from ADVANCE, we seek to find out if the Institutional Transformation Grant from the NSF impacted the hiring of women in STEMS fields. What we are hoping to see from the project is that the grant did improve the recruitment of women in STEM fields, both in administration and faculty. Additionally, we hope to see that the grant improved institutional transformation. The project is important because women are highly underrepresented in STEM fields. Hiring more women can facilitate equity in departments that lack women. Women are underrepresented in STEM due to societal norms, or because it is hard to achieve growth as a woman in a STEM field.

I involved myself in the project because I believe STEM fields should be diverse. Women should be able to excel in positions as faculty in STEM. In some disciplines, a student can get a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field without being taught by a woman. I wanted to see if the grant improved outcomes for women in STEM specifically at UNL. 

The USTARS program is helping me with my future because it provides me a faculty member to guide me while I help with their research, using statistical software, STATA. With my faculty member, I started with reading the research report, with now ultimately actually working with the data.

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