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Student Profiles

Ph.D. Students

Eulogio Alejandre

Eulogio Alejandre

Hometown: Ogden, Utah

Degree: B.A. in Secondary Education, M.S. in Language Acquisition

Research Interests: Education Equity, Undocumented Students' Access to Education, Language Acquisition, and Dual Immersion Language Education.

Hobbies Interests: Hiking, Sports, specifically soccer and football

Favorite Quote: All words have the 'taste' of a profession, a genre, a tendency, a party, a particular work, a particular person, a generation, an age group, the day, and hour. Each word tastes of the context and contexts in which it has lived its socially charged life... Bakhtin 1981:293

Josephine Amoakoh

Josephine Amoakoh

Hometown: Ghana, West Africa

Degree: M.Ed. Education, Culture & Society

Research Interests: As an African from a multilingual society with over 45 dialects, I am highly interested in issues related to language learning such as language ideologies and policies and how they impact the academic and social lives of students from diverse background. I am also interested in the assessment of English language learners in mainstream classrooms and have been the instructor for ECS 5645/6645 (Assessment of Linguistically Diverse Population) for the past two years. 

Hobbies/Interests: Teaching & singing

Adrienne Andrews

Adrienne Andrews

Hometown: South Weber, UT

Degree: M.S. Women's Studies; M.A Political Science

Research Interests: social justice movements and activity; leveraging institutions of higher learning to cultivate community through education; building community through civic engagement, cross-cultural conflict resolution and mediation; community development through service learning and so much more.

Hobbies/Interests: I love to create - quilting, knitting, spinning wool, writing, paper crafting and the list goes on. I love to travel - I'm at 47 countries and counting. I believe in service work, listening and creating spaces for critical conversations. I also love to spend time with my partner and playing Cribbage.

Interesting fact: I am bionic - I have a titanium plate and four screws holding up my head, this means that I am lots of fun at the airport! I climbed to the Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. I lived in a convent for a year and was not a novice or a Catholic.  

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Arturo Canela 

Hometown: San Diego, California

Research Interests: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion practices/services in Higher Ed &/or the workplace.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy traveling to new countries, and being introduced to different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I am also a boxing enthusiast!

Favorite Quote: My favorite quote was inculcated by my late grandfather in Spanish: “ANIMO” – translates to performing a task fully immersed in spirit with valor and courage -- always giving 100% effort.

Augustin Diaz

Augustin Diaz

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Research Interests: - Critical Rhetoric and Critical Race Theory, Pacific Islander and Latin@/Chican@ youth and family educational decision-making, 12-16 pipeline; higher-education, School-community-family partnerships, storytelling

Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family; Game of thrones; reading Afro-Latino literature, Indigenous histories, and poetry--globs of it; Ancient military history fan; Age of Empires game fanatic; Immigration activism...and lately really interested in documenting the relationships between Pacific Islander and Latin@/Chican@ youth.

Favorite Quote: By Drey Vazquez (ECS Alumni) "I'm going to write an open letter to my hair, and apologize for the many times I complained about it, and the many times my parents tried to tame it…they didn't know better. And I'm going to try to explain to it that yes, womyn love it, and yes everyone wants to touch it, but that it also makes people uncomfortable. That it scares people. That it scares people because in it you can find traces of my mother, and her grandmother, and all the womyn before that. That in this map you can outline a genealogy all the way back to that muxer that was enslaved, brought to the center of the world, beaten and sold. A womxn so powerful, they had to make sure we never knew who she was."


Kona Eldredge

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Undergraduate: University of Utah

Major: Linguistics (TESOL Certificate) & B.A. International Studies

Research Interests: I have lived in two different countries and been exposed to two different languages and cultures. For this reason, I have naturally become interested in bilingual. biliteracy, and bicultural education. As an immigrant myself and English teacher for immigrants (mostly refugees), I am highly interested in language and culture education for immigrants as well.

Interesting Fact: Used to sing in a Jazz band.

ivy farguheson

Ivy Patricia Farguheson

Hometown: Lynn, Massachusetts

Research Interests: Role of schools on racial and ethnic identity formation of young immigrants and first- and second- generation Americans; identity formation and schools

Hobbies/Interests: Running (especially marathons), watching football, playing basketball, talking politics, yoga

Favorite quote: Do your job. - Bill Belichick

Juan Carlos Fernandez

Juan Carlos Fernandez

Hometown: Madrid (Spain)

Previous Education: History Major; Art History Master’s degree

Research Interests: I am interested in gaining a better understanding of the racial ideologies at play in education, especially in Spanish-English bilingual programs. More specifically, I would like to comprehend the role of colonial epistemologies as an indicator as to whom we privilege in education.

Hobbies/Interests: Watching movies with my family, snowshoeing, reading and traveling.

Favorite quote: If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
(From If by R. Kipling)

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Melissa Flores

Hometown: Provo, Utah

Research: Racial battle fatigue; critical race theory

Hobbies/Interests: Movies, traveling, reading, and hanging out with my family

Elizabeth Gallagher

Elizabeth Gallagher

Hometown: Westboro, Massachusetts

Research Interests: Spanish Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Programs, Latinx/Chicanx topics in education, and Bilingualism

Hobbies/Interests: I love to hike, mountain bike and snowshoe with my husband and two chocolate Labradors, and perform in musical theater.

Favorite Quote:  

"The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its' presence. And of course, the greatest challenge (and gift) is to see the sacred in each other." –Alma Luz Villanueva

Jake Jobe

Jacob Jobe

Hometown: Missoula, Montana

Research Interests: Postcolonial and Neocolonial theories, Third Space Theory and applications in the classroom, English Learners and immigrant students in content-area classrooms, Native American students in secondary classrooms. 

Hobbies/Interests: Skiing, backpacking, playing and coaching soccer, trail running and marathons, Real Salt Lake fan, literature and poetry.

Jimmy Kendall

Jimmy Kendall

Hometown: Lafayette, CA
Research Interests: Pedagogies of consumption, neoliberal educational reform, social justice studies, critical race theory, queer/radical pedagogy, whiteness pedagogy, performativity, rhetorics of destabilization and resistance, culture jamming.

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, writing, teaching, biking, fishing, skiing, finding time to explore the great outdoors, digging for good vinyl, music and more music. 

Taylor Knuth

Taylor Knuth

Hometown: Provo, Utah

Previous Education: B.A. Musical Theatre, Weber State University, M.A. Arts Administration, Southern Utah University

Research Interests: Ask me again next year! haha

Hobbies/Interests: Performing Arts, Historic Architecture, Community Advocacy and Engagement.

Interesting Fact: By the age of 25, I had both hips replaced!

Ashley Seitz-Kramer

Ashley Seitz Kramer

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Degree: M.A. English, M.F.A. Writing

Research Interests: Literacy studies and L2 learning, writing/center pedagogy, the creative arts, narrative theory, feminist studies, equality and diversity in higher education, community engagement/advocacy

Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, biking, camping, reading, writing poetry and fiction, loving and protecting animals, volunteering, all things epistolary

Interesting Fact: My first full-length book of poetry, Museum of Distance, won the Zone 3 Press First Book Award and comes out in September 2015. I’ve taught college English/writing courses for over a decade and have worked in college administration for over 6 years.

Picture of Teresa Martinez

Teresa Martinez 

Hometown: West Jordan, Utah

Research interests: Equity work in school policies, active citizenship and social justice, culturally responsive pedagogy

Hobbies/interests:  Camping, fishing, pickleball, family time, hanging out with my dog, fall weather, traveling

Interesting fact: I am a former NCAA student-athlete. I played soccer for Weber State University.

John Murphy

John Murphy

Hometown: I am originally from Rye, New York but have lived in Salt Lake City, UT since 2015.

Previous Education: B.A. English, University of Utah, M.A. English Education, New York University

Research Interests: Education and Power, Language and Power, Critical Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies

Hobbies/Interests: Skiing, Hiking, Drumming

Interesting Fact: I am a drumset musician in my free time

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Rosie Ojeda

Hometown: Nipomo, CA

Research Interests:  Indigeneity in education, decolonization, and Indigenous/ancestral language reclamation. She previously worked as an English Language Fellow (a U.S. Department of State Program) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

 Hobbies: She enjoys traveling and paddle boarding. 

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Nicole Wilson Steffes

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

Hometown: Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City, Utah

Education: BA English at University of Puget Sound, MAT in Secondary Education and MEd in TESOL at Westminster College

Research Interests: critical race spacial analysis of public high schools, history of education in Utah, restorative justice initiatives led by anti-racist educators & community collaboration in K-12 education, 

Hobbies/interests: Keeping my Australian Shepherd Ginger out of trouble, attempting to emulate episodes of Great British Bake Off, making my partner go to workout classes with me, and listening to true crime podcasts. 

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Nuo Xu 

Hometown: Anhui, China 

Degree: M.A. in Applied Linguistics, B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language 

Research Interests: bilingual education, teacher education and practice, heritage language maintenance, educational language policy and ideologies. 

Hobbies: traveling, playing tennis, watching movies 

Interesting Fact: I love music, and I am a hip-hop fan. 

Sonny Partola

Sonny Partola

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Previous Education: B.S. Humanities, University of Utah. M.A. Community Leadership, Westminster College

Research Interests: Family School Engagement

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, traveling, and hiking

Interesting Fact: I love to draw and learn about art


Ulysses Tonga'onevai

Hometown: West Valley,Ut

Degree: Master's Education

Research: Race and Sport, Sociology of Sport, Immigration and Education, Pacific Islander Education

 Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with my spouse and children, bodybuilding, football & rugby coaching, strength and agility training for youth and college athletes, research topics related to both Pacific Islander & American history, community service projects, cooking Polynesian BBQ and eating!

 Favorite Quote: "Don't forget your history, nor your destiny" Bob Marely

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Beatriz Trejo

Hometown: Sacramento, California 

Research interests: Immigration and education and Family-School Engagement 

Hobbies & Interests: I enjoy reconnecting with my culture by cooking amazing Mexican food. 

Favorite quote: “You are too bomb to be doubting yourself.” Unknown author

Evelyn Ukamaka Ezikwelu

Evelyn Ukamaka Ezikwelu

Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria in West Africa

Degree: Economics, Masters of Arts in Educational Studies

Research Interests: Racial battle fatigue; physiological, psychological, and social wellbeing in higher education; mental health and health disparities in higher education

Hobbies/interests: Travelling, dancing, music, cooking, and gardening

Fun fact: Getting down for some dance moves is a feel-good factor for me in my leisure time.

tanjerine vei

Tanjerine Vei

Hometown: South Weber, Utah 

Research Interests: Critical media literacy, identity-based curriculum, and healing in education. 

Interesting Fact: I love plants. A lot. 

Hobbies or Interests: Painting and other mixed media visual arts. 

Favorite thing about Utah: The mountains, seasons, and Utah's delightful plant life. 

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Maeve Wall

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Research Interests: Combatting white supremacy in education, teacher disciplinary practices and culturally sustaining pedagogy, the school/prison nexus, queer pedagogy

Hobbies/interests: Yoga, running, mindful and sustainable living 

Favorite quote: "If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”― Lilla Watson

Meghan Zarnetske

Meghan Zarnetske

Hometown: Guilford, Connecticut

Previous Education: B.S. Geoscience, Environmental Studies, M.S. Applied Environmental Geology, M.A. Teaching and Learning

Research Interests: Equity work in schools, de-centering whiteness, youth development, critical pedagogy

Hobbies/Interests: Playing outside, spending time with my dogs and partner, writing, seeking solace

Interesting Fact: I can't swim, I have two spleens, and I used to run ultramarathons for fun.

M.Ed. Students

Diana Chacon

Diana Chacon

Hometown: Carichi, Mexico and Memphis, Tennessee.

Research Interests: The experiences and resistance of LGBT students of color in higher education contexts, student-led protest, creative writing, and visual arts and social justice.

Hobbies/Interests: Southern home cooking, sustainable gardening, co-housing, jazz, gospel, and blues, African American literature, contemporary Latinx literature, queer literature, and Tarahumara art and language.

Interesting Fact: I am from Memphis, Tennessee, and a resident of Orange Mound, an African American neighborhood located southeast of Memphis. Orange Mound was established in 1890 and is the first city in the south to be built by and for African Americans. Memphis, Tennessee is also the birthplace of Aretha Franklin and Stax Records where artists like Johnny Taylor, Issac Hayes, and Carla Thomas recorded several albums.

kylee ehmann

Kylee Ehmann

Hometown: Ogden

Research Interests: Art education, museums

Hobbies/Interests: Listening to podcasts, reading, sewing, and baking (esp cakes!)

Favorite quote: "Out of me now my mind can pour." ~ Virginia Woolf, The Waves

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Mafile'o Fotu

Hometown: Pleasant Grove, Utah 

Education: Teaching Social Studies Composite, BYU 

Subjects taught: US History, Sociology, Psychology, Government and Citizenship 

Research Interests: Critical race theory, Multicultural Education,  Pacific Islander Studies and Indigenous Studies 

Hobbies: Rock Climbing, Canyoneering, Volleyball, Hiking, Backpacking, Snowboarding, Listening to audible books, Cooking and Baking 

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Daniel Gunderson

Hometown:  Taylorsville, Utah

Research interests: Include English Language Learning, Latinx Immigration and Education, and also history and methods of culturally-relevant history teaching.

Hobbies/Interests:  I enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, writing, and amateur photography. I'm a career-changer, seeking an M.Ed. with secondary licensure. 

Favorite quote: “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one. ”  Malcolm S. Forbes

Bonnie Hager

Bonnier Hager

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

Previous Education: B.A. Theatre, University of New Mexico

Research Interests: Critical Race Theory and Queer Theory in the theatre, decolonization, social justice and education equality.

Hobbies/Interests: Theatre, traveling, cooking, anything to do with dogs (especially my dog), watching movies (mainly documentaries)

Interesting Fact: I've dyed my hair every color except pink!

Kaimana Kahale

Kaimana Kahale

Hometown: Kualapuu, HI

Previous Education: B.A. in History at Lewis & Clark College

Research Interests: Decolonial Education, Indigenous History, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Studies, Native Identity and Athletics

Hobbies/Interests: Love going to the beach and doing anything that will get me on the move (sports, hikes, etc). Also an avid reader, gamer and Star Wars fanatic! Everything I do is for the benefit of my family, friends, and community.

Interesting Fact: I come from a small Hawaiian island that has no stop lights, freeways, malls or major fast food chains. The population is a little over 7,000 and the only business people outside of this community would recognize is a Texaco gas station.

Sydney Linderman

Sydney Linderman

Hometown: Jackson, WY

Previous Education: Bachelors of Elementary Education and Teaching English as a Second Language (Westminster College)

Research Interests: Multicultural Education, Feminist Pedagogy, Language Acquisition, Decolonization of Educational Systems

Hobbies/Interests: cooking, traveling, skiing, mountain biking, climbing

Interesting Fact: I have two cats named Finn and Gilbert

Picture of Lose Uluave Lokotui
Lose Uluave Lokotui
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Previous Education: B.S. Elementary Education, Brigham Young University
Research Interests: Pacific Islander Education and Methodologies, Critical Race Theory, Decolonial Education, Social Justice and Equity in schools
Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with my husband and daughter, Tongan Tau'olunga, Filipino dramas, traveling, cooking and trying new foods, and taking long naps.
Interesting Fact: I have 6 sisters and no brothers! Always a fun, loud time with them!
Xris Macias

Xris Macias

Hometown: Kearns, UT

Research Interests: Youth Education

Hobbies/Interests: Collecting/playing musical instruments, Brazilian Capoeira

Favorite quote: "Each one Teach one"

Lisa Molina

Lisa Molina

Hometown: SLC, Utah

Research Interests: Critical Race theory, participatory action research, and Gender and sexuality.

Hobbies/Interests: I like to dance salsa, merengue, and bachata in my spare time. I enjoy baking. I like to hike and enjoy the view of the Wasatch mountains.

Stephanie Quinn

Stephanie Quinn

Hometown: Clinton, Utah

Research Interests: Multicultural education, Indigenous education, refugee education, ESL, advocacy and activism for LGBT and underrepresented students.

Hobbies/Interests: Traveling, hiking, cooking, exercising, learning languages, spending time with family.

Favorite Quote: "Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart." - Native American Proverb


patricia robello

Patricia Robello

Hometown: Arraijan, Panama

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Ema Valverde

Hometown(s): Urbana, IL & San José, Costa Rica

Research interests: Feminist ethnography, decolonizing education, bilingual/multicultural education, sociology, immigration advocacy, and cultural philosophy

Hobbies/Interests:  Bhakti yoga, abstract psychedelic graffiti/art, reading, religious studies, and cooking for loved ones.

Favorite Quote: “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day” … “I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it…” D. F. Wallace

Last Updated: 11/23/21