“Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by an incredible support system of family, friends, and teachers, which has helped me get to where I am today.”
Graduate Scholarship Recipient
Dissertation Proposal Title: Against all odds: Examining how teachers and parents help homeless students stay on track academically
Dissertation Description: Kirby Chow’s dissertation involves the critical problem of homeless children and their education. “At a time when nearly one million homeless children are enrolled in our nation’s schools, my dissertation examines how schools and parents can better support the educational needs of students from homeless families,” Kirby explained.
Profile: Kirby Chow is currently employed at UCLA’s Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing. She was born and raised in Merced and did her undergrad work at Cal Berkeley. While at Berkeley Kirby gained “hands-on” experience in the area of disparity between social and racial groups by serving as a mentor for inner-city middle school students, volunteering at family homeless shelters, and serving as an algebra teacher for high achieving, low-income students in the Breakthrough Collaborative program. And while enrolled in graduate school at UCLA she devotes time to a program that assists homeless families by providing free tutoring. “These experiences inspired me to apply to grad school to become actively engaged in research focused on addressing educational disparities impacting economically disadvantaged children.”
Inspiration: Kirby said the values her parents have instilled in her as well as their unconditional love and support “are undoubtedly one of the biggest and most important influences in my life.” Outside of Kirby’s family, she said her current academic advisor, Professor Rashmita Mistry, is an “incredible” mentor. Dr. Mistry’s personal drive to “ensure that I am successful while holding high expectations continually fosters my academic, professional, and personal development.”
Aspiration: Kirby’s goal is to become a researcher “whose work informs potential prevention and intervention programs targeting disadvantaged children, in part, by collaborating with community organizations and schools.”
Making a Difference: One of the achievements Kirby is most proud of is completing the “Tinkerbell Half Marathon” at Disneyland with her friends, running the entire race.“Before preparing for this race, I had not run more than one mile and never thought of myself as a runner.” But Kirby pushed herself to train for the event, overcame some minor injuries, and six months later ran all 13.1 miles! “While this achievement is far removed from academics, it showed me that I am capable of more than I think sometimes and reminded me of how rewarding it is to challenge myself and grow in unexpected areas of my life.”
Accolades: Kirby was an honors graduate of Berkeley and has presented her research at conferences around the country, most notably the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), and the California Educational Research Association (CERA). Kirby was recently awarded the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Internship Award, Norma and Seymour Feshbach Doctoral Dissertation Award, and UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship.
Other Scholars Like Kirby
Undergraduate Transfer Scholar
University of Colorado at Boulder