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TRIO Teacher Prep Students Attend Globalization Conference

Eight TRIO Teacher Preparation Program participants attended the 13th Annual International Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference held February 15-17 in Airway Heights, WA. The conference, sponsored by the College of Education and the Office of Equity and Diversity at Washington State University addressed the theme Living With(in) Borders: Immigration, Indigeneity, and Education.

During the two day conference participants had the opportunity to hear a number of presentations given by researchers, professors and graduate students that explored ways to understand, talk and act productively to effect social justice in our communities and schools.

Students were asked to reflect on their experience and share their thoughts on the conference. A couple of the students shared that at first they were nervous about attending. Jessie wrote “although at times an academic conference can be somewhat intimidating for an undergraduate student, [participating] forced me to go beyond my comfort zone by asking questions, discussing important issues and acknowledging a variety of different viewpoints… the presenters challenged me to first understand my own positionality (the privileges I have due to my identity) and then use that understanding to shape how I instruct students who will have different identities than myself.”

TRIO Teacher Prep students hard at work on a project during the conference
TRIO Teacher Prep students hard at work on a project during the conference

The conference was also a great opportunity to meet and get to know some of their peers in the TRiO Teacher Prep Program. Brittany commented that the opportunity allowed her to make connections with seven other TRIO Teacher Preparation Program pre-service teachers and that while their educational goals were diverse, “the bond of discussing education, history, and teacher resources kept [them] entertained and connected throughout the conference.” Tania also said “I would recommend everyone to make the effort to take part in an educational conference. At first I was very hesitant on going because I didn’t personally know anyone. Now, I have made 7 new lifelong friends.”

An important aspect of attending the conference was being able to network with faculty and graduate students from other universities and colleges. Hearing presentations by students who are currently pursuing Masters or PhD degrees was eye opening because it motivated some of the students to consider pursuing post baccalaureate degrees. They also felt empowered and better prepared to effect change. Most beneficial, where the hands-on workshops which gave them access to tools to help explore the difficult topics that were covered during the conference. Here are their thoughts:

“I wish that all preservice teachers had the opportunity to attend a conference at least once during the undergraduate career. In Washington I was able to network with professors, teachers and other university students. We could discuss ideas, exchange contact information and learn from one another. I also realized that I have options as an education student. I can go straight into the classroom, attend graduate school or even enter a teaching program abroad… Knowing that there are options was a very powerful realization for me, and I can thank this conference for that.” – Jessie

“It was an incredible experience. I learned a great deal and made lots of connections. I found many interesting sessions and even had issues picking just one during a certain time. I enjoyed the speakers and could feel the passion they had…I left the conference with an attitude of change. I learned the impact I can make in a student’s life doesn’t end in a classroom but starts here.”- Alexandra

“This opportunity has given me renewed inspiration and equipped me with innovative ideas on how to create an inclusive environment in my future classrooms post-graduation. This conference will have me reflecting for some time about layers of identity, positionality, the politics of identity and how these topics are intricately woven throughout the public school experience.”- Brittany