Selah Agaba is a joint doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology & Educational Policy Studies studying with Dr Claire Wendland & Dr Nancy Kendall. Her research focuses on the comprehensiveness and applicability of policies governing sexual and reproductive health issues for adolescents in East Africa. Specifically, Selah’s dissertation aims to understand adolescent pregnancy through a comprehensive examination of the lived experiences of adolescent boys and girls in Uganda. The aim is to use this understanding to inform the policies and practices of all the stakeholders that are invested in making the lives of young people better.
Selah has extensive experience as an educator & researcher. She holds an M.Ed. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A in Public Elementary Education from Brandeis University & a B.A. in African Languages and Literature from Makerere University, Uganda.
Molly Blake is an Educational Policy Studies doctoral student specializing in the history of American education. She works with Dr. Bill Reese. Molly is broadly interested in the link between U.S. urban/suburban history and education history. More specifically, she is interested in examining 20th century debates centering on racial equity and education, the competing educational policies that have come out of these the debates and the impact of these policies on students and metropolitan communities. Her other interests include the history of community activism related to education; higher education access and equity; and prison education. Molly's twin passions are studying history and teaching; prior to joining the EPS department, she worked as a teacher in the Twin Cities. Most recently, she served as Adult Education Instructor at a community-based non-profit in Saint Paul, MN, where she taught classes and collaborated with other non-profit professionals to pilot a college readiness program for adult students.
Christina is a joint PhD candidate in Educational Policy Studies and Anthropology. Her research explores how youth understand and enact moral values taught in rural and township secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She recently conducted eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa supported by a Fulbright award, and is currently completing her dissertation. Christina has a passion for teaching and supporting undergraduate education, and has worked as a lecturer in anthropology, educational policy studies, and Italian language courses. In addition to her academic interests, she has worked with grade school students through volunteer organizations in Atlanta, South Africa and India.
Brett is a Ph.D. student studying history and philosophy of education. His research interests revolve around the history of standardized testing as well as topics in the intersection of religion and education. His current projects include a history of the implementation of testing programs in rural schools during the 1920s and an analysis of how inherited theological concepts have shaped federal court rulings involving religion and the schools. Before coming to UW-Madison, Brett spent several years as a middle school and high school teacher.
Rachel is a doctoral candidate in Educational Policy Studies. Her research broadly explores schools’ organizational responses to federal and local policy initiatives, and how these organizational structures influence teachers’ work. Specifically she is interested in how schools create collaborative spaces for teachers and how schools as organizations shape teachers’ practice and job satisfaction. Her dissertation research focuses on understanding the impact teacher labor policies have on teachers’ levels of satisfaction, exit decisions, and perceptions of school working conditions.
Rachel also has experience conducting and analyzing research from the field. She measured teacher learning in the Middle School Mathematics Professional Development evaluation. Then with the Madison Writing and Achievement Project team, she tested the impact of social belonging and values affirmation in a randomized trial of middle school students. A graduate of Wellesley College, Rachel has a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy. She completed her master’s degree at UW-Madison in Educational Policy Studies with her thesis “How Does Teacher Experience Matter? Effects of General and Course–Specific Experience on Student Achievement”. Prior to graduate school, Rachel was a middle and high school math teacher and a horse wrangler.
James is a graduate student in Educational Policy Studies working with Dr. Linn Posey-Maddox. He is interested in race, whiteness, class, and inequality in education. In particular, James’s research focuses on how parents create racial contexts for their children and how parents influence schools and school systems. Prior to graduate school, James taught at an elementary school and worked for a health education non-profit in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amato Nocera is a grad student pursuing a Ph.D. in history of education. His research interests relate to the historical relationship between large philanthropic organizations and the development of African-American education, particularly in the first part of the 20th century. His master’s thesis focuses on an African-American adult education program in Harlem that the Carnegie Corporation funded in the 1930s. Amato has also worked on a number of research projects using a variety of methodologies. Most recently, he has been working with Professor Beth Graue in Curriculum and Instruction on a qualitative study of Wisconsin’s public pre-K system.
Before coming to graduate school, Amato worked for several years as a research associate at the Spencer Foundation—hence his interest in philanthropy. When trying to avoid all things academic, Amato enjoys biking, olympic weightlifting, and spending time with his beautiful fiancée.
Juan Carlos Medina is a doctoral student in the Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His educational background includes obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Teaching – History, along with a BCLAD Certified California Teaching Credential, from Occidental College in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Originally from East Los Angeles, CA, Juan’s research interests reflect his lived experience. As such, his research includes: studying the structure of community-based educational spaces; the access, preparation, and persistence in higher education of underrepresented students; and the history of Latino education in the U.S. southwest. Juan is currently working with Dr. Bianca Baldridge while specifically studying the racialization of Spanish speaking populations in the American southwest while paying considerable attention to how the formation of the image of the “other” can be dismantled within Community-based educational spaces, and the possibilities available to holistically educate Spanish speaking populations through said spaces.