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Eastern Washington University
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Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)

Jereny Mendoza

Acknowledgement to Mentor:

"I am beyond grateful for having the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of my mentor Dr. Martin Meraz Garcia! It has been a privilege to learn from an admirable Latino scholar and activist. I believe every mentee he has ever had, whether McNair scholar or not can say with much pride that he brought out the best out in them. His mentorship has enabled me to overcome many personal and academic fears. He has challenged me and helped me persist, persevere, and achieve what I had defined as impossible. With his help, I was able to get field research experience for two years, publish research, enhance my curriculum vita with conferences and get admitted into a Ph.D. Political Science program at the University of Texas fully funded. He taught me to remove the word impossible from my vocabulary, he taught me that the student with the most sophisticated language isn't always the smartest, and the greatest gift he gave me was his belief in me. It was because he believed in me when I didn't believe in myself that empowered me to meet his challenges and make the attempt to make him proud. Dr. Martin Meraz Garcia I thank you for believing in me and helping me in my journey! We did it! "


Jereny Mendoza is currently a student at Eastern Washington University and is working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Government and a second Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: Political Philosophy. She is the Public Relations and Web Developer for the TRiO Ronald E. McNair program and a Research Assistant for the department of Public Policy and Economic Analysis. Mendoza has presented her research project at the Eastern Washington University 2nd Annual Strategic Plan Conference, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky and recently the 17th Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium.

Mendoza was born and raised in Tri-Cities, Washington. She proudly graduated from River's Edge High School with "The Student of Year Award" and 5 scholarships. Jereny is the youngest of three siblings and the first in her family to attend college. She is also an Eastern Advantage Scholar and an active member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc. Her plan is to obtain her JD/PhD to become a professor and practice law to help her community.



Dr. Martin Meraz Garcia, Assistant Professor, Chicano Education Department, EWU


TRiO McNair Research Internship:_________________________________________________________

Reducing Population and Recidivism Rates Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities in U.S. Prisons

Over the past few decades, the U.S. prison population has grown at an unprecedented rate. In 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported the highest number of arrests were drug related. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), approximately 6,937,600 offenders went under the supervision of adult correctional systems in 2012 and their recidivism rates remain at 76.6 percent. Of the total prison population, racial and ethnic minorities still represent more than 60 percent. Previous studies have found educational/vocational programs to be effective in reducing recidivism and successfully reintegrating ex-offenders into society. However, these studies have mostly collected quantitative data to prove their effectiveness. Despite this, funding for programs that have proven to reduce recidivism rates remains a low priority for policymakers both at the state and federal levels.

This study analyzes qualitative data collected from interviews with federal and state probation officers as well as non-violent drug offenders in Washington State to determine their attitudes/perceptions on the effectiveness of educational/vocational programs. Additionally, the study analyzes the demographics of the prison population and contributing factors of incarceration such as socioeconomic status, levels of education, and policies.

The study explores three methods; the preventative approach assesses different methods of reducing criminal behavior among high risk populations, more specifically within minority groups. The rehabilitative approach looks at the effectiveness of correctional/vocational programs through the point of view of correctional staff and released non-violent drug offenders. Finally, the comparative approach assesses the effectiveness of different prison practices used in foreign countries such as Mexico to rehabilitate and successfully reintegrate non-violent drug offenders back to society.

Climbing the Economic Ladder: Latino Business Owners in Central and Eastern Parts of Washington (2014)

The population of Hispanic/Latinos is growing faster than any other segment in the state of Washington. According to the U.S. Census, Latinos currently represent 11.7% of the population in Washington; this rapid growth has in turn created the opportunity for Latino-owned businesses to be successful. While this is evident in small towns or cities where the majority population is Latino, very little information exists to inform business owners or the broader population about how Latino businesses have succeeded. This study analyzes the factors that help or hinder their chances of owning a successful business and raises awareness of the success or lack thereof among Latino business owners in the state of Washington.

Latina/o business owners were interviewed via face-to-face, over the phone, and through e-mail. The survey consisted of 30 questions designed to collect information on the start-up of the business, growth, relationship with the local/regional Hispanic chamber of commerce, their use of state or federal programs intended for minority-owned businesses, perspectives on immigration and the challenges and opportunities their business faced. The survey was offered in English and Spanish to ensure an accurate collection of their responses. The total sample for this study was 46 (N=46) with interviews completed over the course of ten weeks. The sample of the study covers the following counties: Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Spokane. The interviews covered 15 of the 16 sectors which included: agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail trade; transportation and warehousing, information (press, publishing, and radio), finance, insurance, real estate, rental/leasing, professional and scientific/technical services among others.

Preliminary results of the study show Latino business owners had little knowledge of business resources such as, the chamber of commerce and economic development organizations, few were associated with their local Hispanic Chambers of commerce, and the majority was first generation immigrants who started their own business without any government assistance. Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

A Survey of Latino Business Owners in Northeast and North Central Washington (2013)

Hispanic/Latinos make up the fastest-growing among all segments of the population of eastern Washington. Their rapid population increase has undoubtedly led to the creation of many Latino-owned businesses. Yet, very little is known of these entrepreneurs. With rare exceptions, they are not profiled in the popular press. They appear to have little connection to the standing bodies of organized business, such as chambers of commerce, ports or economic development organizations. Some are active in local Hispanic chambers of commerce, but many are not.

This study sheds light on a variety of characteristics of Latino business owners. The sample covers Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Spokane Counties. Over 60 businesses have been identified, often with the help of the North Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Qualifying businesses have been found in all major economic sectors in these counties. The total sample for this study was 46.

 Latino Business Owners in Central and Eastern Parts of Washington (2014)

Conference Presentations:_________________________________________________________________

  • 29th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Cheney, WA (2015)
  • National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates (NAAAS) 23rd Joint National Conference, Baton Rouge, LA (2015)
  • Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Conference, Bend, OR (2015)
  • 23rd Annual MAEOPP National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair, Delavan, WI (2014)
  • 3rd Annual Strategic Plan Conference: Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Cheney WA (2014)

The Forgotten Members of Our Society: Latinos in the Criminal Justice System,

  • 17th Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (2014)

Climbing the Economic Ladder: Latino Business Owners in Central and Eastern Parts of Washington,

  • 17th Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (2014)
  • National TRiO Day Student Exposition, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (2014)
  • National Conference of Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY (2014)

A Survey of Latino Business Owners in Northeast and North Central Washington, 

  • 2nd Annual Strategic Plan Conference, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA  (2013)

Honors and Awards:_____________________________________________________________________

  • Dean's List, Students achieve honor roll if they maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and complete at least 12 credits each quarter (Winter 2010, Winter 2012, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014)
  • McNair Scholar Summer Internship, Awarded $2,800. The goal of the McNair Program is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. (2014)
  • University travel grant for NCUR, (2014)
  • TCI Kiwanis Scholarship, (2012)
  • Trustees Scholarship,  Awarded $3,000. (2010)
  • TCI Kiwanis Scholarship, (2010)

Graduate School Acceptances:_____________________________________________________________

  • University of Texas, Austin - PhD program in Political Science
  • University of Albany(Sunny) - Master of Political Science Program
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