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First Year Doctoral Students
Mai Atta (email@example.com)
Mai is a writer and educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & International Business from the Arab Academy for Science and technology in Cairo, Egypt, as well as seven years of experience working with youth and adults in formal and informal contexts. Before moving to the U.S., she was designing and implementing development and capacity building training in student organizations, NGOs, and corporations. Mai also holds a Certificate in mental health first aid. Her areas of expertise involve research in field work, data collection, curriculum development, and facilitation. Mai’s areas of interest involve social movement learning, youth and young adult development, resilience in times of conflict, culture, identity, and evidence-based interventions for youth. After a semester at University of Rochester, Mai is currently a PhD student and graduate assistant at Pennsylvania State University.
Eric J. Hunting (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eric is a poet and essayist, using these forms to discuss culture and identity. He holds dual degrees in Sociology and Psychology from Grand Valley State University and an M.S. in Counseling, Adult, and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University. Prior to arriving at Penn State, he worked at Cornell University as a Student Affairs professional within residence life. Most notably, Eric ran Cornell’s only residence hall dedicated to music and using music as a pedagogy for community building. He works as a graduate assistant with the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial & Life Skills Center. His research interests look at social protest music and embodied learning. He is particularly interested in looking at punk music and the role of the body as sites of resistance and developing critical consciousness.
Sophie Kandler (email@example.com)
Sophie Kandler is a Ph.D. student in Adult and Continuing Education with a minor in Women’s Studies. She holds both Bachelor’s (Secondary Education, 1989) and Masters (Instructional Design, 2007) in Education from Penn State. Sophie has worked in many various jobs over her life: from sewage plant worker to bartender, sales trainer to instructional designer. She is an activist, and has organized and attended peaceful protests, as well as speaking about Transgender issues in schools, universities, and companies internationally. She also performs a volunteer work, including being a former volunteer paramedic on a local rescue squad. Sophie is a writer, and has been published in international magazines and the New York Times. She also writes an award winning blog, as well as several on-line columns. Her Ph.D. research focuses on Cisgender/Transgender relations.
Jaeung Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jaeung has B.A. and M.A. in Education from Seoul National University, South Korea. He has studied educational phenomena based on perspective for lifelong learning and critical theory. He wrote a master’s thesis about citizenship education. He worked at national institutions for adult education such as National Institute for Lifelong Education(NILE) and Korea National Open University (KNOU). His research interest is the relationship between education and social change, focusing on education for civil movement and collective learning. Currently, Jaeung is a first-year student in Ph.D.program in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education.
Second Year Doctoral Students
Rich Akers (email@example.com)
Rich earned a B.A. degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.A. degree in Liberal and Professional Studies from Towson University, a M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State, and a graduate certificate in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. Currently, Rich is a student academic adviser at Penn State World Campus where he specializes in working with adult learners who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees. He is currently enrolled in the D.Ed. Lifelong Learning and Adult Education degree program. His research interests include online distance education and adult learners enrolled in higher education degree programs.
Kate Antanovich (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kate attended Minsk State Linguistic University in Minsk, Belarus and has a B.A. in English with a Minor in German from Temple University. She earned her Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Kate has taught Russian at Temple University and English at the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia and consulted on the education-related issues in the graduate medical education field. Kate’s research interest centers around teaching and adult learners in higher education. She is particularly interested in international teaching comparisons and ways faculty conceptualize teaching and engage in teaching improvement initiatives.
Meredith Bannon (email@example.com)
Meredith has a B.A. in Mathematics from Duke University and a Master’s degree in Math Education from Teachers College Columbia University. Her educational experiences include Peace Corps Education Volunteer (2010-2012 in Mali), English Teacher (2013-2015) Turkey, Central America, and Southern Africa), New York City Public School Teacher (High School for recent immigrants and refugees 2015-2016), OECD (intern and consultant – 2018). Her dissertation examines the career pathways of teachers with a background of forced migration in Europe. Meredith’s primary research interests are Refugee Education, Teacher Education, International Education, Comparative Education, Adult Education. Secondary research interests: Primary and Secondary Education, Inclusive Education, Post-Conflict Education, Sociology of Migration.
- Cerna, L., Andersson, H., Bannon, M., & Borgonovi, F. (2019). Strength through diversity: Spotlight Report for Sweden
- Neda, F., Cerna, L., & Bannon, M. (2019). The lives of teachers in diverse classrooms.
Aziz Bawardi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aziz has an M.S. in Adult Education Program at North Carolina A&T State University and has worked as a teacher in elementary and high school in Saudi Arabia. The research topic Aziz is interested in is the impact of technology on self-directed learning in non-formal adult education setting. His hope is to develop a theory related to self-directed learning in modern technical practices and to increase technology integration into adults learning in today’s world.
Alexis Cherewka (email@example.com)
Alexis has a B.A. in international politics and Spanish from Penn State and an M.A. in applied linguistics / TESOL certification for higher education from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to arriving at Penn State, she taught English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) in higher education and adult education in West Africa, Europe, and the United States. She worked in teacher training and developed curriculum for ESOL in the context of K-12, higher education, and adult education. Her area of research is literacy and language education for adults. More specifically, Alexis is interested in adult theories of learning, teacher education, and policy analysis within these areas of study.
Renee Thornton-Roop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Renee has a B.S. in Social Psychology from Park University and a masters in Social Work from Radford University. Prior to Penn State, Renee worked with adults and children with intellectual disabilities as a Behavioral Consultant and Therapist. Currently, she is the Associate Director of the Office of Veterans Programs and Penn State University Park. Her research interest is examining the role of narrative, or story, in veterans’ transitions from the military to higher education.
Third Year Doctoral Students
Hye-Su Kuk (email@example.com)
Hye-Su has a B.A. in English Language Education and an M.A. in Lifelong Education from Seoul National University, South Korea. Hye-Su has experience in citizenship education and teaching English in middle schools in Korea. Her research interests span from learning theories, particularly in experiential learning, to social movement learning. She is currently interested in education for democratic participation in South Korea and the roles that educational institutions play in mediating civil society and the state. Currently, she is pursuing a dual-title degree in Comparative and International Education.
- Kuk, H. S., & Holst, J. D. (2018). A dissection of experiential learning theory: Alternative approaches to reflection. Adult Learning, 29(4), doi: 10.1177/1045159518779138
- Kuk, H. S. (2018). The transformation of experiential learning from the practices of lifelong educators in Korea (평생교육사의 현장경험에서 나타나는 평생교육 이론과 실제의 타협 양상). Korean Journal of Lifelong Education (KCI enlisted), 24(2), 83-113.
Xiaoying Jiang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Xiaoying comes from China. She has a B.A. from Hebei Normal University, China, a Master of Social Science degree from Aalborg University, Denmark, and a Master of Law degree from the University of International Relations, China. Xiaoying’s professional experiences include working as an International Student Program Manager at Tsinghua University, China, and Teaching Consultant at XuetangX MOOC Corporation, China. Her research interests include international aid to education, lifelong learning policy, and distance learning.
Alison Schriver (email@example.com)
Allison has a B.S. in Education and M.S. in Teaching and Curriculum from Penn State and an M.Ed. in Literacy from Walden University. Allison has been a Reading Specialist and teacher for 22 years and a part-time English Adjunct at HACC for 3 years. Alison’s research interests are testing and student motivation in continuing higher education.
Dorca Kisare-Ressler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dorca has a B.S. in Psychology from Millersville University and a Masters Degree in Counseling with the concentration in College Students Personnel from Shippensburg University. Her previous work involved Directorship for International Student Services Offices in various institutions, adviser for international students at Penn State University. Dorca’s research interest is in international education and its implication for global learning. She is interested in the comparative exploration of the role of the international education. She would look at how this is accomplished through the lens of cross-cultural work between the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) and the national Non-Governmental Organizations for adult learners’ intercultural competency focusing in Tanzania and the United States. Her work for over ten years in International Education, the crossing borders experiences, and interest on issues relating to the effect of globalization on the global south has influenced her research interests.
Jennifer Blackburn Miller (email@example.com)
Jennifer has a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies with Minors in Music and International Studies from Radford University and an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Penn State University. Jennifer is interested in contemplative inquiry and holistic education, as well as conflict transformation, trauma healing, and peacebuilding through the arts. Her dissertation research is about a social justice theatre program in Philadelphia, PA and Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Her preliminary research on this program has been published in the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education in the article titled The Transformative and Healing Power of Theatre of Witness.
Tulare Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tulare has a B.S. in Administration of Justice with a minor in Sociology from Penn State and a Master of Social Work fromTemple University. Currently, Tulare is a faculty instructor and Director of the Office of Disability Services at Lock Haven University with professional experiences including college instructor, academic advisor, and social work/mental health practitioner in college, community, and correctional facility settings. Tulare’s primary research interest is the emotional and relational experiences of adult learners, particularly students with disabilities in higher education/online education. Tulare has co-presented at AAACE and AERC regarding the experiences of advanced-career doctoral students, and the experiences of mothers of children with disabilities.
Carol Rogers-Shaw (email@example.com)
Carol Rogers-Shaw earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in English, and a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Reading from Fordham University. Certified as both a secondary school teacher and supervisor, she taught high school English for over 30 years. Her experiences with learning disabled adolescents, English language learners, and socio-economically disadvantaged students led to her desire to provide increased educational opportunities for marginalized students. Her research focuses on expanding access and inclusion for adults with disabilities, stigma and disability disclosure, identity development of learners with disabilities, distance education, Universal Design for Learning, and doctoral and graduate study. Her qualitative research projects with marginalized populations center on adults with disabilities and mothers of children with disabilities, and her autoethnographic dissertation presents issues of lifelong learning and disability.
Heh Youn Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Heh Youn Shin has a B. A. in English Language and Literature and an M. A. in HRD & Adult Continuing Education from Korea University, South Korea. Her work experience includes working as a program coordinator at the Korea University Institute for Continuing Education and a government-sponsored intern at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. Her research interests include vocational education and training, social and labor market integration, and lifelong learning policies relevant to adult migrants, particularly on women immigrants in Korea. Currently, she is pursuing a dual-title degree in Comparative and International Education.
Tabitha Stickel (email@example.com)
Tabitha has a B.S. from the Oregon State University and an Ed.M. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Tabitha worked in adult basic education (ABE) and developmental education in rural Arizona for 4 years; was an adjunct faculty at community college teaching ABE/Developmental math, reading and writing; taught TASC-prepatory courses in Manhattan and was an academic tutor for pre-college writing courses at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). She has also served on board of directors for Arizona Association of Lifelong Learners (AALL), and was the communication committee chair. Tabitha’s scholarly activities include the following conference presentations at National Council on Family Literacy (NCFL): “Annual Review of Toyota Family Learning Programs”; “Family Literacy Funding Resources; Family Service Learning: Research to Practice”; “Family Literacy Behind Bars: The Read to Your Child Program in a PA Prison”. PA Association for Adult Continuing Education (PAACE): “Family Literacy Funding”. Corrections Education Conference: “Read to Your Child: Fathers’ Perspective”. Comparative and International Education Society: “Native America and Adult Basic Education”
Xiaoqiao Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Xiaoqiao has a B.A. in Communications and an M.S. in Social Work. She has worked for two different institutions in the U.S. as an international students recruiter and advisor. Xiaoqiao is interested in understanding Chinese international students’ acculturation stress and how they learn to cope with the stresses through their social networks. She has been the Lead Graduate Assistant in the LLAED program during 2018-2019 academic year.
- Zhang X. et al. (2019). Cross-Cultural Approaches to Mental Health Challenges Among Students. In Shapero B., Mischoulon D., Cusin C. (eds.) The Massachusetts General Hospital Guide to Depression. Current Clinical Psychiatry. Cham, Switzerland: Humana Press.