Two RGC Graduate Students Publish Papers

Lauren Falcon Jennifer Oxier

By Laura Nelson

The League for Innovation in Community College will publish papers from two Sul Ross Rio Grande College graduate students, Lauren Falcon and Jennifer Oxier.

Both students wrote research papers of particular interest to community colleges, one about students who are the first in their family to attend college, and the other about educating students whose first language is not English. The papers will be published on the League’s website in June 2015 at under “Innovation Showcase,” a section that features innovative programs of interest to community college faculty, staff, and administrators.

The League, a nonprofit association, serves community colleges around the world by hosting conferences and trainings, developing print and digital resources, and leading projects and initiatives with its member colleges, corporate partners and other agencies.

Lauren Falcon’s paper, “Breaking Down Barriers: First Generation College Student and College Success,” focuses on the stumbling blocks to higher education for students whose parents did not attend college. Such students often lack information and support about preparation for college work during high school coupled with a foggy perception of financial aid and how it works, and limited experience with the social atmosphere on campus. Falcon points out that, despite the obstacles, 45 percent of these students do graduate and she attributes that success to college readiness programs, family support, and the desire of the students themselves.

Falcon and her brother benefited from college preparation programs at their small Kermit, Texas high school. Both of them attended the University of Texas in Austin and both completed bachelor’s degrees. She credits the college readiness programs with their success at one of the largest and most prominent universities in the nation.

After earning her English degree, the Odessa, Texas native attained teacher certification and taught English as a Second Language before moving to Uvalde less than one year ago. She currently works as a substitute teacher in the Uvalde school system and is enrolled in graduate studies in counseling at Rio Grande College.

Jennifer Oxier just started her graduate studies in counseling after moving to Uvalde from California where she taught English as a Second Language for 17 years. She found she enjoyed working with that population and she now continues that work in her first year teaching English II and III to Uvalde High School students.

“Teaching the English Language Learners: Communication between Home and School” explores the factors, including the language barrier, that an ELL student may face. She offers easily implemented practices for educators to help overcome those problems, such as developing an understanding about the student’s home life and how to improve teacher-parent communication. The idea for this paper arose from her experience working with students’ parents. She let them know she respected them, their culture, and their privacy, gradually gaining their trust and opening the doors of communication.

Oxier holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State Univ., Fullerton and appreciates Rio Grande College’s affordable master’s program. After earning her graduate degree, she plans to stay in the classroom.

Lauren Falcon and Jennifer Oxier represent two fine examples of Rio Grande College graduate students using their backgrounds and education to explore ways to help aspiring college students reach their goals.