Faculty Wide Programs Student Profiles

Lia Cuccurullo

Lia Cuccurullo is a Master of Education student in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Since completing her BEd from the University of Victoria in 2009, she has taught kindergarten and pre-kindergarten overseas in Australia, the UAE, and Italy. Teaching in the early years has always been her passion, which brought her to UBC, where there is a rich graduate ECE program. During her time abroad she became interested in emergent literacy practices. Her capstone project is centered on the idea of developing and implementing emergent literacy strategies in early childhood centres from a non-traditional approach. Her focus is on how to best implement literacy practices from a multimodality perspective, and supporting parent involvement in their children’s early literacy development. After UBC she plans to stay in Vancouver, and return to classroom teaching full-time, where she loves to be.

Noan Fesnoux
Noan Fesnoux is a graduate student in the Masters of Educational Technology program. Born in France, he has traveled extensively throughout life and is now living and working in Bali, Indonesia. Noan is employed at Green School, and teaches Green Studies. He is a strong advocate of experiential learning, and loves to embed technology into all classes, even those predominantly taught in nature. Using technology as a platform to create more human centered learning experiences interests him greatly. After graduating from UBC, he hopes to use his experience and skills to continue to develop more adaptive and authentic schools.

Mariel Gómez
Mariel Gómez is an MA student in Early Childhood Education. Prior to UBC she worked over 3 years doing research at the Center for Advanced Research in Education of the University of Chile and the Child Development and Psychosocial Stimulation Studies Center of Chile. During this time, she became fully aware of the critical role that early education plays in human development. It was the discovery of her passion for improving the quality of early childhood education in her country that brought her to UBC. Her research interests are related to the different ways early education can make it possible for children to develop their potential in the multiple dimensions that influence them as human beings: physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual. Currently, the focus of her academic research is early childhood teacher education as one of the critical factors influencing the quality of education offered to young children.

Marc Higgins
Marc Higgins is a PhD candidate within the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry who came to UBC as an extension of a longstanding involvement with, in, and across the fields of Indigenous education, science education, and media-technology education. As an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, Marc’s current research project works within and against the notion that schools develop and deliver curriculum and pedagogy that is placeless by (re)considering education as always already situated within place. His research (re)considers the “inside” of schools as placed to allow for an examination of the often invisible and unquestioned operation of Euro-centrism that is (re)produced through schools’ material-discursive properties. In order to explore how schools as placed (i.e., both inside and outside) are entangled within the production of the frames through which we come to knowing and being within the world, this project utilizes photography-assisted digital comic book creation.

Diana Ihnatovych
Diana Ihnatovych is a PhD student in Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education. Her academic career in music performance and pedagogy, choreography, and literature, combined with her passion for nature, sustainability, holistic medicine and nutrition led her to pursue inter-disciplinary research in music and sustainability. Volunteering with the UBC Intergenerational Landed Learning on the Farm and witnessing the challenges that children experience in relation to nature became the driving force behind her research question: ‘How will the integration of music into elementary environmental education enhance the process of learning about nature and sustainable living, and influence students’ perceptions and attitudes toward our planet’s eco-system?’ Examining the connections between music and nature to advance practices in environmental education through the lenses of a/r/tography and autoethnography will facilitate exploration and discovery of new connections and prospects between music and nature.

Nidal Khalifeh
Nidal Khalifeh is a graduate student in the Masters of Educational Technology (MET) program. He graduated from McGill University with an IT background in 2004 to join his family business in Jordan. A few years later, he found himself building hardware and software to serve the educational sector. Needing to know more about the intersection of education and technology, he signed up for the MET at UBC. His goal is to build the next learning management platform for K-12 schools using his experience and education. The learning platform is already in paid beta and is being used by 10,000 students in 4 countries. Nidal plans to continue to learn in order to help improve learning for the next generation, to leave his footprint in ways that improve life.

Joseph Kyser
Joseph Kyser is a PhD student in the Cross Faculty Inquiry in Education program. He is originally from the US where he earned a BSc in Education, an MSc in Educational Technology, and a Master of Divinity. He taught courses related to using technology within educational contexts for 3 years at a regional university. During this time, he experienced many of the growing pains new teachers face that his educational training did not prepare him for, which led him to seek answers to these challenges. His research interests include curriculum theory and development, interdisciplinary methodologies, queer theory, technology, spirituality and theology. His research attempts to address issues of burn out, cynicism, and feeling overwhelmed within the teaching profession by examining the inner life of teachers. Through interdisciplinary work, he believes that the curriculum itself has the potential of being a source that is life-giving and empowering for both teacher and student.

Cindy Lau
Cindy Lau is a PhD student in the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education. Her research background is in early childhood education, literacy development, moral education in middle school, and youths’ resiliency. She has been involved with various academic research and presented in conferences around the globe. She characterizes herself as a passionate educator interested in children and family literacy, in approaches to early childhood education, and in children’s holistic development. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the concept of literacy, she draws on socio-ecological and sociocultural paradigms, and from post-structural points of view. She is strongly committed to the teaching profession and well equipped with theoretical and pedagogical knowledge of various evidence-based approaches that accommodate the diverse needs of teachers and students.

Dominic Maggiolo
Dominic Maggiolo is a graduate student in the Masters of Educational Technology program. He is currently teaching at Henry Hudson Elementary, where he practices innovative technological pedagogy. He is interested in creative and new approaches to teaching, including the ethics of play, cyberculture, and the use of gaming mechanics in the classroom. Dominic completed his BA in Geography at Laurentian University, Ontario, and a BEd at the University of Ottawa. He has worked as a Researcher and Environmental Analyst for various agencies, conducting environmental assessments, and aboriginal consultations. Notably, Dominic has collaborated on various pedagogical projects, including writing curriculum for a Maasai girls school in Tanzania. Dominic loves using games in the classroom and is an avid gamer. He has made gameplay a focal point in his career and research.

Ali McCannell
Ali McCannell is a Master of Arts student in Early Childhood Education. Her research centers primarily on relationships in early childhood teacher education; how they are framed, valued, assessed, and taught; relationships between students, teachers and students, teachers and teachers, teachers and families and the greater community. She is interested in the social pedagogy movement that is a strong tradition in Scandinavian countries, and hopes to bring some of that care and attention to the school system here in BC. She hopes to continue this research and reform teacher education to place a stronger emphasis on relationship development and conflict management.

Shelley Moore
Shelley Moore is a PhD student in the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education. Her research seeks to understand the learning contributions of students with developmental disabilities in inclusive educational settings. Drawing from the fields of special education, curriculum, literacy, technology and teacher professional development, she hopes to facilitate capacity building in classrooms, schools and districts to support further curricular access to students with the most significant learning challenges, but also create more awareness about how these individuals support the community of learning as a whole. She collaborates and consults with school districts around the province, along with contributing to national and international conferences. Shelley completed her undergrad at the University of Alberta, her master’s at SFU and is currently working with co-supervisors Dr. Deborah Butler and Dr. Leyton Schnellert here at UBC.

Miriam Orkar
Miriam Orkar is a PhD candidate in Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education. Miriam holds a Diploma in Computing Education and an MA in Education also from UBC. Her Masters studies centred on Kant’s notion of self-respect and respect for persons, which nourished her already existing interest in how peace can be sustained in a diverse moral community through the ethics of justice and care. Prior to UBC Miriam worked as a Chemistry teacher in the College of Education Katsina-Ala, Benue state of Nigeria where she initiated a project with youths in her neighbourhood called NeboReach Youth Empowerment Project (NYEP) with the intent to promote College access among youths from economically disadvantaged families. Miriam is currently researching the effectiveness of the NYEP through the lenses of the youth participants and their families. After UBC, Miriam hopes to work on educational development in a community setting or as a science teacher in the school system.