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Sergio Maldonado Aguiñiga Named Holmes Scholar of the Month

Sergio Maldonado AguiñigaCongratulations to Sergio Maldonado Aguiñiga, Holmes Scholar of the Month for November 2021. Aguiñiga is currently a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Purdue University. Aguiñiga previously attended California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, where he majored in psychology with a minor in political science. While volunteering with the Prison Education Project and Reintegration Academy, he developed interests in integrating character strengths approaches in counseling practices for youth offenders and former and currently incarcerated individuals.

Aguiñiga’s interests in the field of psychology lie in positive psychology and applying the theoretical background in the practice of counseling psychology for youth offenders, former gang members, and formerly incarcerated adults transitioning into the community.

Aguiñiga’s line of research focuses on identifying character strengths of former gang members, which might have facilitated the cessation of all gang and criminal activity. A few summers ago, he conducted research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examining the interplay between ecological stress (e.g., discrimination, economic hardship) and proximal (e.g., family/peer/work) and structural (e.g., cultural, social) influences and how they shape the behavioral and physical health of Mexican-origin youth. Aguiñiga also participated in the Cal Poly Pomona Judicial Internship and previously studied abroad in Victoria and Vancouver, Canada. Other independent research projects that he has completed are 1) Character Strengths of Latino/Hispanic Adults that Facilitated Gang Desistance under the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and 2) The Role of Peer Ego-Networks on Educational Outcomes in Mexican-Origin Adolescents.

Aguiñiga aspires to become a tenure track professor at a land grant university and licensed counselor to develop prevention and intervention character strengths-based programs to reduce the recidivism rate of formerly incarcerated individuals.

To nominate a Holmes Scholar for the Scholar of the Month award, please use this online form


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