Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Transformative Education and Social Change

Committee Chairperson

Dana Morrison, PhD

Committee Member

Jason Wozniak, PhD


Growing up I was never a child that loved school. I fell in love with learning in environments that did not look or feel like classrooms. And in 2005 I learned that I had a passion for learning about pedagogy. I entered the classroom again this time as a teacher, ready to engage students in learning. What I was offered was curriculum and learning standards that left little room for experiences. Despite my efforts, and after a decade of experience, I was still baffled by the resistance to learning.

I wanted to understand this because I saw that education—when you believe in yourself—is a place of liberation and excitement. This is based on my experience as a white girl/woman whose mom and grandmother were college educated with masters degrees before they were married. I learned through critical research, however that school experience varies based on your gender, class, and race. Education in American society lacks equity and maintains the hegemonic norms of white supremacy using neoliberal polices and disenfranchising. These violent tools are systemic through institutions, structures, policies, and practices; they are systemic in American society.

Over time this oppression has obscured the identity and diminished the well-being of BIPOC communities. Transformative social emotional learning is a way to counter the hegemonic racism and empower BIPOC to seek knowledge that heals from the generational racial trauma that has disrupted the well-being and potentiality of those that have suffered.