Pearson Scholars

The Pearson Scholars for Leadership and Engagement in Global Society is full-time summer research funding available to students in the Global Studies program at Cal Lutheran.

During a 10-12 week intensive summer program, Pearson Scholars will participate in experiential learning opportunities — "domestic immersion" projects that serve two purposes:

  1. Expose students to global issues and diverse communities in Los Angeles (and possibly other global cities)
  2. Give students the opportunity to be agents of change in society through civic engagement.

Historically, Cal Lutheran and the community of Thousand Oaks, despite geographic proximity, have been politically, socially and culturally removed from adjacent global and diverse areas like greater Los Angeles. "Domestic immersion" projects offered through the summer research program allow students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems via projects developed in conjunction with external organizations addressing global issues. Pearson Scholars are generally selected from those who produced the best projects in a capstone course.

Cal Lutheran strives to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse world by educating them "to be leaders in a global society." Students must be prepared and equipped to work, live and thrive in environments of demographic and cultural diversity. Our students will be more competitive if they can effectively interact with communities and populations that reflect global diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, socio-economic status and gender differences. Domestic immersion projects will occur in the Los Angeles area where students will primarily work with agencies that serve diverse populations including immigrants, racial/ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented and underserved groups. 

Working in close conjunction with a faculty member, each student in the summer research program will develop a project that addresses global issues or affects global populations in L.A., establish social and political networks, and observe/participate in relevant civic engagement activities such as public meetings, community forums, etc. The Pearson Scholars program was made possible by a generous gift by the late Alma Pearson of Santa Barbara in 2008. Since then, the Pearson Scholars produced excellent scholarship and presented their work at professional and/or undergraduate research conferences.

Examples of Student Research

  • Erin Boettcher "Refugees and Access to Higher Education: A Case Study of Iraqis in Los Angeles"
  • Christine Behymer "Muslim Women in Los Angeles: A Study on the relationship between their cultural retention and their lives in the workplace"
  • Nikki Mills "Christianity in the Lives of Chinese Immigrants"
  • Lulit Bereda "1.5 Generation Ethiopian Immigrants: Educational Achievements and Assimilation"
    Read Abstract

    This study explores the assimilation processes and educational achievements of 1.5 generation Ethiopian immigrants, who came to the United States while they were still children. I examined their unique assimilation processes by comparing and contrasting them with those of the first and second generation Ethiopian immigrants reported in the literature. The data for this study come from qualitative interviews I conducted with six 1.5-generation Ethiopian immigrants in Los Angeles. The study found that age at the time of migration, parents' financial status, cultural values and expectations, and race all shape the educational achievements of 1.5 generation Ethiopian immigrants. In addition, the size of an Ethiopian community in a destination city affects the assimilation processes. Overall, the assimilation processes of 1.5 Ethiopian immigrants are complex and multilayered and result in diverse educational outcomes.

  • Kelly Fry "A Comparison of Civic Engagement: Thai and Korean Immigrants in Los Angeles"
    Read Abstract

    Using in-depth interviews of seven Thai or Korean immigrants as a form of data collection, this study explores what influences the engagement of 1.5 and second generation immigrants. This study look into the similarities and differences between the two immigrant groups, in what ways, and why, the Thais and Koreans are civically engaged, and how to encourage further engagement. Several factors were identified including catastrophic events bringing on ethnic group together, educational opportunities leading to social awareness, and embracing or rejecting ethnic identity. One factor identified for the groups as a whole was the disconnect between the first and second generation. More interactions between the older and younger generations, as well as promotion of civic engagement at a young age are recommended to help improve civic engagement among second generation immigrants.

  • Tricia Johnson "Analyzing Day Laborer within: A Case Study of Day Labor Centers in Los Angeles"
    Read Abstract

    Traditionally, day labor centers give workers their own space, effectively getting them off the street while giving them access to a system that will support them and advocate for them. Despite the primarily good intentions of the centers, there is often a gap between the needs of the workers and the greater purpose of the centers. This ethnographic study conducted at a day labor center in Los Angeles, found that the priorities of the day laborers themselves are rarely addressed. While organizing in this community is needed, it is a luxury many cannot afford as they need steady, reliable employment. The centers need an infusion of new and creative ideas, to bridge the gap between organizers and workers and create a space where employment can be found and important services can be accessed.

  • Jessica Weaver "Korean Language Schools and Korean Dual-Language Programs Investigations"
  • Kayla Barnett "Environmental Activism and Minority Youth in Los Angeles"
  • Paul Dilger "Immigration Policy and Gangs: Los Angeles and Special Order 40"
  • Sergio Salazar "Los Angeles High School Workouts 2006"
    Read Abstract

    In March 2006, many high school students in Los Angeles participated in walkouts against the passage of an anti-immigration bill (HR 4437). The 1968 walkouts in East Los Angeles were connected with the broader Chicano Movement. Literature on the 1968 walkouts suggest that a lack of educational opportunities, poor school conditions, and the Anglo-centered school curriculum and/or racial inequalities in education faced by Chicanos caused many youths to walkout. This project explores factors that facilitated the 2006 walkouts by comparing it with the 1968 walkouts. This research project uses newspaper articles and 10 in-depth interviews for data to identify common trends and themes in the 2006 high school walkouts. The research identified the lack of immigration discussions in school, no forum available to discuss social issues, school experiences, the students' perception that their ethnicity was under attack as a potential facilitator for walking out.

©