Past Speakers at EPS

Indigenous Education Speakers' Series

The Indigenous Education Speakers’ Series featured indigenous activists, educators, and speakers, who spoke about indigenous peoples, history, and cultures. This series is pivotal to our department’s mission of addressing the history of colonization and intentional erasure of indigenous peoples, while respecting and acknowledging the sovereignty of indigenous nations in Wisconsin and around the country.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

March 23, 2023 - Noah Romero (Video)

“Decolonial Underground Pedagogy: Decolonizing Education through Subcultural Learning” by Noah Romero

“This talk introduces decolonial underground pedagogy, a framework that shows how minority-led subcultures can foster critical consciousness and decolonial action through informal learning, community engagement, and nonhierarchical relationships. Through decolonizing methodologies, autoethnography, close reading, and the Indigenous Philippine methodology of pakapa-kapa, this talk examines the emancipatory experiences found in three minority-led subcultures: punk rock, skateboarding, and unschooling. These analyses then inform a discussion of how subcultural learning can enrich efforts to Indigenize and decolonize education in other contexts, including in schools.

Dr. Noah Romero is a decolonial theorist and critical Indigenous studies scholar-educator. Bridging Ethnic Studies and Education, his research examines how dispossessed and deterritorialized people redefine learning and identity in subcultural contexts, with a focus on Indigenous and immigrant communities in the U.S., Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Philippines, and the Philippine diaspora. Dr. Romero is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar of Educator Preparation at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.”

February 28, 2023 - Rachel Byington

Rachel Byington Indigenous Education Speakers' Series Cover Art

“Equitable Education: Choices, Impact, and Change” by Rachel Byington

This presentation will share results from Dr. Byington’s study looking into the experiences of American Indian youth while learning about American Indians in the classroom. Dr. Byington conducted semi-structured interviews with 19 urban American Indian youth ranging from eighth grade to two years post-graduation to gain insight into their experiences in schools, with particular attention to teaching about the tribes of Wisconsin. Focusing on the context in which “Native peoples” (in Wisconsin or elsewhere) are presented in the classroom—good, bad or mediocre—or left out completely, Dr. Byington documented what students recollected about being taught about “Native peoples.” Her goal was to understand the efficacy of Act 31 in correlation to student experiences in the schools.

Rachel Byington, Ph.D., is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is from Madison where she lives with her husband, kids and dogs. She has dedicated her work to serve American Indian populations in urban and tribal communities. Dr. Byington earned her degrees from UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Family, Consumer, and Community Education in 2008; and her master’s degree (2015) and PhD (2020) from the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies. She is currently employed with Earth Partnership: Indigenous Arts and Sciences as the Tribal Youth and Community Liaison supporting youth programs, professional development, and community seasonal events along with curriculum development, research and evaluation. Dr. Byington enjoys spending time with family, hiking, biking, and gardening.

September 23, 2022 - Derek Taira (Video)

“Littoral Hawai’I – Situating the American West in Ocenia through Hawai’I’s History of Education” by Derek Taira

Within the histories of the American West and U.S. empire, Hawai‘i exists in the gray zone and the story of HI’s pre-statehood period (1900-1959) is no different. This history narrates Hawaiian statehood as a progressive linear development, from a Native monarchy to America’s 50th state comprised of a majority non-white population, celebrated by all. A closer look at the history of education during the territorial period, however, tells a different story. I argue the territorial period was Hawai‘i’s formal colonial period – an active and contested era of colonization – and schools represented an important site for white settlers, Asian immigrants, and Native Hawaiians to shape their futures on their own terms and the future of the territory. Framing twentieth-century Hawaiian history in this manner reconnects Hawai‘i to the Pacific World by highlighting how Hawai‘i also experienced colonization similar to that of other Pacific Island nations during this time.

Dr. Derek Taira graduated from the PhD program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at UW-Madison in 2016. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

April 29, 2022 - Megan Bang

Megan Bang Indigenous Educational Speaker Series Cover Photo

“Cultivating Pedagogical Sovereignty: Designing, Implementing and Studying Land- and Water-Based Learning Environments” by Megan Bang

Dr. Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent) is a Professor of the Learning Sciences and Psychology at Northwestern University and is currently serving as the Senior Vice President at the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Bang studies dynamics of culture, learning, and development broadly with a specific focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in creating and implementing more effective and just learning environments in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education. She focuses on reasoning and decision-making about complex socio-ecological systems in ways that intersect with culture, power, and historicity. Central to this work are dimensions of identity, equity and community engagement.

October 26, 2021 - Nikki McDaid

Nikki McDaid Indigenous Education Speaker Series Cover Photo

“Plants Are Our First Teachers: Climate Change and Indigenous Ways of Knowing” by Nikki McDaid

Tackling global issues like climate change through US education means looking to Indigenous peoples for best practices regarding caring for the natural world. This talk will be about relationships between human and plant communities, situated in Indigenous knowledge systems. Nikki McDaid considers how supporting these relationships in an Indigenous STEAM program can open possibilities for different climate futures.

Nikki McDaid (Shoshone-Bannock, Paiute) is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. Her research interests are broadly focused on learning environments at the intersection of land-based education and Indigenous resurgence. More specifically, she wants to understand the ways that Indigenous youth in a land-based learning environment (Dr. Megan Bang’s ISTEAM program) recognize the personhood of plants and more-than-human animals and whether or not the propensity to do so might have an effect on the ways youth engage in decision-making around social and environmental concerns.

April 23, 2021 - Meixi (Video)

“When Learning is Life-Giving: Re-Designing Schools with Indigenous Ethics” by Meixi

How might schools contribute to the thriving of families, communities, and the lands where they live? Meixi explores how educational systems can be transformed when teachers, researchers, young people and their families cultivate ethical relationships of consent and reciprocity with lands and each other. Drawing from critical sociocultural learning theory and Indigenous concepts of health and well-being, she discusses the life-generating possibilities of interweaving family-based and Indigenous ways of knowing with science and mathematics.

Dr. Meixi is a Hokchiu learning scientist and former teacher who grew up with the Lahu tribe in northern Thailand. She is currently a Presidential Postdoctoral fellow in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. Meixi’s work is centered on strengthening our collective ethical commitments to other human people and the rest of the living world.

April 1, 2021 - Kelsey John

Kelsey John Indigenous Education Speakers' Series Cover Photo

“The Stories They Tell About Us: Disrupting Settler Narratives of Native and Horse Histories” by Kelsey John

Kelsey John will explore several aspects of horse origin stories through a Native American epistemology. Centering American Indian Studies theoretical work on the more than human world, she highlights some important misconceptions about the horse’s story in relationship with other settler narratives about Indians, lands, and the settlement of the Americas. In her work, Kelsey discusses the importance of viewing horses are agents, persons, and teachers who have something to say about their own histories.

Kelsey John is a member of the Navajo Nation and an assistant professor with a joint appointment in American Indian Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. Her work is centered on animal relationalities, particularly horse/human relationships as ways of knowing, healing, and decolonizing education.

March 18, 2021 - Timothy San Pedro

Timothy San Pedro Indigenous Speakers' Series Cover Photo

“Indigenous Resurgences in the Home: Storying Relationality, Answerability, and Care” by Timothy San Pedro

Timothy San Pedro will be giving a talk on Indigenous Resurgences in the Home: Storying Relationality, Answerability, and Care. He re-stories the “everyday” interactions and resurgence efforts between five Native American mothers and their children as they seek to understand the ways lessons of Indigeneity, language revitalization and critical consciousness development occur in the home and community. This presentation will focus specifically on the ways long-established relationships between the speaker and the mothers led to the focus, purpose and eventual stories shared from this collective work.

Timothy San Pedro is an associate professor of multicultural and equity studies in education at Ohio State University. His scholarship focuses on the intricate link between motivation, engagement and identity construction to curricula and pedagogical practices that re-center content and conversations upon Indigenous histories, knowledges and literacies.

February 12, 2021 - Nicole Bowman (Video)

“Good Relatives? Academia, Native Nations, and the Federal Evidence Based Policy Making Act” by Nicole Bowman

The Federal Evidence Based Policy Making Act of 2018 was approved by Congress in 2019 and became Public Law 115-435. Evidence based policy making and operational implications for what “counts” as evidence and research through a Federal Data Strategy all have serious implications for academia, Tribal Nations, and Indigenous populations across all disciplinary areas. Nicole Bowman will discuss this new law, contextualize the history of educational evidence policies and their impacts on Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples, and provide real case examples of how contemporary evidence-based policies and initiatives by academia are helpful and harmful to our Tribal Nations and peoples. She will conclude with an interactive discussion on how non-Tribal academic partners can build their scientific, policy, and cultural skills and capacities for being a Good Relative to Tribal Nations and Indigenous populations in rural and urban communities.

Nicole Bowman (Lunaape/Mohican) is the President and Founder of Bowman Performance Consulting and Associate Scientist at WCER (Wisconsin Center for Education Research) and WEC (Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative). Nicole holds a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from
UW-Madison and is also Co-Chair for the Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation (American Evaluation Association).

October 23, 2020 - Sasanehsaeh Pyawasay

Sasanehsaeh Jennigs Indigenous Education Speakers' Series Cover photo

“Education as a Tool for Colonization: Reflections of the Native Student Experience in Higher Education” by Sasanehsaeh Pyawasay


Sasanehsaeh will offer insight as to how education has and continues to be used as a tool for colonization, using anecdotal insight from current Native students. She will also provide ways to transfer education spaces to be more reflective of the Native student experience.

Sasanehsaeh Jennings lives on the Bad River Reservation in Wisconsin, with her husband and two girls. She is an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin and currently serves as the Tribal Liaison for the University of Wisconsin System and earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, and both her M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and B.A. in Sociology/American Indian Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an educator and scholar-activist, her passion is to transform educational spaces to create a more just institution.

February 1, 2020 - J.P. Leary

JP Leary Indigenous Education Speakers' Series Cover Photo

“Act 31: Learning Why, Seeing How” by J.P. Leary

Professor Leary will discuss his book The Story of Act 31: How Native History Came To Wisconsin Classrooms, and talk and about the value of including native perspectives and approaches in education at all levels. He will discuss shining examples of institutions that have succeeded at this goal, including UW-Green Bay.

Lunch and Learn/Panels

The EPS Lunch and Learn series brought together educators, anthropologists, historians, and sociologists from our department and across the country to give talks about various topics within educational policy and practice, especially in regards to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Our department has also hosted career panels that shared insight about topics such as pursuing job opportunities in international education, applying for professorships, and finding post-doc opportunities.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

November 15th, 2023 - Elizabeth Buckner (Video) - N.I.C.E.

“Sustainable Development: An Emerging Mandate for Universities Worldwide?” by Elizabeth Buckner
Part of the N.I.C.E. (Network for International and Comparative Education) Speaker Series

This talk examines sustainable development as a new mandate for universities worldwide. Drawing on a random sample of 3,000 universities worldwide, it examines what types of universities are most likely to explicitly include sustainability and sustainable development in their mission and vision statements and how they frame these commitments.

Elizabeth Buckner is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Prof. Buckner is a member of the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Global Development. Her research examines how global trends affect higher education policies, institutional practices, and students’ lives. She teaches courses on comparative higher education, the internationalization of higher education, the sociology of higher education and research design.

November 10th, 2023 - Arathi Sriprakash (Video) - N.I.C.E.

Learning Whiteness: Education and The Settler Colonial State by Arathi Sriprakash
Part of the N.I.C.E. (Network for International and Comparative Education) Speaker Series

Whiteness is not innate – it is learned. The systems of white domination that prevail across the world are not pre-given or natural. Rather, they are forged and sustained in social and political life. In this talk, Professor Arathi Sriprakash will explore the material conditions, knowledge politics, and complex feelings that create and relay systems of racial domination. Sriprakash will invite us to reckon with past and present politics of education in order to imagine a future thoroughly divested from racism.

Arathi Sriprakash is Professor of Sociology and Education at the University of Oxford. Her work focuses on the racial politics of knowledge, particularly in the field of education and international development. Sriprakash’s recent book, Learning Whiteness: Education and the Settler Colonial State (co-authored with Sophie Rudolph and Jessica Gerrard) is published by Pluto Press.

October 5th, 2023 - Reza Gholami and Michael Apple (Video)

“Understanding and Interrupting the Right in Education” – A Conversation with Reza Gholami and Michael Apple

Reza Gholami (PhD, FRSA) is Professor of Sociology of Education, UK. He earned his PhD in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Senior Editor of the Sociology of Education section of the Journal of Cogent Education. Professor Gholami’s research focuses on racial and religious diversity in education – the questions, challenges and opportunities thrown up by it. Using mixed methods and community-led research, he is interested in better understanding diversity as both context and content for education in order to foster positive inter-communal relations and improve educational and citizenship outcomes for minoritized youth.

Michael Apple is John Bascom Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education, where he taught from 1970-2018. Prior to completing his Ed.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1970, Apple taught in elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey, where he grew up, as well as served as the president of his teachers’ union. For more than three decades Apple has worked with educators, unions, dissident groups, and governments throughout the world on changing educational policy and practice towards critical pedagogy.

September 15th, 2023 - Claire Katz (Video)

“Philosophical Education and Educational Philosophy in Challenging Times: Critical Reflection, Ethical Development, and Pre-College Philosophy” by Claire Katz

Professor Claire Katz is a Professor of Philosophy and Education and Head of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M. She has written and published extensively on feminist theory, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of education, including most recently Growing Up with Philosophy Camp: How Thinking Develops Friendship, Community, and a Sense of Self (Rowman and Littlefield, August 2020) and Philosophy Camps for Youth: Everything You Wanted to Know about Starting, Organizing, and Running a Philosophy Camp (Rowman and Littlefield, 2021).

In 2015, Dr. Katz launched a highly successful K-12 philosophy program that includes three prongs: educator workshops for K-12 and university instructors and administrators; training for university students in facilitating philosophical discussions with pre-college K-12 students; and developing and running a week-long philosophy summer camp for 6th-12th grade students. In 2021, she and her colleagues published the preliminary results of their study on the impact of the philosophy camp on teens and tweens. In this talk, Dr. Katz discusses the contributions of philosophical education and educational philosophy to pre-college and college educational spaces.

September 12th, 2023 - Diana Rodríguez-Gómez (Video) - N.I.C.E.

“Schooling in Illegal Economies: A Study of Educational Experiences in Southern Colombia’s Coca Fields” by Diana Rodríguez-Gómez
Part of the N.I.C.E. (Network for International and Comparative Education) Speaker Series

The war on drugs has waged a war on coca for over twenty years. This war against coca growers assumes that coca eradication enhances the protection of children and youth. In this presentation, Rodríguez-Gómez focuses on how war remakes state institutions, including schools, and shows that educational access and retention are imperiled without coca cultivation.

Diana Rodríguez Gómez is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Policy Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work examines state-building and education policy-making processes in areas affected by violence, particularly in Latin America. In her current research project, she draws from qualitative and ethnographic methods to explore the concepts of state formation and fragility in a school located near the Colombia-Venezuela border. Rodríguez-Gómez oversees EPS’s Study Abroad program in Colombia, where students learn how human rights are exercised, negotiated, and contested in Colombia’s educational system.

March 28, 2023 - Careers in International Education Panel (Video)

Careers in International Education Panel

Paul St. John Frisoli , Ed.D.
Senior Programme Specialist, LEGO Foundation, Ed.D.,
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kavita Hatipoglu
Senior Program Officer, Results for Development
M.S.Ed. , University of Pennsylvania

Christabel Pinto
Vice President for Literacy, Room to Read
M.S., Bank Street College

Jonathan Stern, Ph.D.
Research and Evaluation Lead, International Education Division at RTI International
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

March 3, 2023 - Regina Fuller

Regina Fuller: The Sex Education Debates in Ghana Talk Cover Photo

“The Sex Education Debates in Ghana” by Regina Fuller

In 2017, Ghana’s Ministry of Education introduced a new sexuality education policy, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) that offered a new reproductive rights-based approach to the teaching of sex education in schools. By 2019, vociferous debates about CSE arose around the country, with policymakers, religious leaders, and parents contesting what form of sexuality education should be taught in schools. This presentation examines Ghana’s sex education debates from 2018 to 2021, showing how various groups positioned gender, sexuality, and religion in educational policymaking in public discourses. Using meeting ethnography and ethnography of education policy, I argue that the sex education battles are a new example of sexual politics where religion, nationhood and heterosexuality are contested in West Africa.

Dr. Regina Fuller is the senior advisor for education grantmaking at Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. She holds a PhD in Educational Policy Studies with a concentration in Comparative International Education. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality curriculum and policies in schools through an African feminist lens. She is particularly interested in how policymakers and bureaucrats make sense of and respond to shifts in sexuality education discourses in Ghana. As a program evaluator, Fuller has supported evaluations of education and public health projects with the World Bank, Save the Children, Dalberg Research, and Idinsight in Africa and Asia.

February 24, 2023 - Peter Youngs (Video)

“The Development of Ambitious Instruction: How Beginning Elementary Teachers’ Preparation Experiences are Associated with Their Mathematics and English Language Arts Instructional Practices” by Peter Youngs

“This study of 83 graduates from 5 elementary teacher education programs in 3 states found that elementary candidates’ opportunities to learn general teaching methods were positively associated with their enactment as first-year teachers of ambitious mathematics and English language arts (ELA) practices. Opportunities to practice content-specific instructional strategies during student teaching were positively associated with first-year teachers’ enactment of ambitious mathematics practices, but negatively associated with classroom management in mathematics and disciplinary demand in ELA. First-year teachers’ classroom management practices were positively associated with enactment of ambitious instruction in both subjects. In sum, we identify several learning opportunities that support first-year teachers’ ambitious instruction.

Peter Youngs completed his Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003 and he is currently a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at the University of Virginia. His research interests focus on how teacher preparation, induction, and school social context are associated with beginning teachers’ instructional practices, commitment, and retention. He received the AERA Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) Early Career Award, he previously served as co-editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (2016-18), and he currently serves as co-editor of American Educational Research Journal (2019-24) and as co-editor of the forthcoming second volume of the Handbook of Education Policy Research. “

February 17, 2023 - Sally Bonet

Sally Bonet Lunch & Learn Cover Photo


Meaningless Citizenship: Iraqi Refugees and the Welfare State Book Talk by Sally Bonet

Dr. Sally Bonet is an assistant professor of Educational Studies at Colgate University. Bonet is an anthropologist of education who specializes in the study of forced migration and citizenship education, with a focus on Arab, Muslim, and African refugees.

Bonet will discuss her book, Meaningless Citizenship, an in-depth ethnography of recently resettled Iraqi refugees in Philadelphia. Bonet’s work demonstrates how encounters with critical institutions of the state—including public schooling, resettlement programs, healthcare, and public assistance—are an inherently educative process for both refugee youths and adults, teaching about the types of citizenship they are expected to enact and embody while simultaneously shaping them into laboring subjects in service of neoliberal capitalism.

February 14, 2023 - Jennifer Maria Luoto

Jennifer Mario Luoto Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“Classroom Observation Systems as a Means to Study Teaching Quality Across National Contexts” by Jennifer Maria Luoto

“This talk will give an overview of how standardized classroom observation systems are generally used to study teaching quality internationally. The talk will touch upon benefits and challenges with standardized tools and discuss tensions between standardization and context sensitivity in cross-national studies of teaching quality, with a specific focus on an ongoing Nordic classroom study.

Jennifer Maria Luoto is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo. Luoto has a special interest in how to measure and understand teaching quality, and is inspired by comparative education, multicultural education, and special education. Her research critically explores how different observational measures and frameworks provide different understandings of what is considered “”quality teaching.”””

October 3, 2022 - Ran Liu and Taylor Odle (Video)

“Planning for an Academic Job Search” by Ran Liu and Taylor Odle

Join Professors Ran Liu and Taylor Odle to discuss planning to apply for positions in the academic job market. Learn about different types of academic jobs and institutions, how to find information about searches, how to build your CV throughout graduate school, and the general application and interview process.

Both Ran Liu and Taylor Odle are Assistant Professors in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Dr. Liu received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019. Dr. Odle received his PhD in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2022.

April 1, 2022 - Joel Samoff

Joel Samoff Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“Plus ça Change: Research on Education in Africa” by Joel Samoff

“Many countries in Africa provide universal access to basic education. Post-primary options and opportunities have increased. Research institutes pursue locally and globally important inquiries and produce innovative findings. Yet, inequalities—gender, religion, race, region, socioeconomic status—persist. Most often the primary focus is on schooling, not learning. For too many, universal access to quality education remains a distant dream. Much of the broad research on education in Africa sits here, concerned with the gap between aspirations and achievement. I will explore that research, focused on the research process. What questions are posed? What are the priority problems? What approaches and methodologies are deemed appropriate, legitimate, and productive? Who specifies research priorities? While the catalogue records diversity, several common themes and threads stand out in this review. Explanations for the continuities and omissions begin with the framing and the funding. Notwithstanding border crossers, methodological orthodoxy is blinding. Social engineering remains far more important than social justice. Education can be liberating and transformative. Researchers play a role in setting, or submerging, that agenda.

An experienced educator, researcher, and evaluator, Joel Samoff combines the scholar’s critical approach and extensive experience in international development. With a background in history, political science, and education, he studies and teaches about education and development. From Kilimanjaro coffee farmers in Tanzania to militant bus drivers in Ann Arbor Michigan to the education activists of Namibia and South Africa, the orienting concern of his work has been understanding how people organize themselves to transform their communities.”

March 11, 2022 - Frances Vavrus

Frances Vavrus Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

Ethnography & Memoir in Comparative Education Book Talk by Frances Vavrus

Dr. Fran Vavrus is a Professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Vavrus will speak about her recent book, Schooling as Uncertainty: An Ethnographic Memoir in Comparative Education, and about using ethnography and memoir in comparative education.

February 11, 2022 - Nidia Bañuelos

Nidia Banuelos Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“Advancing Community Cultural Wealth: Insights from the Literature and Lessons from a Mixed Methods Pilot Study” by Nidia Bañuelos

Nidia Bañuelos is an Assistant Professor in Liberal Arts & Applied Studies in the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A sociologist by training, she studies the resources working adults use to navigate college, career choices, and family demands.

In this talk, she will present key insights from the last decade of research on college students’ Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) and explain how this framework can be used in career development research. CCW – which highlights the assets students bring to their education from their families and communities of origin – is not often measured quantitatively, applied to the career development process, or combined with traditional measures of social capital. Along with her co-authors, Ross Benbow and Kyoungjin Jang, Nidia is attempting to address these gaps – using mixed methods to measure the CCW that exists in students’ social networks. She will present some preliminary findings from this work and discuss some lessons learned from measuring CCW quantitatively.

October 22, 2021 - Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“Chartering Exploitation: 21st Century Black Schooling and the (Re)making of a Southern City” by Rachel Williams

“In this discussion, Rachel Williams examines how new modes of segregation, such as exploitative housing policies and county secession, shape the trajectory of charter growth from 2002 to 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee, a majority Black city following the post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans model. By exploring the present-day implications of Jim Crow era segregation, education policy, and unequal political and economic power, this case study explores the local processes shaping how charters take root in new places, while illuminating the structural conditions shaping Black politics in a majority Black city in the U.S. South.

Rachel Elizabeth Williams is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research agenda explores the linkages between the political economy, segregation, education policy, and Black intra-racial politics. In her dissertation, she utilizes qualitative and spatial methods to examine charter growth in relationship to new modes of segregation, such as predatory housing policies and county secession, while drawing linkages to Black politics in a majority Black city in the U.S. South.”

October 18, 2021 - René Kissell

Rene Espinoza Kissell Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“From ‘School System’ to a ‘System of Schools’: Race, Power, and Marketization of Urban District Governance in California” by René Kissell

Dr. Espinoza Kissell will discuss her comparative case study on the evolution of urban school district governance in the San Francisco Bay Area, which compares issues of race and power between private sector management under the portfolio model and a civic-oriented public governance model. This work offers insights into how education reform coalitions navigate financial pressures to shape distinct policy trajectories, as well as the role of audit agencies in the fiscal accountability and racialized surveillance of districts serving Black and Brown students.

René Espinoza Kissell is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she is also affiliated with the National Education Policy Center. Her scholarship centers on the political economy of urban education and the racial politics of privatization with a focus on school district reforms. René received her Ph.D in Education Policy, Politics, and Leadership from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarship has been published in Urban Education, American Journal of Education, and Educational Administration Quarterly.”

October 15, 2021 - Sophia Rodriguez

Sophia Rodriguez Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“‘Immigration knocks on the door, and it’s like being in jail..’: Exploring How Undocumented Immigrant Youth Navigate Racialization in the U.S. South” by Sophia Rodriguez

This presentation provides ethnographic evidence of how undocumented immigrants navigate racialization processes. The research occurs in a focal state in the New Latino South, a hostile context toward immigrants, and one that has a long history of complex race relations. I situate this research in Saenz & Douglas’ (2015) call for the racialization of immigration. The data from a three-year critical ethnography reveal how the youth talk about policy constraints that impact their access to educational opportunity and social mobility, the variation in school support they receive, and how this impacts their sense of belonging to school. Implications for educators and school-based personnel as well as methodological implications for studying sensitive populations are discussed. It is imperative that educators and policymakers understand the conditions that undocumented youth navigate in order to advocate for their educational rights and social supports.

Sophia Rodriguez is an assistant professor of urban education and education policy at the University of Maryland, College Park and a recent visiting scholar at the Center for the Social Organization of schools at Johns Hopkins University (2020). Dr. Rodriguez’s interdisciplinary scholarship, drawing on tools from education, anthropology, and sociology, asks questions about the social and cultural contexts of education policy and practice. Her integrated research agenda addresses issues related to racial equity, urban education, and policy, and centralizes minoritized youth voices. The bulk of her recent research focuses on the experiences of undocumented and unaccompanied immigrant youth in K-12 schools.

October 8, 2021 - Joanne Golann

Joanne Golann Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

Scripting the Moves: Culture & Control in a “No-Excuses” Charter School Book Talk by Joanne Golann

Join Dr. Joanne Golann for a discussion of her new book, based on an 18-month ethnographic study of a no-excuses charter school. Scripting the Moves offers a telling window into an expanding model of urban education reform and how its approach shapes students.

Joanne W. Golann is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education and an Assistant Professor of Sociology (secondary) at Vanderbilt University. Her research has been published in Sociology of Education, American Educational Research Journal, and American Behavioral Scientist, and has been featured in the New York Times, Education Week, Washington Post, and The Atlantic.

September 17, 2021 - Shenila Khoja-Moolji - Global Speaker Islam Series

Shenila Khoja Moolji Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

“Pedagogical (Re)Encounters: Enacting a Decolonial Praxis in Teacher Professional Development in Pakistan” by Shenila Khoja-Moolji

In this talk, Professor Khoja-Moolji reflects on the complexities as well as the promises of enacting a decolonial praxis in the context of teacher professional development. Focusing on a specific case of teacher professional development workshops in Pakistan, and drawing on the methodology of narrative inquiry, she will outline some of the pedagogical (re)encounters that she created to reclaim local knowledge ecologies. It entailed examining the current moment of coloniality; an active reengagement with local landscapes, intellectual productions, and teacher selves; and becoming hunarmand (skillful) in taking up, twisting, and molding dominant pedagogical models toward anti- and decolonial ends.

Shenila Khoja-Moolji is an Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of feminist theory, cultural studies, and Islamic studies. Her research interests include, Muslim girlhood(s), masculinities and sovereignty, and Ismaili Muslim women’s history. She investigates these topics empirically in relation to Muslims in Pakistan, the United States, and Canada. Dr. Khoja-Moolji is the author of award-winning book, Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia (2018) and her latest book, Sovereign Attachments: Masculinity, Muslimness, and Affective Politics in Pakistan, was published in June 2021.

April 9, 2021 - Yingyi Ma

Yingya Ma Lunch & Learn Cover Photo

Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed in American Education Book Talk by Yingyi Ma

Dr. Yingyi Ma will be giving a talk on her book Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed in American Education. Ambitious and Anxious offers a multifaceted analysis of the new wave of Chinese students based on research in both Chinese high schools and American higher-education institutions. Dr. Yingyi Ma argues that these students’ experiences embody the duality of ambition and anxiety that arises from transformative social changes in China. These students and their families have the ambition to navigate two very different educational systems and societies. Yet the intricacy and pressure of these systems generate a great deal of anxiety, from applying to colleges before arriving, to studying and socializing on campus, and to looking ahead upon graduation.

Dr. Yingyi Ma is an associate professor of sociology, a senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research, and director of Asian/Asian American Studies at Syracuse University. Dr. Ma is a Public Intellectual Fellow (2019 – 2020) for the National Committee of US-China Relations. She was the Inaugural O’Hanley Faculty Scholar (2014- 2017) in Maxwell School. Dr. Ma is a sociologist of education and migration.

March 26, 2021 - Sally Nuamah

Sally Nuamah Lunch & Learn Talk Cover Photo

“Public Perceptions of Black Girls and Their Punitive and Political Consequences” by Sally Nuamah

Dr. Sally Nuamah will be giving a talk on “”Public Perceptions of Black Girls and their Punitive and Political Consequences””. How do race and gender stereotypes affect public support for the punishment of Black girls? Across the United States, Black girls are suspended, arrested, and detained at increasing rates. And yet, little research exists on the factors contributing to these troubling patterns across race and gender, particularly in public opinion research. Dr. Nuamah uses an original survey experiment of Americans to determine the public perceptions shaping Black girls and their punitive consequences. The analysis reveals that Black girls are seen as older, more dangerous, and more knowledgeable about sex. Further, they are viewed as deserving of harsher punishments than any other student. These findings specify the potential role of the American public in contributing to the uneven punitive experiences of Black girls and their potential political consequences for Black women.

Sally A. Nuamah is an award-winning scholar, author, advocate, and filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, gender, education policy, and political behavior. Currently, she is a tenure-track professor of Urban Politics, Human Development and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy, and Political Science at Northwestern University. Most recently, Dr. Nuamah was named a recipient of the Clarence Stone Award from the American Political Science Association’s Urban Politics Section for her work on school closures and awarded the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship to conduct new research on the political consequences of punishing Black women and girls.

February 26th, 2021 - Steph Tai (Video)

“University Action in the Face of Climate Change: The Case of UW Fossil Fuel Divestment” by Steph Tai

UW Madison faculty will vote in March about whether to encourage the university’s private foundation to divest from fossil fuel companies. Steph Tai will discuss how other universities in the US have acted in the face of climate change, what this specific resolution entails, and how faculty have responded to some of the criticisms of the effort.

Steph Tai is a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, working on the intersections between environmental, food, and health sciences and administrative law. Prior to teaching at Wisconsin, they worked as editor-in-chief of the International Review for Environmental Strategies, and an appellate attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.

November 13, 2020 - Ran Liu

Ran Liu Lunch and Learn Cover Photo

“The Gendered Sibling Rivalry: Effect of Sibship Structure on Adolescent Cognitive Ability in China” by Ran Liu

“Professor Ran Liu will examine the effect of sibship structure on adolescent cognitive ability in China. Her research has shown a negative effect of having siblings on adolescent cognitive ability, and this effect is more evident among girls than boys. Three mediation mechanisms will be discussed: children with siblings tend to 1) have lower levels of parental education involvement and parent-child interaction; 2) spend more time on housework; and 3) possess fewer education resources. These three mechanisms work differently for boys and girls in families with different sibship structures. As China ends its One Child Policy and more children live in households with siblings, this talk points to the potential exacerbation of gender inequality and calls for the development of policy initiatives to address the adverse impact on girls.

Ran Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Her research examines gender inequality in education with a particular focus on East Asian societies. More broadly, she studies the intersection of race, gender, class, and immigration status in education and the labor market.”

October 30, 2020 - Diana Rodríguez-Gómez and Maria Jose-Bermeo

Diana Rodriguez-Gomez & Maria Jose Bermeo Lunch and Learn Cover Photo

“The Educational Nexus to THE WAR ON DRUGS: A Systematic Review” by Diana Rodríguez-Gómez and Maria Jose-Bermeo

The war on drugs has had a heavy impact on educational settings. Yet, to date, the field of education, including the subfields of comparative and international education, and education in emergencies, have largely overlooked it. To examine how educational scholarship has addressed the intersection of schooling and the war on drugs we conducted a systematic review of 420 empirical studies published between 1988 and 2018 across 20 subfields of education. In this talk, we will share our findings and discuss with participants some of the methodological challenges we faced while conducting this study. This conversation might be fruitful for those interested in learning more about educational research in regards to the war on drugs and the gains and challenges of conducting a relatively sizeable systematic review.

Diana Rodríguez Gómez is an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies at UW-Madison. With a regional focus on Latin America, her research agenda examines the everyday experiences of education stakeholders, particularly policymakers, street-level bureaucrats, and youth.

Maria Jose Bermeo is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education of the University of los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Her research and teaching interests focus on peace and human rights pedagogies, educational policy in settings affected by crisis and violence, and teacher wellbeing.”

October 16, 2020 - Walter Stern

Walter Stern Lunch and Learn Cover Photo

“Rebellion in the Classrooms: Political Violence in the Civil-Rights High School” by Walter Stern

What’s the difference between activism and unrest? When is violence political? This talk considers these questions by examining the causes and consequences of the political violence that permeated high schools during the 1960s and 1970s. That violence often coincided with Black and Latinx student activism challenging discriminatory discipline and police involvement in schools. Yet officials regularly responded to student protests and the “riots” by reinforcing those same punitive policies that targeted students of color. Drawing upon first-hand accounts from students, activists, and policymakers, this talk explores how and why this occurred.

Walter Stern is the Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies and History at UW–Madison. His teaching and research focus on the historical intersection of race and education in the nineteenth- and twentieth century US.

October 2, 2020 - Eleni Schirmer

Eleni Schirmer Lunch and Learn Cover Photo

“Too Much and Not Enough: Debt and Democracy in Higher Ed.” by Eleni Schirmer

Over the past forty years, the U.S. welfare state has transformed from a tax state to a debt state. Public funding for essential social goods has been choked off, and American welfare, from higher education to health care, is financed through debt. Debt is a central issue for those concerned with rising student debt, declining worker pay, and a narrowing curriculum. This talk aims to shed light on the rise of debt-financed universities, its implications for democracy, and possibilities for its rearrangement.

Eleni Schirmer is a PhD candidate in Educational Policy Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research includes how inequality comes to be seen as natural and just, and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Dissent and elsewhere.

October 1, 2020 - Mai Neng Vang

Mai Neng Vang Lunch and Learn Cover Photo

dejsiab: from my liver to yours Book Reading by Mai Neng Vang

Mai Neng Vang (she/her/hers) will share and discuss dejsiab: from my liver to yours, her recently published book of poetry that explores racist violence, patriarchy, trauma, hope, and healing. This event will include select poetry readings as well as dialogue between attendees and the author.

EPS Alumni Speaker Series

The EPS Alumni Speaker Series features graduates of the EPS PhD program who share their insights gained from their experiences in EPS and careers post-graduation.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

December 8th, 2023 - Amy Porter (Video)

Amy Porter leads monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning on international development projects related to education policy, school-to-work transitions, and youth leadership, among other topics. From 2018-2022, Amy was the Senior Researcher on the USAID Middle East Education Research, Training, and Support (MEERS) contract that responded to on-demand requests from the Middle East Bureau and missions in the region to support evidence-based decision making related to the most pressing education issues in the MENA region. Amy received her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her master’s degree in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University – Teachers College. Her dissertation examined contemporary understandings of gender and entrepreneurship among youth and included nearly two-years of ethnographic data collection in Dakar, Senegal.

December 1st, 2023 - Larry Brown Jr. (Video)

Dr. Larry D. Brown Jr. is a post-doctoral fellow at Wisconsin Center for Educational Research and an associate director of community health and violence prevention services at Harris County Public Health in Texas. He defended his dissertation, “Edu-Carcerality: Beyond the Metaphor of School to Prison,” in EPS in 2022.

April 7, 2023 - Kirk Anderson (Video)

Kirk Anderson – EPS Alumni Speaker Serie

Dr. Kirk Anderson’s work focuses on equity and justice in higher education. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies in 2018 after conducting an ethnography of diversity policy and practice at a large public university. During the course of the pandemic, he began exploring the intersections of critical and contemplative pedagogies in college classrooms. He is currently conducting a critical participatory action research project with a team of Dickinson College students to investigate how Trauma-Informed Pedagogy can be theorized and practice in a justice- and student-centric way.

January 27, 2023 - Bethany Wilinski (Video)

Bethany Wilinski is Associate Professor of International Education in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, where she also leads education projects for the Tanzania Partnership Program. She holds a joint degree Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Policy Studies with specializations in Early Childhood Education and Comparative Education. She is a former early elementary and preschool teacher and has 15 years of experience conducting research and implementing education development projects in Tanzania. Dr. Wilinski studies early childhood education (ECE) policy enactment in the U.S. and Tanzania, with a focus on understanding 1) how ECE teachers and institutions enact and experience educational policy, 2) how policies shape ECE teachers’ initial preparation, work experiences, and well-being, and 3) how global and national policy ideas circulate and intersect with local realities in ECE classrooms. Her work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation and published in journals such as Teachers College Record, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, and Compare.

November 4, 2022 - Marlo Reeves (Video)

Dr. Marlo Reeves is a Senior Evaluation/Research Associate with Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education (SREed) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research focuses on race, racism, and meaning-making in K-12 education and community-based youth organizations. She uses a culturally responsive and racially equitable lens to guide, design, and process her evaluation work. Before her time with SREed, Marlo worked with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative coordinating evaluations for the Milwaukee Community School Partnership and the FIT Youth Initiative. Dr. Reeves earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021 after conducting a six-year ethnography alongside high school-aged grassroots organizers for racial justice.

September 30, 2022 - Mercy Agyepong (Video)

Dr. Mercy Agyepong (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology of Education program in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science and Humanities. Her scholarship draws from critical social theory, sociology of education, sociology of race and ethnicity, sociology of immigration, urban education, postcolonial theory, African diaspora studies, and anti-Blackness studies. Born in Accra, GH and raised in the Bronx, NY, she is particularly interested in the racialization and treatment of Black students in U.S. public schools, with a specific focus on the school experiences and academic achievement of sub-Saharan African students in urban public schools.

Her research has been funded by the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Division G. She is the recipient of the 2021 NYU Steinhardt Racial Justice Award and the 2022 NYU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award. She has contributed to books such as Critical Theory and Qualitative Data Analysis in Education (Routledge Press), Erasing Invisibility, Inequity, and Social Injustice of Africans in the Diaspora and the Continent (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), and Reprocessing race, language and ability: African-born educators and students in transnational America (Peter Lang Publishers).

September 16, 2022 - Rachel Carly Feldman

Rachel Feldman EPS Alumni Speaker Series Cover Photo

Dr. Rachel Feldman’s research focuses on the structural and human resources necessary to equitably improve schools. As an organizations scholar, Dr. Feldman is particularly interested in how educational institutions make sense of, and respond to, policy and the organizational structures and systems that influence those responses. After receiving her degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Feldman served as a legislative assistant in the United States Senate.

March 4, 2022 - Juan Medina

Juan Medina EPS Alumni Speaker Series Cover with title "Careers within Community-Based Educational Organizations"

Dr. Juan Carlos Medina is a recent graduate of EPS who has over 13 years of experience as a critical educator, during which he has supported youth through direct classroom instruction, expanded learning program supervision, and nonprofit leadership. Juan currently serves as the Manager of Research and Evaluation for LEARN, a community-based educational organization, and is a Lecturer at the University of California, Riverside. Within his current position at LEARN, Juan is responsible for conducting ethical evaluation of expanded learning programs, facilitating community engagement and collaborating with partners, assisting with the grant writing process, submitting grant reports, and ensuring youth voices are centered in the development of holistic programming.