The strong integration of research and praxis at the Center for International Education was one of the main reasons I was attracted to this program. I am impressed by the extent to which faculty members and fellow students are actively engaged in international development work, and excited about what we can learn from each other. I am also drawn to the diversity of nationalities and perspectives represented within the program. Having spent the first 19 years of my life in Germany, England, and Austria, as well as six months during college living in northwestern Uganda, cultural exchange and understanding is something I deeply value.

 

My interest in pursuing a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership grew out of a variety of experiences over the last 16 years that have allowed me to gain experience in a range of educational elements including curriculum development, teaching, and program design and evaluation. I spent several years designing participatory community development and hygiene curricula for a small non-profit organization focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene development in in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.

 

More recently I worked for 3½ years at Cal Poly University in California, where I was responsible for managing the campus academic program review process. In addition, I helped coordinate learning and development events for faculty and staff. I also spent a year working as a health educator and care coordinator for medically underserved patients at a network of local community health centers.

 

During my time in California I completed two master’s degrees: the first an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at Biola University, and the second an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology through CSU Fullerton.

 

Broadly speaking, I am interested pedagogy and learning design, and am committed to better understanding the causes underlying educational inequality around the globe, including discrimination (due to gender, disability, ethnicity, etc.) and factors such as conflict and poverty. Specifically, my hope is to develop innovative educational approaches and programs for women and girls that are responsive to their cultural, social, and economic realities. I want to better understand how culture shapes educational values and practices within societies, as well as explore how advances in the learning sciences shed light on innate learning processes.

 

email: kheasterekho@umass.edu

 

Degree: 
Ph.D.
Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
Status: 
On-Campus Student