Dr. Núñez has engaged extensively in service to inform public policy and to help lead scholarly professional associations. Beyond academia, her work has influenced federal policy efforts addressing students of color, Minority-Serving Institutions, and the sciences. Her expertise has been featured in diverse outlets, such as The New York Times and the National Public Radio’s show Morning Edition. Her work has contributed to advancing understanding, professional development, and policy about how educational institutions can respond to the changing demographics of the United States. This scholarship has helped shape federal legislation about how to build capacity in science education at HSIs.
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As a publicly engaged scholar, she has published and presented policy briefs for the Scholars Strategy Network, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and the UCLA Civil Rights Project that aim to challenge deficit-thinking about and contextualize the contributions of HSIs to postsecondary access and attainment in the U.S.
As a leader in her scholarly and public engagement communities, she has served as Associate Editor for Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research and the Journal of Higher Education. In two of the main scholarly associations for higher education, she has been an AERA member-at-large for Division J (Higher Education) and a Program Chair for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual conference. To support communities of scholars in public engagement, she has served as Co-Chair of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network and has assisted the national network in its national outreach efforts.
As an expert in HSIs and equitable STEM education, she has served as a committee member to co-author the 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report Minority Serving Institutions: America's Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the STEM Workforce. She has helped disseminate the results of this report to legislators, other public stakeholders, and higher education professionals. In addition, she has served on an NSF Committee of Visitors to evaluate the agency’s portfolio of programs that focus on broadening participation in the sciences.