Category Archives: Alumni

OLPD alumna wins CIES outstanding dissertation award

Laura Willemsen, alumna (Ph.D. 2016) and lecturer in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), has won the 2016-17 Gail P. Kelly Award for her dissertation, Embodying Empowerment: Gender, Schooling, Relationships and Life History in Tanzania.

This award of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) is conferred on an outstanding Ph.D. or Ed.D. dissertation that manifests academic excellence; originality; methodological, theoretical, and empirical rigor; and that deals with issues of social justice and equity in international settings. These issues may include—but are not limited to—gender, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality.

The committee wrote the following assessment of Dr. Willemsen’s dissertation:

“This is a solid piece of academic work engaging with ethnographic realities which clearly paints a scenario of gender disparity and the fundamental role that education should play in ameliorating the current status quo. It examines the role schooling has played in empowering young women from vulnerability toward increasing security and well-being. The study illustrates how school needs to include an element of care to be successful, particularly in marginalized women’s lives, underscoring how quality education moves beyond what can be measured through traditional indicators such as academic performance. Through her study, Willemsen critically engages with prominent discourses in the field of comparative and international education, for example the role of education in empowering of marginalized groups (here young women in a low-income country), yet also underscoring how the school is not necessarily the decisive factor in this empowerment, how additional forces, such as family, community and religion can play more prominent roles than education. Additionally, she put forward a critical perspective on the content of schooling, promoting a more holistic notion of education for the institution to at all be able to function as a factor for empowerment of marginalized groups. In this dissertation, the notion of empowerment as understood by researchers and development experts, and the role of education within it, is challenged through this dissertation and the young women populating it. The role of social justice is a cross-cutting issue in the dissertation by Willemsen. She also engages with central CIES discourses in a critical manner, something rather bold in a Ph.D. dissertation and in such a way contributing to academic excellence and originality.”

Laura Hageman (M.Ed. ’14)

Laura Hageman (M.Ed. ’14),  is one of the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District’s Teachers of the Year for 2016-2017 school year. This is Laura’s fourth year teaching at Five Hawks. Laura is highly active in several activities and committees at Five Hawks. She is currently on the BILT Leadership Team, Junior Naturalist Team, and E-STEM Team. Along with her participation with several activities and committees, she is currently planning a garden at Five Hawks to provide students with a hands-on learning experience.

 

Jeanne d’Arc Gomis (M.A. ’05)

Jeanne d’Arc Gomis (M.A. ’05), is the new Director of the Study Abroad Programs at Arkansas State University.  Jeanne d’Arc Gomis’s previous experience greatly prepared her for her new position. She has worked four years as the regional director of International Member Relations for International Student Exchange Programs,  also known as ISEP in Arlington, Virginia. In 2006, she worked six years as the study aboard adviser at Appalachian State University. At Appalachian State University she served four years as the assistant director of the International Student Exchange and Study Abroad department. In 2010, she became the interim director of the International Student Exchange and Study Abroad department.

Marsha Wilson (M.Ed ’11)

Marsha Wilson (M.Ed ’11), is a master teacher who wears all the hats — parent, social worker, teacher, nurse and she wears them all so effortlessly,’ said Principal Jeff Roland, Banfield Elementary School. Marsha Wilson is Austin’s top choice for 2017 Minnesota State teacher of the Year. She currently a fourth grade teacher at Banfield Elementary School. She has been teaching at Banfield since 1986.

Heidi Haugen (M.Ed ’97)

Heidi Haugen (M.Ed ’97), is a 2016 nominee for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She currently a kindergarten teacher at Kenyon Wanamingo School. She has been working in Kenyon Public Schools since 1986. She is an advocate for reading. Through her passion for reading she created a book program that “has secured funding for a monthly book donation to students receiving food backpacks” (KenyonLeader.com, 2016).

China Champions meet former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale

vice-president-mondale-visit-1The 2016-17 China Champions were introduced to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale last evening at an event hosted by Peggy Lucas, member of the U of M Board of Regents and a supporter of the China Champions program. Mr. Mondale met each athlete individually and discussed his work in opening diplomatic doors to China and his many visits to the country.

Also attending the event were School of Kinesiology director Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and associate director Rayla Allison, J.D.

Mr. Mondale also served as a U.S. senator representing Minnesota and was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996.

Led by the U of M’s School of Kinesiology in collaboration with Beijing Sport University and supported by the Chinese government’s Scholarship Council, the China Champions program is a unique, global collaboration that provides mutual benefits for Chinese athletes and University faculty, staff and students.

 

Lisa M. Bolt (M.Ed. ’95)

Lisa M. Bolt (M.Ed. ’95) has published three middle grade “choose your path” sports novels (hockey, baseball, and soccer), over 20 nonfiction children’s titles, and an adult history book. She also teaches ESL to adults part time.

In memoriam: Clyde Parker

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Clyde Parker

Clyde Parker graduated from the University of Minnesota with his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1957. Upon graduation, Parker became an associate professor at Brigham Young University. He returned to the University of Minnesota in 1965 and served in a number of roles from 1965-1983, including: professor, Fullbright Lecturer, and department chair.

Anna Duran, one of Parker’s Ph.D. student advisees and now president of Avatar Research Institute, considers him to be one of the key people who helped her to develop her professional identity. “Clyde was one of those professors who influenced the thinking of so many of his students and who also was the quintessential supporter of developing talent of people from diverse backgrounds,” she remembers. “He left a premier legacy of educational psychology professionals who went on to make extensive contributions to whatever fields that they pursued.”

Read Clyde Parker’s full obituary here.

Brenda Blume (M. Ed. ’07)

Brenda Blume (M. Ed. ’07) accepted corporate marketing role focused on talent, learning & development, diversity, inclusion and community relations related efforts for the global supply chain company, C.H. Robinson. The role focuses on marketing our talent’s education, lifelong learning, giving back and the value that brings to our company and customers.

Brad Hokanson (Ph.D. ’00)

Brad Hokanson (Ph.D. ’00) has been elected president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). He will become president at the 2016 annual convention in Las Vegas this October. AECT is the premier international organization for educational technology, with over 2400 members world wide and affiliates in 21 countries.

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06)

Mark Falkowski (B.S. ’06) was recently announced by Columbia College as the college’s first general counsel. Falkowski will serve as a member of the college’s senior leadership team.

New U.S. Bank Stadium Features Artwork by Students Co-Taught by C&I Grad

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Jenna Hubert and Andrea Greamba pose for a photo before their students’ artwork on display in the new Vikings stadium.

Andrea Greamba, who graduated in 2014 with an M.Ed. in Arts in Education, was part of the opening celebration at the new U.S. Bank Stadium featuring artwork from Minnesota natives. Greamba co-lead an art project as a student-teacher with Jenna Hubert of Waite Park Community School in Minneapolis. The project the students created was chosen as part of the permanent collection for the new stadium out of over 1,100 entries.

“I have always been impressed with the quality of art student-teachers that I receive from the U,” says Visual Specialist Hubert. “I tell everyone I know, that I will only take them if they are from the U of M.” Hubert has been working with the Department of Curriculum & Instruction’s Teacher Education program for several years and has had 15 students in the M.Ed. program teach in her classroom.

The co-teaching model is a unique aspect of the graduate teaching program that offers hands-on teaching and classroom experience designed to prepare graduates to hit the ground running once they receive their teaching license. Teacher candidates are paired with experienced, practicing teachers in the Twin Cities metro where they can put their coursework into action.

Well prepared by her classroom experience at Waite Elementary, Greamba has since joined Sky Oaks Elementary in Burnsville as an art teacher.

To learn more about the M.Ed.—Initial Licensure program in Arts in Education or other teacher licensure programs visit the Curriculum & Instruction department website. The priority deadline to apply for 2017 is December 15, 2016.

C&I Graduate Triples Elementary Test Scores in One Year, Closes Achievement Gap

Bonnie Laabs
Courtesy of City Pages

Reporter Susan Du of City Pages recently reported that after just one year as the science teacher in struggling Hamline Elementary school, Bonnie Laabs raised the science proficiency rate from 17 percent to 61 percent, meeting the statewide average. According to Jodie Wilson, Hamline’s testing coordinator, this tremendous jump is “extremely unheard of” in St. Paul Schools.

Laabs uses a combination of extra-academic advice and mentoring, along with creative explanations of difficult science terminology with the help of classroom pets to help students overcome hurdles in scientific understanding.

She is also open about her own past in which she struggled with abuse at an early age, spent time in foster care, and got thrown out of school. She uses her redemption through education as an example to her students, allowing them to open up about their own fears and problems. Laabs also tells her story to underscore the importance of completing homework and getting a good education.

Bonnie Laabs graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on family, youth, and community. To read the entire article visit the CityPages website.

Ruggiero named Head of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission

angela-ruggieroAngela Ruggiero, M.Ed., 2011 School of Kinesiology Sport Management alumna, has been named Head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. In an announcement from the IOC, Ruggiero’s experience was noted saying, “[Ruggiero] is a former ice hockey player who has played more games for Team USA than any other man or woman.”

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)

Erin Pepelnjak (M.Ed. ’07)  is an instructor in the Department of Education at UMD and am the program coordinator for the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) in the department.