PhD in Educational Foundations Student
“My doctoral research is focused on looking at how Filipino food and foodways… can be an access point to talk and learn about our heritage, history, and to heal and reconnect with our roots.”
- PhD, Education: Educational Foundations
What degree(s) do you hold?
I am currently enrolled in the PhD in Educational Foundations program. I have my masterʻs degree in American Studies from UH Mānoa and my bachelorʻs degree in English from UH West Oʻahu
Where do you work?
I am the Director of Hawai’i History Day & K–12 Humanities Programs at the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities.
What does it mean to be the recipient of a Dr. Niki Libarios #BeKindToAStudent Award?
I am so grateful to be a part of the legacy that Dr. Libarios worked so hard to build for the Filipino community. This award means that I have a responsibility to pay it forward to be instrumental like the many teachers, educators, mentors, and ancestors that have guided me in my life and my academic journey to get to the point where I am today.
How did you become interested in the field of education? The Educational Foundations Program?
I became interested in the field of education when I learned there was a lack of Filipino/a educators & Filipino/a curriculum not only in Hawaiʻiʻs public schools but also in higher education. I felt that being in the Educational Foundations program I could help contribute and to work that was done before me.
Briefly describe your doctoral research/focus.
My doctoral research is focused on looking at how Filipino food and foodways (production-growing, procurement-gathering, preparation-cooking or transmission of knowledge, and eating-community) can be an access point to talk and learn about our heritage, history, and to heal and reconnect with our roots.
Do you participate in any clubs/organizations in or outside of school and work?
For the last six years, I have been a part of the Tinalak Filipino Education Advisory Council where we come together from across the different programs in the College of Education and also across campus to envision, inspire, and weave together Hawaiʻiʻs new generation of educators through the recruitment and support of Filipinos in the education field.
How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has benefited my career as I use it in my current position as the Director of Hawaiʻi History Day and K-12 Humanities programs at the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities. Both my academic and professional career are intrinsically intertwined as my work brings more diverse histories, stories, and curriculum to the forefront. An example of that is the workshop series that I developed called Nakem! Filipino & Filipino American History, Culture, and Food. From this series, we are bringing together Filipino & Filipino American scholars, educators, students, and community members to learn about Filipino/a stories, resources, and curriculum, they can incorporate into their lives, communities, and their classrooms.
Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue this career?
There is no one person who inspired me to pursue this career; rather, all of the teachers and mentors who inspired, cared, and took the time to learn more about my life are who inspire me to do the same for students, teachers, and community members that I may have the chance to share my experience, work, or life with.
In the spirit of the #BeKindToAStudent scholarship, how will you pay it forward?
I will pay it forward by continuing to do the work that Dr. Libarios and many other Filipino/a scholars have come before me have done and that is to shine a light on and amplify our Filipino and Filipino American History, heritage, food, but especially our people.
Anything else you would like to include?
Join me for our last Nakem! Filipino & Filipino American History, Culture, and Food in Hawaiʻi Student and Teacher Workshop on Friday, Oct 22nd 3:30-5:00pm with Dr. Raju Desai and myself speaking on Pedagogy of the Plate where we will explore the different ways food and food history connect us and keep us connected to our past.