Onashly Hayes awarded High Honors from Phi Kappa Phi (2018).

Cal State LA Research Impacts Future K-12 Teacher

Monica Alarcon


Onashly Hayes awarded High Honors from Phi Kappa Phi (2018).

Dr. Paula Arvedson (Membership Chair for Phi Kappa Phi and a Cal State LA professor), Cal State LA President William A. Covino, Onashly Hayes, Dr. Kevin Baaske (Communication Department & Secretary of the Cal State LA Academic Senate), Dr. Cheryl L. Ney (Dean of Cal State LA, Charter College of Education)



Onashly Hayes is ready to take teaching to the next level. And this is all based on her graduate research experience at Cal State LA which impacted her professional career in a profound manner. As an undergraduate, she obtained her credentials to teach K-12 and, in addition, she graduated with her Master's in Educational Technology and a supplemental authorization to teach Computer Science in fall 2020. 

Her last semester at Cal State LA was the most impactful to her professional career because of the research graduate position she obtained. Since fall 2020, she has been working on a research project titled “Using Asset-based Participatory Design Thinking to Develop Culturally-Relevant STEM Video Modules to Promote Intrinsic Motivation". This project was funded through the STEM-NET Faculty Education SEED Grant Program. Her faculty mentors are Dr. Jim Kuo, Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Pearl Chen (co-PI) and Dr. John Christopher Bachman (co-PI).

She instantly connected with her graduate research role because of the goal of the project. The project aims to understand underlying learning issues among underrepresented engineering students, especially women and minorities. She identified with the targeted population the research project examined because she is a woman and comes from two minority communities herself. Onashly is African American and Salvadorian. In addition, she is a first-generation college graduate. These unique factors gave her insight and understanding into students with these learning challenges because of her own experiences. Her identity created a connection to her research role. She believes that this connection allowed her to bring a diverse perspective to the project. It allowed her to provide creative ideas in her design method approach to understanding the engineering student's perspectives and learning experiences. As a result, she used “cultural wealth" to help structure her mock video prototype interactive design to provide the best learning outcomes for engineering students. Her mock video prototype for the project would help equip faculty with the necessary tools and approaches to improve learning among engineering students.

This project has opened up and broadened her perspective on learning. It was exciting for her to “explore and delve into design methods" which she learned throughout her master's program. In addition, it has inspired her and shaped the kind of K-12 teacher she will become in the future. Onashly passionately states that she has become “more conscientious and reflective of the teaching approaches and design methods" she will use with her future students. She wants to be a K-12 teacher that teaches from a culturally sensitive manner because her current research helped her understand that when you approach a problem from a cultural awareness perspective the results can be positive for all students.

After working with underrepresented engineering students at CSULA, she is motivated to ensure that her teaching style and decisions are meaningful and intentional when it comes to teaching STEM content to her students and especially underrepresented minority students. Her goal is to mold their thinking and belief that they can learn anything, attend college and graduate in any STEM field of their choice. As a future teacher, she will consider “students' experiences, different styles of learning, and utilize the best interactive technological tools to promote the best learning experience for her students". She has decided that her teaching style will be student centered. Onashly hopes to positively impact her future K-12 students and become a role model for them.

She is looking forward to presenting her research at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in spring 2021. She believes her research can also inspire future teachers the way she was inspired. She looks forward to her future as a teacher and will pursue a doctorate so she can continue to be involved in impactful research.​

Follow Onashly Hayes ​on Linkedin or visit her website www.onashly.com