As a Ph.D. candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Lois Harmon has excelled during her time at UC Santa Barbara. She first enjoyed a glimpse into life at UCSB while visiting from Florida as part of a summer scholars research program. She enjoyed her time at UCSB so much that she decided to take her studies to the next level. Since arriving, she has excelled in her research and in building a community by actively engaging with the campus, faculty and students.
During her time on campus, Lois became the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship president, a role that positioned her to help foster communities. One of her goals was to plan a program that would connect people of Christian faith and be open to everyone on campus. She called this “The Takeover.” It became so successful that she turned the program into a monthly event that takes place at lunchtime in Storke Plaza.
In fact, one of her favorite memories at UCSB was planning the second Takeover. Lois said it was her favorite because “there was time to market it and get it out to the community, and so many people from diverse backgrounds and organizations attended.” She continued: “We were uniting the community on a positive note as friends came together and had a great time.” This community building resonated with her and she said it “really represents UCSB. It is a community-oriented place and that is what I’ll miss most when I leave.”
Lois also enjoyed being on the executive board of the Black Graduate Student Association, where she helped inaugurate a monthly research colloquium in which, “faculty and grad students share their research with the public to help build community around things that really matter to people,” she said.
In addition to her involvement with campus organizations, Lois was also a teaching assistant in three classes. This provided her with an opportunity to actively engage with undergraduate students. One of her favorite classes was ED 124: Research on Teaching and Learning in Sociocultural Contexts. She was also an Instructor of Record for this course, which sparked her passion for teaching in higher education.
Lois’ dissertation focuses on how teacher candidates are being prepared to support students from diverse backgrounds She is committed to fostering better advocacy and support for teachers. Lois plans to continue on into a teacher education program and teach in higher education. She will be applying for full-time faculty positions across the nation but hopes to stay in California.
Written by Bret Rodriguez