Taylor Fugere is one of 110 doctoral students across the United States and Canada to receive a $20,000 Scholar Award from P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women for more than 150 years.
Fugere, a Ph.D. candidate in Management of Complex Systems within UC Merced’s Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program, was sponsored for the award by Chapter BH of Modesto.
Fugere’s research with Professor Tea Lempiälä examines the processes and practices of belonging within technology organizations. She uses qualitative methods, such as interviews, observations and linguistic methods, to see how organizations make their members, especially those underrepresented in the technology industry, belong, feel included and ultimately contribute to the organizations as their authentic selves.
“I take a practice perspective, meaning I focus on the actions and activities occurring within the organization — what tangible things are happening, such as meeting practices, rituals and interpersonal interactions — that shape how members experience belonging,” the San Diego native said. “Similarly, I take a strengths-based perspective, meaning I look at what does work to make people feel valued, included and empowered, rather than highlighting discriminatory or exclusionary practices, which are much more thoroughly researched.”
The award will enable Fugere to focus on her research instead of needing to work this summer and will help pay expenses such as conference travel, transportation to research sites and materials.
“Much of my data collection was delayed by the pandemic and I am hoping that this additional support can enable me to graduate on time and move my research further along in the publication process, as well as supporting my post-doctoral job hunt,” she said.
Fugere earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and social work from UC Berkeley. She was working at UC Merced in 2018 when she decided to apply for the inaugural cohort of the campus’s Management of Innovation, Sustainability and Technology (MIST) program, and she received a Master of Management in 2019.
“The P.E.O. Scholar Award is a particular honor because women's organizations have been an extremely important part of my life and have given me the confidence and mentorship I needed to pursue degrees in the field of engineering and technology,” she said. “The women of the local P.E.O. chapter (BH based out of Modesto) are tireless advocates for women in higher education and commit so much of their time to improving their communities through fundraising and volunteer work.”