Ben Scherrer

I am a doctoral student in the International Education program. My research focuses on how people learn during times of migration and in nomadic contexts. I am interested in the relationships between education and displacement. My current work is on the transnational learning environments of East and Central African refugees resettled in Western Massachusetts.


My perspectives on education are shaped by my 10 years as a public school teacher in Washington State (at a Title 1 International Baccalaureate (IB) school), rural Southern Louisiana, and Massachusetts. In Washington... Continue Reading

Lina Heaster-Ekholm

My research interest lies at the intersection of online learning, pedagogy, and culture, with the goal of developing effective instructional design practices to meet the needs of global learners. I am a seasoned educator with twenty years’ experience in instructional design, teaching, training, and evaluation for universities as well as national and international non-profit organizations.


In 2015, I completed an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology at California State University Fullerton that allowed me to become conversant with a large repertoire of educational... Continue Reading

Sayed Ahmad Javid Mussawy

I grew up in an educated family in Afghanistan that believed in the value of education as a venue for better living. Our country was in a war zone, people had limited access to education; I never gave up attending school, as I completed high school in 2001. My interest in teaching and learning led me to complete a diploma program in English language and I started teaching English in the second year of my undergraduate program. I started college education in 2002 and finished in 2006. Having completed my bachelor degree in English language and literature, I applied and got a job as a... Continue Reading

Mariam Rashid

I grew up near Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. I received my BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Nairobi and my M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. I started my career as a teacher and later transitioned into textbook writing for Kenyan public schools and curriculum development for Bridge International Academies in Nairobi, Kenya. I taught undergraduate college level courses at Western Washington University in addition to working with first generation, undocumented, and underserved community college students... Continue Reading

Larissa Chekmareva

I am a graduate of CIE (M. Ed, 2005) and come from both Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. After 20 years of working in education, I am now starting the Ph.D. program in International Education.


My professional experience in education is mainly from Kazakhstan. I started out as a school teacher of physics and mathematics, and then became a lecturer in research courses and also a higher education administrator (Registrar, Dean of Enrollment Management and Deputy to the President). At the same time, I was involved in a number of educational projects, consulting with... Continue Reading

Assalam-o-Alaikum! I grew up in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.  I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Education Policy, Research and Administration with a specialization in International Education. My purpose for seeking the doctoral degree is to expand my knowledge with the theoretical tools, interdisciplinary knowledge, practical skills, and professional experience needed to positively contribute to transforming the education system in Afghanistan.


I received my master’s degree in international education from UMass and B.Sc. in Agriculture from Kabul University. My scholarly... Continue Reading

Mujtaba Hedayet

I am a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Administration program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). I obtained my Master of Education from UMass in 2015 and returned to Afghanistan to work for USAID’s largest higher education project in the world, the University Support and Workforce Development Program (USWDP), until I returned for my doctorate program.  


In my position as the Executive Director of Program Coordination... Continue Reading

Christopher W. Buck

Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity. ― Chimamanda Adichie


I, too, believe that stories can be used to empower, humanize, and most importantly, transform individuals. I also believe that literacy is a fundamental human right. Literacy truly is power—power over one’s own life. With this in mind, research consistently demonstrates that low... Continue Reading

Madiha Noor

A passionate early childhood educator from Pakistan, I was privileged to have spent my formative childhood years in Cairo, Egypt and Paris, France. The quality schooling I received, proved to be the solid base that helped me overcome a multitude of challenges on the way.


I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from NUST Business School, situated in one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities, Islamabad, my hometown. After nearly seven years of being in the early childhood sector in Pakistan, I have come to the University of Massachusetts to earn a M.Ed. in Child Study... Continue Reading

Mairam Sheikh

I grew up in Dammam, Saudi Arabia and later in Lahore, Pakistan. I received my BSc Hons. in Economics and Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan and my MA in Education and International Development from University College London (UCL), United Kingdom. I started my career as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at LUMS. Upon graduation, I felt committed to teaching and joined a secondary school as a teacher for GCSE Mathematics and Economics. During this time, I developed interest in educational research, particularly the nexus between... Continue Reading

Myles Bittner

Much of my educational outlook is shaped by my time as an early childhood educator, both in New York City and my hometown in Wyoming. I’ve learned so much from sitting down with children and just listening to them. While teaching in NYC I also received my M.A. in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Anthropology (more specifically ethnography) has always been at the root of my approach to educational research. I believe the only way to really understand a situation is to be fully immersed in the context and work hand-in-hand with others to create systemic... Continue Reading

Onasheho Toweh

My research interest is in cultural humility and teacher-student relationships. I often think of culture as a currency that a child brings with them into the classroom and if it is valued by the classroom teacher it can enhance their relationship and yield better outcomes not only academically but also in life. I am interested in serving as a resource person for children, teachers and other childcare providers to assist them in understanding and developing ‘culturally humble’ approaches.


I am from Nigeria in West Africa. I received my Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology... Continue Reading

Chenyang Xu

Ni Hao (Hello)! My name is Chenyang Xu from Shanghai, China. I am a first-year Ph.D. student of Mathematics, Science & Learning Technologies program. My research interests focus on utilizing social media and data science to support higher education and student services, especially international student services.


As a student who enrolled in a 3+2 program, I completed my study of Bachelor of English Language degree at Shanghai International Studies University in 2014 and received Master of Education degree at Kent State University (KSU) in 2015. Earning two... Continue Reading

Jacole Douglas

I am a first year doctoral student in the International Education program. Coming from a family of educators, the value of education was instilled in me at a young age. I earned a BA in English Teaching from The University of Montana, and I started my professional career as a high school English Language Arts teacher for at-risk youth.


After teaching in the US for a few years, I had the opportunity to move to Nepal to work with a girls’ education organization and later design the curriculum and teach English Literature for a local school starting an International... Continue Reading

Pempho Chinkondenji

My research interests focus on gender, education, and international development in the “Global South,” especially in the context of Africa.  As a first-generation college student, my academic journey, especially after I completed my secondary education was not easy.  My personal experiences together with my academic journey and professional practice largely contributed to my interest in this area.


I come from Malawi where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication in 2013 from the African Bible College in Lilongwe, Malawi.  After graduating, I worked as a... Continue Reading

Sahara Pradhan

I am now a first year doctoral student from Nepal in the International Education program and in the Center for International Education. I completed my BA in Political Science and Education at Vassar College in New York and my MA in International Education at UMass Amherst.


While I grew up in Kathmandu, inheriting a commitment to education through my mother’s educational work with women and girls, my professional and academic goals have emerged from experience, research, and conversations about education in a variety of contexts including in Nepal, Haiti, Costa Rica and the... Continue Reading

Nangyalai Attal

I am a new doctoral student at CIE focusing on international comparative higher education and peace education. I have B.A. in English Language and Literature from Kabul Education University and M.S. in Human Resources from Golden Gate University in San Francisco where I studied through the Fulbright Scholarships Program. Additionally, as a Visiting Student Researcher at UC Berkeley, I wrote a paper on the State of Labor Movement in Afghanistan. 


I have a diverse set of work experience, most recently served as Director of Presidential Decrees and Orders at the... Continue Reading

With my BA in Gender Studies and my Masters in Philosophy, I thought I was adequately prepared to take on the world. My teaching experiences in Pakistan, Thailand and Mexico however, proved to me that I had to figure out a way to take the knowledge I had and put it into practice, working within the frameworks of various cultures, religions and languages.


Perhaps therefore I have been an educator in some form or another for almost a decade. The one thing that excites me most about life is constantly learning, whether that learning comes from teachers, students, or people you... Continue Reading

Miheretu Adane

Tadias! My name is Adane Miheretu and I am a first year Doctoral Candidate in International Education. I am interested in and  passionate about Education in crisis and conflict situations.  For over ten years, I have worked for a number of International Nongovernmental Organizations (including International Rescue Committee, Women’s Refugee Commission, Concern Worldwide, and USAID’s various projects) in East Africa and in the United States.


I am so thrilled and looking forward to working with a fascinating group of people with wide ranges of interests and expertise. I am... Continue Reading

Kayla Boisvert

I’ve always had an interest in how the human mind works and learns, social justice issues, and cultures and places different from where I call home. In undergrad, I studied psychology and Spanish, and with my degree, I worked in the field of social work for several years as a therapeutic recreation counselor and later as a drug and alcohol clinician for adolescents.


Tired of the “reactive” treatment approach, I transitioned into education where I believed I could work on preventing many of life’s difficulties and working towards a more just, fair, and equitable world. In... Continue Reading

Shamo Thar

To respond the tremendous need in education opportunities in the area, I founded a non-profit organization, the Pentok Intitute to promote quality education for Tibetan girls. Together with my team, we raised millions of grants for the programs. We worked closely with ten public schools and 7,000 children in the communities. We provided “culturally relevant curriculum” and teaching practice via several programs during summer and winter holidays. In 2014, I established the very first private school in the area with authorization from the local government. It is a Montessori pre-school that... Continue Reading

Promise Mchenga


I come from Malawi, the “warm heart of Africa”. I have just entered the Master’s program here at Center for International Education. Earlier I received a BA in Biblical Studies and Education from African Bible College (Lilongwe, Malawi campus) and an MA in Christian Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary, Kentucky.


My interests in international education are closely related to my personal, academic and professional experiences. For most of my undergraduate studies I interned with Children of the Nations International (COTNI). This experience exposed me to... Continue Reading

Jacob Carter

Cross-cultural experiences have been a common thread in my life, both domestically and internationally. I grew up in rural North Carolina and at the age of 12, moved to a suburb of NYC. I remember other students looking curiously as I chewed on tall blades of grass and wore sandals and shorts to school despite the cold weather. They were shocked with my seemingly intimate relationship with straw, that I didn't own a pair of jeans and with my strange accent. This move and subsequent moves in high school, while at times frustrating, provided me with a unique "American" educational experience... Continue Reading

I am proudly a Nigerian and happy to be at CIE. I believe that coming to CIE will facilitate the experiences that help examine policy formation and implementation in regard to education in developing countries. I graduated from University of Ibadan in 1989 with honors in Adult Education and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from University of Ilorin in 1995 both in Nigeria respectively. I have worked for over 20 years armed with varied teaching experiences both in the formal and non-formal settings. I worked with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nigeria for twelve years... Continue Reading