Gabrielle (Gabby) Calderon

8/4/2022 Hannah Wirth

Gabby CalderonCommunity-Academic Scholar:  Gabrielle (Gabby) Calderon (she/they)

Project: Gabby worked with Prof. Shardé Smith and DREAAM House to analyze existing evaluation data, refine the ASPIRE program based on pilot data in collaboration with community stakeholders, and implement an improved culturally-responsive program for Black youth. Learn more about the project.

Mentor reflection: Prof. Smith appreciated Gabby's willingness to step in when needed and her dedication to carrying out the program this summer. "Gabby was extremely instrumental to the ASPIRE program." said Smith. "She wore many hats as a research team member and wore them well!"

Do you have a personal story or path that led to your interest in this research project?
In the future, I want to become a psychologist and alongside that create resources and programs for our communities. I connected to this project personally because, growing up in a minority community, I have witnessed and experienced the impact of racial trauma on the sense of self, race, and interconnectedness with the community. I believe in this project's ability to help pave the way for change for future generations.

How has participating in this program helped you toward your goals?
I was able to learn more about organizing community research, gain more research skills, and create lasting connections with other students, community members, and faculty. I was also able to gain a lot of personal and academic growth this summer. 

What was the most meaningful part of this experience? 
The most meaningful part of my experience has been connecting with my mentor and the research team. From the beginning, everyone has treated me nicely and given me opportunities to speak up and voice my opinions without feeling intimidated. 

What advice do you have for future scholars or to those who are interested in applying for the program? 
All the project mentors who are selected are doing amazing things. I would tell future scholars to do research on each professor that is listed and see what they do as faculty and the things they're interested in. You may find that other faculty that you weren't chosen for have other opportunities that you can pursue afterwards.