Manca Sustarsic

Manca Sustarsic, a PhD candidate in the College of Education Department of Educational Foundations (EDEF), is a 2023 Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Graduate Teaching Assistants recipient.

A student in the EDEF Global & International Education track, Sustarsic’s current research interests include international student mobility, intercultural exchange, and global education policy. She has served as an instructor for two EDEF courses, Education in American Society and Foundations of Curriculum.

“Manca is an outstanding doctoral student, not only in terms of her own research and productivity, but also the quality with which she has served as an instructor in our department,” said Associate Professor Brent Edwards who is Sustarsic’s doctoral advisor. “Manca is already excelling as a university instructor, even before finishing with her own doctoral studies.”

A graduate research assistant in the UH Mānoa Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Sustarsic is responsible for the program evaluation of Creating a Village, an educational intervention supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) grant. The program provides Hawaiʻi middle school youth with opportunities to gain life skills and build positive youth-adult relationships that are necessary for a successful transition into adulthood.

“I initially became interested in educational foundations because I wanted to deepen my understanding of what education should stand for and how I could apply it to international student mobility,” Sustarsic said. “I wanted to work with international students, particularly those from less privileged groups.”

Sustarsic credits the EDEF program with helping her to look at educational and societal issues more critically as well as with giving her a strong foundation for a career in education. She says she hopes to become a professor of international or global education, working with a diverse group of students.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful students who inspire me with their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning,” Sustarsic said. “I am grateful for the support I have received from my EDEF professors and classmates who have helped me learn and grow as an educator.”

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