Núñez's research focuses on expanding higher education opportunities for minoritized students. Overarching themes in Núñez's writings include the educational trajectories of Latinx, English Learner, and migrant students; the role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in raising minoritized groups' educational and science attainment, and the development of inclusive organizational cultures in science. Núñez has served on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and National Science Foundation committees to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in science.
In the News
Examines the organization of learning in geoscience fieldwork with implications for inclusion and exclusion of diverse learners. Involves 275 hours of observations and 32 interviews of participants at two separate undergraduate and graduate fieldwork courses in the western United States.
Examines how Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), federally designated institutions in the US that enroll at least 25% Hispanics, develop strategies to raise Hispanic attainment in computing fields. Explores the activities of HSIs in the Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), a network of over 60 HSIs and other stakeholders that are committed to raising Hispanic attainment in postsecondary computing.
Illustrates the institutional diversity of HSIs, the ways that HSIs address Hispanic student success, and the role of various resources in influencing HSIs’ performance. Demonstrates that the HSIs’ contributions must be considered within a broader political, social, and economic context that historically has limited their resources.
Reviews how literature has examined food/housing insecurity for Latinx/a/o students before employing an intersectional lens to develop a research agenda to investigate food/housing insecurity for Latinx/a/o students. Emphasizes interrogating how interrelated systems of power and oppression affect Latinx/a/o students’ access to basic needs.
Examines how intersectionality, a lens from the social sciences, can be employed conceptually and practically to broaden participation in geosciences, particularly among underrepresented groups such as women of color or others with multiple marginalized statuses. Outlines the key concepts constituting a lens of intersectionality and explain a specific model of intersectionality that incorporates multiple individual, cultural, and historical layers.
Conducts a systematic review of 148 journal articles and book chapters to better understand how researchers conceptualize the idea of servingness at HSIs. We identified four major themes used by researchers to conceptualize servingness: (1) outcomes, (2) experiences, (3) internal organizational dimensions, and (4) external influences.
Provides an overview of a funded National Science Foundation (NSF) grant program that incorporates learning and work in an effort to address racial/ethnic underrepresentation in the field of geosciences. Demonstrates the importance of engaging student affairs with academic affairs in such a program to address the diverse needs of students at HSIs.
Examines the distinctive structural, demographic, financial, and community context characteristics of HSIs. Provides a foundation for building a more institutionally relevant way of classifying HSIs and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), which can inform future research about HSIs’ organizational identities and effects on student outcomes.
Examines how working influences students' college experiences, extending the predominantly quantitative research in this area. Findings based on interviews with Latino first-generation students who work reveal three themes. First, these students bring a familial orientation that motivates them to increase occupational status. Perceives that working helps them develop a sense of belonging on campus and important academic and social skills.
Discusses how the past century has seen U.S. higher education shift from providing education to small groups of students in historicallty "elite" institutions, to offering nearly universal postsecondary education to the most demographically diverse group of students ever, in the most diverse range of institutional types in the world.
Findings are that precollege and college academic experiences, financial considerations, sociocultural experiences, and cultural and linguistic assets influence EL students’ transitions from high school to college