School of Education
July 1, 2010
“Today’s globalized world requires that we examine educational and psychosocial processes using cross-cultural and transnational lenses.”
Claudia G. Pineda, Ed.D., is a researcher at the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine. She also teaches adolescent development and social development to undergraduate students and is active in the Teacher Credential Program. Prior to coming to UCI, Dr. Pineda was a Visiting Scholar at the Latin American Program at Cornell University and was also an instructor at Northeastern University and Harvard University.
Dr. Pineda was trained as a psychologist with a psychodynamic orientation at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, in Colombia. While part of her training involved providing psychotherapy to children and adults, her work in a low-income health center in the outskirts of Bogotá deeply impacted her academic trajectory. She became interested in adolescent mental health and the role of community and context in promoting risk-taking behavior and resiliency. To pursue these interests, Dr. Pineda earned her Master’s in Risk and Prevention and later her Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. At Harvard she worked closely with Professor Michael Nakkula on applied developmental research of programs targeting youth in low-income urban schools and communities.
Dr. Pineda’s current research interests are twofold: On the one hand, her research investigates the role of context and culture on the psychosocial and educational development of disadvantaged and immigrant youth. She is particularly interested in the role of school organizations and youth and community programs as contexts of development that may serve to foster emotional and academic resilience. On the other hand, she is interested in international migration viewed through a transnational lens. She is interested in investigating the processes that directly and indirectly affect families who have been separated and youth who have been “left behind” due to international migration. Yet, it is the integration of these two complementary areas that she considers unique about her work. Her dissertation integrated both interests by focusing on the ethnic identity and psychosocial development of immigrant Colombian youth in the context of an artistic intervention that taught them to dance and perform Colombian folkloric dances in Boston. Stemming from this research, she is working on an article that proposes a framework for understanding youth ethnic boundary-setting within culturally based after-school programs.
In her view, today’s globalized world requires that we examine educational and psychosocial processes using cross-cultural and transnational lenses. That is why she has participated in international work including the study of a program that taught adolescents to negotiate (PYN) in Argentina, the study of the impact of a radio literacy program in Honduras, and the training in research of teachers in Uruguay. In 2008, Dr. Pineda published a chapter in a book edited by the Colombian Ministry of Education and Florida International University about the Psycho-Social Conditions of Colombians in the U.S. In her Colombian migration research, she has collaborated with Professors Ana María Bidegain, at Florida International University, and Luis Guarnizo, at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Pineda has also co-authored two encyclopedia chapters with Dr. Nakkula, one on Students at Risk in the Encyclopedia on Education and Human Development and another on Cultural Issues in Education in the Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology.
Since coming to UCI, Dr. Pineda’s has collaborated with Assistant Professor Rosella Santagata and Dr. Joseph Jenkins in a study of the Theater of Translation, a program aimed at improving Latino high school students’ motivation to write by allowing them to write and perform their own stories about their adolescent experience, cultural dislocation, and misunderstandings. Dr. Pineda is also collaborating with Assistant Professor Estela Zarate investigating the role of home language and immigrant generation on on-time high school graduation. Current research has yielded mixed results on the role of home language on academic achievement. Dr. Zarate and Dr. Pineda’s research offers some new evidence demonstrating that U.S.-born Latino children whose home language is Spanish are more likely to complete high school.