Students in EPS- UW



Main Office

Educational Policy Studies
School of Education
UW - Madison
235 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/262-1760
Fax: 608/262-0460

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Current Students

Selah Agaba

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.

​Brett Bertucio
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.

Erin H. Cantos

Erin H. Cantos is a joint PhD candidate in Educational Policy Studies and Southeast Asian History. Her research centers on the history of education in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Southeast Asia and the United States, and explores issues of identity, nationalism, assimilation, and exclusion. She is also broadly interested in American and European empire, and specifically in the Western missionary impulse as a component of the imperial educational project. Erin’s dissertation examines the origins of mass primary education in the Spanish Philippines and the role of Filipino teachers as agents and enemies of the colonial state. Some of her other research interests include education in the early American republic, the history of childhood, and transnational histories of education. Before arriving in Madison, Erin spent nearly a decade as an editor in her hometown of Chicago, working on nonfiction school and library books and later on social studies and history textbooks.

​Christina Cappy
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.

Rachel Feldman

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. 

Juan Medina
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.

H. Rose Miesner
Rosie Miesner is a graduate student in Educational Policy Studies concentrating in Social Sciences and Education. Her research interests include contextual influences on the work and lives of special education teachers; the manner by which federal, state, and local policies shape the provision of special education services to K-12 students; and the impact of school privatization on students with special needs. Rosie previously taught elementary general education in New York and elementary special education in Wisconsin. She enjoys rock climbing, playing rugby, and making pop-up cards.

Amato Nocera
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. 

Eujin Park
Eujin is broadly interested in the relationships between families, communities, and schools. For her master's thesis, she is examining how the goals and practices of a weekend heritage language school are shaped by the community it is embedded in. Other interests include socialization processes in schools, immigrant student experiences, and the intersectionality of race, class, gender in schooling experiences.

Jennifer Seelig

Jennifer is a PhD candidate in Educational Policy Studies with a minor in Curriculum & Instruction. Her dissertation research is an ethnographic study exploring the relationship between a rural community and their school district in Northern Wisconsin. Specifically, she is interested in the role schools play in community development initiatives and planning for a community’s future. In addition, school-community relations do not occur in a vacuum; thus, the impact of demographic, economic, and political change on the actors and local environment is also an essential component of her work.

Jennifer also has extensive teaching experience in both urban and rural school districts, at four-year universities and community college. Her passion lies in working with students to critically examine their constructions of the world and in discussing issues of racial, economic, and social justice.

Rachel Silver
Rachel is a joint-degree doctoral candidate in Educational Policy Studies and Anthropology.  Her research focuses on gender and global educational development policies in practice in Southern and Eastern Africa.  Specifically, Rachel’s dissertation is a multi-sited ethnographic project that explores Malawi’s 1993 and 2015 Readmission Policies, which ban the practice of permanently expelling pregnant girls from school.  It highlights the efforts of Malawian NGO-workers to critically re-conceptualize the relationship between gender, sexuality, and schooling through policy reform as they navigate the field of international development and mediate between its constituent parts.   Rachel is co-author of Educated for Change?: Muslim Refugee Women in the West (2012) as well as chapters in edited volumes on globalization and education, forced migration in the global South, and meeting ethnography. She has taken part in varied educational consulting projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi.

Miriam Thangaraj
Miriam is a doctoral candidate, with a concentration in Comparative and International Education and Cultural Anthropology (minor); her advisor is Dr. Nancy Kendall. Miriam’s research interests encompass global education and development discourses on schooling, childhood and vulnerability. She is particularly interested in how policy constructions of “child labor” – and the state-mandated “rehabilitation” of child workers in schools – shape the daily lives of children and families in high-poverty areas. She is currently engaged in ethnographic fieldwork in India, with child workers in a crafts-based community undergoing globally-driven industrialization. Her fieldwork is supported by an IDRF grant from the SSRC. 

Kathy Villalón
Kathy Villalón is a graduate student in Education Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her teaching credential and Master’s degree in Education from Whittier College where she studied Latin@s in Higher Education and forms of assimilation, acculturation, and resistance. Villalón is originally from Pico Rivera, California. She spent her younger years living between Tijuana and Los Angeles. Her experiences as a borderlands native have shaped her research interests around immigration, English Language Learner policy, youth and parent activism, and Latin@ college graduation attainment.


If you are a current or former student of Educational Policy Studies, please contact Jacob Leonard for information on how to get your information listed on this page.

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