Home » University of Kansas » Around the World: Reflections of the First Year Doctoral Program

Around the World: Reflections of the First Year Doctoral Program

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Sorcha Hyland
Lara Mann
Deb Griswold
Elizabeth Kozleski

“The mission of the doctoral program in special education at KU is to prepare civically-committed scholars who, through rigorous and relevant research and transformational interventions, address significant educational and social problems in ways that advance education, social policy, research, care giving and public service to enhance the quality of life of persons of all ages with (dis)abilities and their families.”

The doctoral program poses new challenges, experiences, and opportunities for students.  The editors of Hawk Hopes asked the 2014-2015 cohort members to reflect on their first year in the program.  Cohort members provided five words that described their experience as well as a short reflection of something memorable about the first year.  Enjoy this inside look at the KU Special Education Doctoral Program.  Good luck to the 2014-2015 Cohort as they enter their second year!

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Newt Piper:

I would like to say how appreciative I am for the fantastic cohort that I was placed with. In an ever-more connected world, our challenge as a society is to recognize the meeting of difference as a rich opportunity to embrace rather than a barrier to overcome. I feel we’ve accomplished that as a cohort, with individuals of diverse culture, experience, knowledge and interest growing into something more than we otherwise would have had access to becoming on our own.

Hatice Uyanik

Challenging, delightful and eye-opening conversations, hanging out with cohort to discuss particular pieces for classes to raise diverse voices on that piece, broadening my horizons for the seeing the big picture of SPED, collaborating with not just with other students, but also with other professors in/outside of the field/country, and increasing the span of my challenge with myself everyday to make my current dreams my future reality. Everyday with this amazing cohort is a new adventure for new learning.

Hailey Love

One of the most memorable experiences during my first year was the first dinner we had as a cohort. We were a very large group at the otherwise fairly empty Red Pepper Restaurant. Those who are from China ordered authentic dishes for us, and it was a delicious reminder of how many countries and cultures our cohort represents. However, more importantly, it was a night filled with laughter and bonding, and it was the first time I felt like I was a part of a community here. It was incredibly reassuring to realize that I had new friends to lean on and learn from, especially new friends from all over the world who could tell me and show me their unique backgrounds and perspectives. It was a great night, and the first of many times that I’ve felt the strong support our cohort has for each other, which has been particularly meaningful as we’ve all felt challenged and have grown this year. I am excited for more cohort gatherings and opportunities to learn and grow with each other!

Becca Magario

The program has been so fulfilling and at the same time a challenge, in many senses. In this rollercoaster of emotions and knowledge, our cohort aimed to gain the necessary knowledge to be able to be the motivator of changes for a better inclusive and fair world. In this journey, we learn from each other, from all interactions and experiences. We teach, we cry, learn and we are reborn from it.

Pearl Xie

We are different, but we are alike in many ways. We are from different background while we hold a similar professional goal full of passion and ambition. We love what we have achieved and what we are pursuing in our career path. We believe we can take the lead in transforming the educational system worldwide.

Tami Handy

My life in this past year has changed in so many ways that I don’t even recognize the girl who did not know what a conceptual framework was and now I cant talk to my mother without one! I also realized that this Ph.D. journey looks and feels different to many of us, in many ways we’ve made it our own walk toward the places we’ll go. And oh the places we’ll go! Finally, I recognize that the Ph.D. is only another beginning, not an end.

Gigi Zhe An

The first year experience is definitely unforgettable. I remembered re-reading my teaching statement at the end of the spring semester and wondering what I wrote several months ago! That was when I realized how much I have learned and what “positive reinforcement” means. Thank you very much to every faculty and every colleague, for giving me the “third space” to grow and keeping me motivated!

Sorcha Hyland:

I greatly enjoy being part of this “Classroom of the World,” thanks in part to the United States, but primarily to the expansive and globally inclusive thinking of the KU Department of Special Education.

Mariche Llanto

My first year experience definitely makes me not want to sleep, so much that I foraged the web for “what not to eat to stay awake”… and I learned that dark chocolate, which I thought would make a night owl out of me, in fact sets me off to my Zzzzz mode. Now, I know better, both about the dark chocolate and the need for a good sleep!

Sylvia Nyegenye

Reading widely is the key to quality and insightful thinking. Writing mmmmhhh, has just began…


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