Professional Practice EdDDegree:
PhD in Education, UHM College of Education; Master’s in Educational Foundations, UHM College of Education; Master’s in Philology and Pedagogical Certificate, Plovdiv University, Bulgaria
What is your position at the COE?
I am the program manager of the Education Doctorate in Professional Educational Practice (EdD), and I teach in the departments of Curriculum Studies and Educational Foundations. My relationship with the COE’s EdD program began in 2011 when I assumed the role of graduate assistant in the very first cohort. I worked with EdD faculty and experts in the community to develop the EdD as a program that reconfigures the traditional doctoral degree by valuing practitioner research. The unique cohort model, comprised of students with a range of expertise and diverse backgrounds, inspired me to further develop my EdD scholarship.
Describe your role here.
I teach, advise, and support EdD students in the completion of the two key research elements in the program – the group consultancy project and the individual dissertation in practice. I teach qualitative research and educational foundations courses.
You were recently invited to present at Harvard. How were you selected?
I was invited by Harvard’s FXB Center on Health and Human Rights to participate in a conference for International Roma Day. I knew about their work because I have been studying the plight for equity and desegregation in the education of Roma (previously known as Gypsy) in the post-socialist region of Europe, so when the program director Margareta Matache reached out to me, I was humbled and honored by this privilege.
Briefly explain your research.
In my research, I have sought to better understand the educational experiences of Roma who are perhaps the most marginalized and misunderstood ethnic group in Europe. In my talk at Harvard, I reflected on the issue of how non-Roma researchers, like myself, can challenge Romani related discourses legitimizing stereotypes, or “modes of othering”, of Roma that are still prevalent in academic literature. This is a situation relevant to conducting research with other underrepresented communities worldwide. I also spoke on how my scholarship has been impacted by the Hawaiian context as a place where issues, such as decolonizing knowledge and recognizing the ancestral knowledge of indigenous peoples, are woven into the history and cultural legacies of the islands. In this, I see a similarity with the historical struggle of Roma to get recognition of their ancestral knowledge.
What are your future plans?
I am collaborating with two colleagues from Harvard and Sweden on a book project on Roma representation. Here in Hawai‛i, I plan to continue with teaching and research in the COE and in the community. In addition to equity issues, I hope to further develop work that we started with EdD Director Sarah Twomey and EdD students, exploring the ‘travelling practice’ of leadership of students and community partners. I also look forward to supporting the journey of our newly accepted third cohort.