Elvira Albrica, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Educational Administration

Before joining the faculty at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Elvira Abrica worked as an institutional research specialist at Norco Community College, a rapidly growing college within the Riverside Community College District. At the same time, she held a position at California State University, Fullerton as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Office of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness. She accepted both positions immediately after receving her doctorate in education, with a focus on higher education and organizational change, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Abrica’s dissertation study explored non-cognitive persistence strategies among Latino men pursuing engineering degrees at two highly selective, four-year institutions. She qualitatively examined how students’ racial identity, ethnic background, and immigrant generation shaped their understanding and responses to racialization and racism, and ultimately, their persistence in engineering. Abrica found that students engaged in specific behaviors to protect themselves from the harmful effects of racial stereotypes but maintained connection with much-needed campus resources. She describes these strategies as cognitive racial reappraisal strategies students engage in to persist in engineering.

As an emerging community college scholar, Abrica’s areas of interest are: (1) understanding and comparing experiences and outcomes for racialized ethnic minority populations, particularly men of color, within different institutional settings, (2) the context of STEM fields and the ways in which they foster student identity exploration and development, (3) organizational change among newly accredited community colleges, and (4) promoting the involvement of students in institutional research and assessment of their experiences. Her work in these areas supports a broader research agenda focused on increasing access to higher education for historically underrepresented groups and improving their educational experiences and outcomes across institutional contexts.