Lydia Ellen Laucella embraces many roles at Reinhardt – assistant director, Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (CITEL); assistant professor of education and instructional design; First Year Seminar (FYS) coordinator; and faculty development committee chair. Today, she comes to work with a new credential – Dr. Lydia Ellen Laucella, newly minted Ph.D.
Dr. Laucella completed her doctorate through the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) Graduate School of Education's Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning Program. The title of her dissertation was “Finding a Safe Space, Branching Out, and Negotiating a New Identity: The First-Generation College Transition Stories of Bette, Kate, and Veronica.”
She conducted her research wanting to learn more about the college transition experiences of female, first-year, first-generation college students. “I recognize that in the new space of the university, first-year college students find themselves in transition, their social and identity development are in flux. Unpublished data from the 2019-2020 academic year indicated that female, first-year, first-time, first-generation college students represented approximately 2% of the total student population at the study’s research site. In other words, female, first-year, first-generation college students who had never attended college were an underrepresented population in comparison to the total student population."
“Drawing from standpoint theory, the very nature of women’s relationships within society require women to have membership in different social roles or groups. Women’s interactions are mediated by their relationships with peers, families, and social institutions like higher education. The social institution of higher education should provide mobility for underrepresented communities."
“To propel underrepresented student populations forward, such as those represented in this study, it is necessary to produce shared knowledge about their experiences to provide a platform to story their transition to college so we can better understand their lived experiences.”
As an outcome of this important research, Dr. Laucella recommended “future case studies by women for women, to provide additional standpoints on the female, first-year, first-generation college experience which can develop a more comprehensive literature corpus about their transition experiences because feminine participation in research creates a better world."
“In my short time here, I have witnessed the hard work and dedication to student success that Lydia brings to her work at Reinhardt,” said Dr. John D. Miles, vice president for academic affairs. “Attending her dissertation defense provided a window into her student-centered and student driven research. I look forward to seeing her work further shape the First Year Seminar and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholars.”
Congratulations, Dr. Laucella! The Reinhardt community celebrates your success and looks forward to your continued impact on the University and our students.