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 literacy rates are associated with undesirable life outcomes that include unemployment and underemployment, low income status, incarceration, increased risk of poor health, and sadly, shortened life expectancy. Put simply, individuals with limited literacy are unable to fully participate in life.


A porthole is a round, window like watertight glass cover, usually on a ship, from which a passenger can peer. My research agenda is a reflection of what I see from such a window. Although I have a limited view, I truly hope my reflections about literacy, youth participatory action research, and education will expand everyone’s view.


That said, my research agenda centers on examining the language and literacy practices of refugee youth and conducting youth participatory action research. These interests are the culmination of four major influences in my life: completing my master’s degree in TESOL; reading Deborah Brandt’s Literacy in American Lives; teaching refugee youth in a summer writing program; and working with refugee youth and their families in a mentoring program. To be sure, I have a deep conviction and a sense of responsibility to speak out about the issues surrounding refugee youth and their families, especially regarding access to education.


As a scholar in action, I plan to contribute to the academy through teaching, research, and above all, service to the community.


By joining the Center for International Education, I am excited to work with and learn from a highly diverse community of practitioner-scholars who are committed to fostering socially just programs and approaches to education around the globe. I welcome your comments and ideas to help me improve both my research agenda and praxis. Please feel free to email me. I would love to hear from you!  Ubuntu, [12-19]




Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
On-Campus Student