Jane Lo, Ph.D., was always a strong supporter of the former Office of Minority Recruitment and Retention (OMRR) and a recognized student at the College of Education. We invited Jane to talk about her personal and academic experience at the College of Education, and as an ally of the former office, now Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion (OSDI).
Dr. Jane Lo, thank you for accepting our invitation to talk about your experiences at the College of Education. For everybody to get to know you, why don’t you tell us about the program in which you studied, your area of interest, and who were your advisors?
While at UW, I studied under Dr. Walter Parker in the area of Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Social Studies Education. My work centered on civic education broadly, and revamping a high school AP government course specifically. During my time there, I had the privilege of working with many wonderful mentors and advisors, with Drs. Susan Nolen, Debbie Kerdeman, and Liz Sanders serving on my dissertation committee.
Can you tell us what you are you doing right now post-graduation?
Currently, I am Assistant Professor of Social Science Education in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University. My research focuses on the political engagement of youth of color and social studies curriculum development, where I am studying the impact of a 7th grade civics course on student’ understanding of politics. I also teach undergraduate courses in social studies methods and graduate courses in current trends and issues in education.
What a great journey you’ve taken on so far. And can you tell us how did the CoE prepare you in your current and/or future professional career?
My experiences at UW really provided on-the-job training for what I do now as an Assistant Professor. Besides working with Dr. Parker, I also had the privilege of apprenticing under other notable scholars in a large research project, which really helped me understand how to do good research. Through my coursework and my research work, I had opportunities to watch amazing scholars at work, and in turn, I was able to practice how I would do my own work. My experience at UW gave me the skills to examine and investigate things that interested me, and it also showed me the importance of sharing the things I learn with the larger community through teaching and writing.
What was your experience being a student of color, international standing, or any other marginalized group?
As a queer woman of color, my time at UW was a time of exploration and understanding. My experiences at UW really broadened my perspective around the struggles faced by various marginalized groups. Even as a member of marginalized groups, I had much to learn about what diversity, equity, and justice meant for others. UW gave me an opportunity to explore these questions in a supportive atmosphere with a truly diverse group of peers and colleagues. These peers and colleagues not only became friends for life, they continue to challenge me to think more deeply about what it means to do educational research that promote diversity, equity, and justice.
Why is the CoE a good place for student of color, international standing, or any other marginalized group?
I truly believe the CoE supports a diverse student population and different perspectives. This means conflicts may arise and not everyone will always agree, but I believe this is all a part of the democratic dialogue that encourages a welcoming, open, and diverse setting for learning. These pluralistic differences and welcoming spaces helped support and challenge my own thinking when I was a student, and I hope it will continue to challenge other students for many years to come.
Thank you very much for your time and for talking with us today. We are sure the entire community will appreciate your insights as a former student at the CoE.