(March 27, 2018) -- Guan Saw, assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Educational Psychology within the College of Education and Human Development, is conducting research related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for underserved and underrepresented groups. A first-generation faculty member, his goal is to advance knowledge and inform policymakers and educators on the best practices for preparing students for careers in STEM-related fields.
>> Learn more about UTSA's first-generation family.
We asked Saw to share more with us about his research.
Talk about the project you’re currently most excited to be working on.
I’m currently most excited to be working on two research projects related to STEM education and school-to-work transitions. My first project is teaming up with the UTSA Institute for P-20 Initiatives to study the impact of the Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) on high school, postsecondary and labor market outcomes.
PREP was founded at UTSA in 1979 and it is now one of the oldest and largest STEM summer programs in the nation. It is designed to prepare middle and high school students, especially women, Blacks/Hispanics (underrepresented racial minorities) and potential first-generation college-goers for success in advanced studies leading to careers in STEM.
My second project is partnering with a number of faculty and doctoral students at UTSA, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin to analyze the most recent nationally representative High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Collectively, our research addresses two contemporary educational disparity issues: college preparation and access for underserved students (such as students with disabilities, first-generation college-goers, and bilingual children) and STEM preparation and participation of underrepresented students (including women, Blacks/Hispanics, and low-socioeconomic status youth). Some of our manuscripts are now under review or have been accepted for publication by high-impact academic journals.
What impact do you hope your research will have?
Aligning well with UTSA’s mission, my research aims to advance knowledge and the evidence base for improving education and workforce preparation, especially among historically underserved and underrepresented students. The above two projects contribute to this goal in different ways. The PREP project is a partnership between researchers and practitioners such that the research findings are important and relevant to research, policy and practice at the local and state level. The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 fosters a robust research community that can conduct rigorous studies for testing research hypotheses large-scale data and informing educational debates at the national level.
How has your personal journey influenced your work?
My research, teaching, and service are informed by my experience as a first-generation college student with three degrees, including STEM and non-STEM majors, completed in three different countries (Malaysia, Taiwan, and the United States) and languages (Malay, Mandarin, and English). Prior to becoming a faculty member at UTSA, I had worked as a high school vice principal and math teacher in a low-income rural area in Malaysia, a department director in the largest non-profit educational organization in Malaysia, and a graduate research assistant at universities in both Taiwan and the U.S.
My cross-national, cross-cultural schooling and working experience makes me constantly eager to gain new knowledge, to play with new ideas from different perspectives, and to pursue research work that can have a societal impact at the local, state, national, and international level.
What advice do you typically share with to your students?
Read. Read. Read. A great researcher is a great thinker, and a greater thinker is a great reader.
Learn more about UTSA's first-generation family.
Learn more about Guan Saw.
Learn more about Department of Educational Psychology.
Learn more about UTSA College of Education and Human Development.
Make the most of your college experience by applying to be part of the 2020 Homecoming Court or the next Mr. or Ms. UTSA. Applications are now open for the Homecoming Court—from which Mr. & Ms. UTSA 2021 will be selected. Deadline is Friday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m.Virtual Event
Are you successful in your goals and activities? How do you know? Analyze current and past personal and team goals and effectively evaluate progress.Virtual Event
Your student organization can stay engaged this summer with the Student Organization Impact Series to help prep organization leaders on how to best guide an organization for the new academic year.Virtual Event
What is ethical leadership? Examine definitions, necessary principles and practice skills to navigate potentially challenging situations in the workplace, school settings and personal life.Virtual Event
In this Zoom forum, UTSA faculty and students are invited to participate in a discussion on how we can work collaboratively on creating a better experience for digital courses.Virtual Event
Grab your grub and drop in for a lively lunchtime conversation with this series on the culture and business of food in San Antonio. Free and open to the public.Virtual Town Event
Get your thinking caps on for a livestream game night like no other. The gaming will include a scavenger hunt, secret words, chat-room challenges and more.Virtual Event
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.