CLS Research Spotlight: Rosaura Domínguez-Rebollar

April 26, 2024 - Karessa Weir

When Rosaura Domínguez-Rebollar was deciding where to attend graduate school, her visit to the Chicano/Latino Studies program at Michigan State University was among the reasons she chose MSU. 

Rosaura Domínguez-Rebollar“CLS felt like a second home to me. The space was very welcoming and everyone made me feel right at home,” said Dr. Domínguez-Rebollar, who defended her Dual Major Doctoral Degree Dissertation in Psychology and Chicano/Latino Studies this week.  

“CLS was what led me to choose MSU – along with the Dairy Store.” 

It wasn’t just the supportive community but the networking and access to specific classes, literature, and interdisciplinary peers that made the difference to Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar both personally and professionally.  

“CLS has given me tools and methodology that I have incorporated into my research. My work is truly embodies both disciplines – not one more than the other,” she said. 

Originally from New York City, Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar has a master's and bachelor's degrees in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She earned her M.A. in community psychology from MSU in 2020 and will graduate this spring with her Dual Major Doctoral Degrees in Ecological/Community Psychology and Chicano/Latino Studies. 

Her advisor, Psychology Professor Dr. Ignacio Acevedo, anticipated that Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar would benefit both academically and personally from engaging with CLS and made sure to connect her with the program during her visit.  

“One of the reasons I am pursuing the dual degree is that it is such a nice marriage between my research in Ecological/Community Psychology and CLS,” she said.  

“Ecological/Community Psychology [provides] a holistic approach to studying an issue... CLS allowed me to gain a better understanding of Chicane/ Latine history in the United States... Thus, Ecological/Community Psychology then becomes a lens through which I can learn how to better support Latine success in higher education.”  
She strongly urges other students to engage in CLS curriculum and even pursue a an undergraduate minor, a Graduate Certificate or a a Dual Major Doctoral Degree as it can  aligncan align with and enhance nearly every discipline.  

“You get a stronger academic bond with other people in your research. They share their experiences, their opinions and advice, and that only makes your work stronger,” she said. 

Broadly, Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar's research focuses on student success in higher education, especially what processes are used to improve student services. Having a College Assistance Migrant Program as a case study program at a Midwestern university, her dissertation explores not only services provided, but the methods used by CAMP facilitators to assess and improve.  

“For my dissertation, I looked at whether targeted Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) was perceived as a feasible, acceptable, and appropriate approach to foster the continuous improvement of a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). CAMP aims to recruit and retain migrant farmworkingfarm working students into higher education, as they often face challenges and obstacles that are compounded by their particular circumstances. This study is important given that CQI can serve as a more accessible approach to enhancing CAMP services, compared to existing approaches that have intensive resource requirements (e.g., ATD, 2018). I found that targeted CQI was perceived as a feasible, acceptable, and appropriate approach to use in CAMP. While my dissertation research serves a pilot study, it does lay the foundation for future researchers to continue to build on CQI as a more accessible approach to enhancing CAMP services and better serve and promote the success of migrant farmworkingfarm working students in higher education,” Rosaura Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar said.  

Together with Dr. Acevedo, she has also done extensive research in community college and published their findings in the paper “Factors and Interventions that Foster Success of Latinx Students in Public Community Colleges: A Theory-Driven Systematic Review and Content Analysis of Psychological Research” in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. 

Her research found that more than 40 percent of U.S. Latine students complete higher education in community colleges. But these students’ retention, graduation, and transfer rates are significantly lower than those of Latine students in other higher education settings. 

Factors that influence Latine students’ success include family finances, institutional interventions and practices, psychological connections to the institution and characteristics of the surrounding community. Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar took those factors and modificreated a Broffenbrenner’s model to make sense of them.  

She found that the 23 factors influencing a Latine students’ success can’t be addressed individually. They must be addressed holistically, making sure to look at all the factors that affect a person. Dr. Domínguez-Rebollar, and Dr. Acevedo hope this research can have a positive effect on how higher education supports Latine students.  

“During my time at MSU, I have focused my program of research on supporting the higher education success of Latine students. I have had the chance to work with several students support programs specifically geared towards Latine students, both in 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. For my thesis, I had the chance to examine factors and interventions that foster success of Latine students in public community colleges,” Dr. Domiínguez-Rebollar said. 

“This work is important, because the Latine population has historically been marginalized through various avenues, which often leads to lack of access and use of supports and services that then negatively impact Latine individual and generational economic and personal growth. It is my hope that with the continued effort to support Latine with the work we do, that one day, that will no longer be the case. Part of the reason I am pursuing this line of research is because of all the academic and social supportssupport I have received as an undergraduate and graduate student. Undoubtedly, without their support, I would not have achieved the same level of success. Just like the many amazing people that supported my academic journey, I want to dedicate my life to being one of the several pillars of supports for Latine students, and to continue this work, I would like to pursue administrative positions in student support programs. Particularly with those programs that support the success of Latine students.” 
While at MSU, she received the Maximillian Monroy-Miller Memorial Fellowship, the Julian Samora Endowed Scholarship, the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan 2020 Future Leaders Scholarship, and the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship.