Bladimir Padilla-Fuentes

Bladimir Padilla-Fuentes, PhD student, educational measurement and statistics

Bridges gaps in educational access

“Bladimir is an international scholar from Chile whose talent and enthusiasm are second only to his tireless work ethic. He is an excellent ambassador to show that the reach of the University of Iowa is world-wide.” -Lesa Hoffman, professor

Chillán, Chile

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Lesa Hoffman, PhD, professor of educational measurement and statistics, College of Education

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in Educational Measurement and Statistics (expected graduation May 2026)

Please describe your research:
My main research interest is educational segmentation in Chile, especially in higher education. For example, the selective higher education admission process in Chile has shown important differences in its results according to the students’ economic, social, and educational characteristics. My research aims to contribute to the identification and reduction of these gaps among students.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
This research matters because education is a right and all students should have similar educational opportunities regardless of their socioeconomic characteristics. The findings of this type of research can contribute to improving the fairness and equity of the Chilean educational system.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
During my undergraduate studies in Chile, I participated in several educational research projects at the Centro de Investigacion Educativa CIDCIE, Universidad del Bio-Bio. Thanks to this experience, when I arrived at the University of Iowa, I was able to continue doing research using advanced analytical techniques in collaboration with colleagues and professors since my second year.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
By using what I have learned in classes in my research projects I have been able to deepen my knowledge about methodology and applied statistics. This has helped me understand how to develop quality educational research and connect the different things I have learned in classes from an applied perspective. In addition, I have received a lot of support from my teachers, especially Dr. Lesa Hoffman and Dr. Ariel Aloe, which has improved my research skills and encouraged me to continue learning in and out of the classroom.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I have two career goals. First, to become a professor of quantitative methodology for educational research at my previous university in Chile (Universidad del Bio-Bio); Second, to return to the Centro de Investigacion Educativa CIDCIE, Universidad del Bio-Bio, to work as a research associate and form a research team with undergraduate students to develop educational research. Both objectives are connected to my desire to contribute to the development of my educational community and to the improvement of the Chilean educational system. Here at the University of Iowa, I have met excellent professors who serve as models for these goals.

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