“I love teaching and am passionate about issues of educational access.”
Graduate Scholarship Recipient
Dissertation Proposal Title: Fighting for an Education: Veterans’ Pathways from Combat to College
Dissertation Description: Ellen Moore’s research involves returning American combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan attempting to take advantage of the educational benefits the government provides (G.I. bill). Ellen’s dissertation “looks at intersections of military training and civilian schooling through examining the experiences of US military veterans returning to civilian colleges.” Her research will show that as the veterans re-enter civilian schools, they not only contend with issues of identity, they also encounter educational institutions that do not easily respond to them as students.
Profile: Throughout Ellen’s career she has been actively involved in social change efforts at different levels, from large-scale community organizing efforts, to classroom teaching and individual mentorship. Her curriculum vitae lists various positions of responsibility (and danger) including stints as an Emergency Room social worker, a journalist in wartime Nicaragua, a therapist at a juvenile justice facility, and a community organizer. “My work on a research team assessing the mental health needs of civilians and ex-combatants in post-war El Salvador led me to think about how and what people learn through experiences of war,” said Ellen. And her work with homeless youth exposed her to how differential access to education can play a determining role in the lives of low-income youth and families. “My resume follows an uncommon logic but in my mind it is seamless: social change and civic engagement is at the core of all the work I have done. My diverse jobs and experiences have solidified my resolve.”
Inspiration: Ellen has been fortunate to have had many fine teachers in her life, “but the teacher who influenced me most profoundly was my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Kaplan.” Mrs. Kaplan’s classroom was “a place where each one of us felt valued for what we brought to the discussion. For those of us who were awkward, self-doubting adolescents, this was a gift.”
Aspiration: Ellen would like to continue to teach at the college or university level, with the added goal of being involved in educational policy work. She is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at her undergraduate alma mater, San Francisco State University.
Making a Difference: When asked about an achievement she was most proud of Ellen said that despite obstacles, “I have been able to learn from difficult life lessons and use them in positive ways to affect change.” As an older, returning student she said she can identify with those who don’t fit the common profile of the college student. She said she was proud and happy “that my daughters have the chance to see me both struggle with and accomplish things as a ‘re-entry’ doctoral student; that they can see that education plays a positive role, not just in their own family, but the lives of great numbers of people.”
Accolades: In addition to various scholarships and awards, Ellen presented research titled: “Art, Politics and Education: The Ideological Becoming of Solidarity Activists” to the Council on Education and Anthropology in 2008.
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University of Hawai'i at Manoa