Edgar Alonso Aviña is a senior in the Class of 2018, majoring in Political Science with an Urban Studies concentration. He is deeply interested in the issue of resilience and grit in the classroom. Why do some students respond better to failure than others? Why do some continue to soldier through their work even if they do not find it fulfilling? These questions interest Avina in part because he has long been concerned about the lack of resilience that his very smart and capable younger siblings have displayed in their schoolwork.
Avina has conducted research on a variety of topics in education. He has written about the Gulen charter school network and the implications of its ties back to controversial political figures in Turkey; explored the question of whether school integration is actually a worthwhile endeavor; prepared a 25-page proposal for a mobile app that would connect parents with other parents and promote free, unrestricted play for children; probed into the potential for after-school programming to inculcate social-emotional skills; and proposed alternative ways for Texas to execute the mandates of the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Avina has served as a mentor and counselor at LEAP, a local New Haven non-profit, for over three years, helping a core group of five students with homework, test preparation, and college applications.
During the summer of 2015, Avina worked with Breakthrough Philadelphia as a math teacher. He taught two classes of trigonometry in this full-length summer enrichment program for high-achieving, low-income students from Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.
During the summer of 2017, Avina worked with Spark Chicago, a career exploration program that introduces middle school students to a variety of potential careers, through site visits and receiving mentors from different partner companies.