We are thrilled to be collaborating with six Fellows! Please learn more about each of them below – we will update with contact information as they are onboarded!
Dr. Salvador Huitzilopochtli
I earned my PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz. My dissertation, “Multilingual Students’ Arguments in Early Algebra: Writing, Refining, and Revising Through Conferencing,” examined how multilingual students verbally revised mathematical arguments during teacher conferences. My research interests include mathematical argumentative writing and early algebra with a focus on fostering equitable outcomes for all students. I earned master’s degrees in Education from UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz and my research is informed by ten years of experience as a middle-school mathematics teacher and teacher-leader in culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse schools in the East Bay Area. My approach to teacher education emphasizes the roles of language, literacy, and culture in learning mathematics.
My interest in community-engaged research focuses on “windows and mirrors” that teachers and students can use to realize the kind of instructional experiences that simultaneously cultivate positive mathematics identities in students and teacher noticing of the cultural, linguistic, and mathematical strengths that students bring to the classroom. This work is motivated by my experiences in the Aztec Dance circles—a Mexican folkloric dance tradition that serves as cultural maintenance and epistemology.
Dr. Kehli Henry
My father is an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe of Minnesota, and I was raised bi-culturally in Michigan to be a proud Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe woman).
My graduate studies in MSU’s Anthropology Department broadly focused on health and wellness in contemporary American Indian communities. My dissertation (2019) was developed with an American Indian Tribe in the U.S. in accordance with tenets of ethnographic, community-based, and Indigenous research methodologies, and documented the ways in which community members expressed and enacted survivance in the face of historical trauma and ongoing coloniality related to drug use and related services and institutions.
I also worked for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan for much of my adult life, primarily in education and related roles including as a Summer Youth Work Coordinator, Teaching Assistant, Advocate for American Indian students in public schools, Intern at the Ziibiwing Cultural Center, Grants Analyst, and Data Governance Board member. I most recently served as Coordinator for Project AWARE, a 5-year, 9-million-dollar SAMHSA grant to increase awareness of youth mental health needs, increase access to services, and implement trauma-informed school best-practices.
As a researcher with Ed PaCER I hope to further community-driven research and capacity building within Tribal communities. I am interested in research centered on land-based STEM curriculum rooted in Indigenous knowledge, data sovereignty, and incorporation and impacts of Traditional Knowledge in STEM education, especially on student success, resiliency, and sense of belonging.
Dr. Carolina Michel
I am an Earth scientist and educator from Colombia, born and raised in Bogotá, ancestral territories of the Chibcha. My research interests are culturally based geological knowledge and the relationships between peoples and Earth systems, including the impacts of geologic materials on health. I have a Ph.D. in Geology from Arizona State University. I have been an Aztec danzante since 2004. I understand danza (Aztec dancing) as a way of knowing, a way of living, and a powerful form of advocacy that can educate the public and build solidarity among Indigenous Nations.
I am excited to be a STEM+ Ed-PaCER fellow! My main goals are to engage in multi-disciplinary efforts and ethical partnerships with Indigenous communities around STEM education topics, emphasizing on our Earthy system-human relationships.
Dr. Lili Yan
I am a learning sciences researcher from Southeastern China. I am broadly interested in research at the intersections of culture, technology, and learning with an emphasis on equity and social justice. In my work, I share deep roots in design-based and community-based research as well as research-practice partnership. I examine how people learn through interacting with and across natural, cultural, and technology-supported environments, which connects a range of interdisciplinary research across learning sciences, STEM education, and learning design. I completed my PhD in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences from Utah State University in Spring 2023. For my dissertation, I worked alongside a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, educators, and designers with the shared goal of designing culturally centered learning environments for sixth graders. In this multiple paper dissertation, I examine the development of sixth graders’ relationship with culture, the role of multimedia technology in mediating their relationship with culture, and the ways in which we can decenter Western-oriented research discourse on cultural learning and development. Prior to moving to the U.S., I have been teaching English in China for more than six years. I am excited to continue the exploration of culturally centered STEM through learning and co-constructing community-based stories in this collective journey.
Dr. Lara Jacobs
I am a Citizen of Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MVSKOKE) and have Choctaw heritage. I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Recreation Ecology at Oregon State University. My research focuses on understanding the pathogenic and ecological impacts of outdoor recreation in parks and protected areas that Indigenous Peoples use for subsistence and cultural purposes. I hold an Environmental Studies MA from Prescott College, with a concentration in Environmental Education, Conservation Science, and Sustainability; a certificate from the University of Toronto in GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization; and a BS in Women Studies from Oregon State University. I have instructed graduate and undergraduate courses for over eight years and have worked on multi-disciplinary research projects, including those focused on Traditional Ecological Knowledge, endangered plant species, and data governance. My professional background includes directing nonprofit and Tribal Governmental programs.
While at MSU, I look forward to working with Indigenous Nations and communities to help them meet their STEM-education objectives through collaborative and participatory methods. As a decolonial scholar, those objectives must be derived from Indigenous community leadership. I am hopeful that this program will deepen my current Tribal relations and bring me into new relations with other Indigenous Peoples in ways that match each communities’ needs and desires for STEM-based liberation.
Dr Kriya Issa A. Velasco
I grew up in Baguio City, Philippines, homelands of the Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Iyaplay, Bontoc, and Karao peoples. After migrating to the Americas, attending community college, and almost finishing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, an “identity crisis” led me to the social sciences and humanities and eventually a PhD in culturally sustaining education from the University of Washington. My research explores how diasporic Filipinxs are imagining and demonstrating their commitments to interethnic notions of justice, including Land Back, Decolonization, environmental justice, and labor movements. I work mostly with undergraduate students in theorizing our roles and commitments as “settlers of color” in the Americas and in examining how our pursuit of better futures may be made commensurate with justice for Indigenous Peoples. Nowadays, I am caught up in wondering how we can design curricula and pedagogies for students to consider their liberation as co-constitutive with everyone else’s liberation.
I am also interested in how community engagement could be an essential part of higher education rather than an auxiliary. I aspire for community engaged research and community engaged courses to be standard in universities, with the hope that our communities themselves become recognized and build greater capacities for culturally sustaining lifeways and learning. I look forward to working with the STEM Ed PaCER team in developing these capacities in collaboration with Native communities.