Mowana is the Setswana word for baobab tree. The massive trunk of this tree gives way to what appear as a burst of roots, reaching toward the sky. Growing slowly but steadily, this wondrously bizarre tree survives, and thrives, in the harshest of conditions. I have stood in cracked deserts in Botswana where waves of scorching heat seem to be the only possible movement, and marveled at these mowana trees. They draw in whatever water and nutrients are available and turn them – against all odds – into something solid on which surrounding life depends.
The mowana tree provides for me a metaphor for the arc of my work, as I seek to understand the ways in which education can provide pathways to strong communities even in the midst of conflict. The Mowana Lab Group is a team of my doctoral students and postdocs, whose work also reflects this resilient, creative, and community-building tree.
Elizabeth Adelman Doctoral Student, 2011- firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth has over ten years of experience working in international education and development throughout Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East. She has considerable expertise in the areas of early grade literacy, education in crisis and conflict settings, and research design and implementation. Elizabeth’s current research is focused on documenting the experience of teachers working in conflict-affected settings and exploring how these key actors understand their educational, emotional and social obligations towards their students.
Pierre de Galbert Doctoral Student, 2013- email@example.com
Pierre is interested in language of instruction policies in multilingual contexts. His focus is on psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic factors that influence the choice of language in formal education system, specifically how parents and teachers influence policy implementation. Prior to joining the research doctorate program, Pierre worked for more than ten years in education, including teaching, local language materials development, training, data collection & analysis and project management.
Zuhra Faizi Doctoral Student, 2013- firstname.lastname@example.org
Zuhra’s research centers on nonformal education in developing and conflict-affected contexts and the extent to which it increases educational access and quality for marginalized populations. She is particularly interested in community-based schools in rural Afghanistan. Beginning as local initiatives in the 1940s, these schools have shown to be effective in addressing community needs and concerns, which in turn have attracted international supporters. Her research is currently considering whether community-based schools are sustainable with the involvement of external actors or if there are other more sustainable options.
Celia Reddick Doctoral Student, 2015- email@example.com
Celia is a second year doctoral student interested in language of instruction policies in settings affected by conflict, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining HGSE, Celia worked as the Curriculum and Training Specialist for Partners In Health in Rwanda. She also spent a year in western Uganda as a teacher trainer with Voluntary Services Overseas, and before that worked with new arrivals to the U.S. as a 9th and 10th grade English as a Second Language teacher in New York City
Deepa Vasudevan Doctoral Student, 2012- firstname.lastname@example.org
Deepa is broadly interested in school-community relationships and out-of-school learning. She is currently studying how youth workers understand their occupational identities and practices in community-based nonprofits as well as the extracurricular experiences of undocumented youth. As an advocate for vibrant community programs, Deepa currently serves on the board of Seybert Foundation, which supports Philadelphia organizations serving children and youth. She is the former chair of the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, a program that introduces teens to boat building, sailing, and the ecology of local waterways.
Timothy P. Williams, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015- email@example.com
Tim is a childhood scholar who draws upon the disciplinary perspective of anthropology and the methods of ethnography to undertake political-economic and socio-cultural analyses into the ways development shapes children's lives. In 2015, Tim completed his Ph.D. in international development from the University of Bath.
His dissertation focused on children's education in Rwanda