Listee Features — Education

SHEILA D. ARDS

Focused on ensuring inclusive environments for minorities, Sheila D. Ards is an expert at developing communities. She began her journey at the University of Texas at Austin as an accounting major, but discovered a passion for public policy during a summer program at Carnegie Mellon University. The institution offered her a full ride to earn a PhD from the School of Urban and Public Affairs, which she did in 1990. Her dissertation was on child abuse and neglect. She also wrote a major paper that looked at poor communities and ways to rebuild them. ​ Dr. Ards’ first professional position was with the University of Maryland, where she taught in the School of Urban and Public Affairs. She then joined

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JOY POWELL GEBHARD

Born in Japan despite being a descendent of the Korean ruling family, Joy Powell Gebhard witnessed a lot of brutality as a child. She vowed then to fight for world peace for the rest of her life, and she has held fast to her goals. Ms. Powell Gebhard founded Healing Inc. in 1997 to help humanitarian and education needs. She remains involved in the organization, which mainly focuses on children from North Korea, to this day. Other notable achievements include founding the Meadow Peace Park, co-founding the Washington Korean Writers Association, and serving as the president of Washington Jeonju Lee Chosun Dynasty Royal Family Association. Outside of her organizations, Ms. Powell Gebhard found that another way to achieve her goals

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JANET E. OLSON-WEST

Inspired by the wonderful teachers she had growing up, Janet E. Olson-West set out to make her own mark in academia. She started by earning a Bachelor of Education from Central Missouri State University in 1973, after which she became an elementary school teacher at Lakeland R-3 School. Mrs. Olson-West then took her talents to Kingsville R-1 School, where she served as an elementary school teacher from 1977 to 2005 and as an elementary communication arts teacher from 2005 to 2009. She really enjoyed her career, and loves when former students reach out. Seeing how they have developed and grown is really fulfilling. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Olson-West held a variety of leadership positions with prominent professional organizations. She

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LINDA B. LEWIS-WHITE

Outraged by the lack of empathy and care in the education of bilingual children, Linda B. Lewis White decided to take matters into her own hands. She became a certified bilingual and elementary teacher in the state of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in home economics and a Master of Arts in social sciences from California State University, and jumped right into the field. Dr. Lewis White proceeded to serve as a bilingual teacher in the Arlington School District from 1977 to 1996 and then as a professor of reading at Eastern Michigan University. She continues to work in the latter to this day. Her responsibilities include teaching undergraduate students to become educators and teaching graduate students seeking a

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BARBARA J. JANSON

When Barbara J. Janson first saw the impact educational policy could have on a country and its workforce, she knew she had to get involved. She initially started her career as a mathematics teacher at public high schools in Avon, Farmington, and Bloomfield, Connecticut, and then at Ulster Academy and Ulster County Community College in New York. In 1974, however, she decided to move more behind the scenes and joined the Houghton Mifflin Company (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) as a mathematics editor. She really enjoyed the work, and advanced rapidly through the field. She became the assistant editorial director of the American Mathematical Society in 1978, and by 1982, she was the director of publishing. The role included maintaining a

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VALENE LUCY SMITH

Looking to gain a better understanding of the world and its people, Valene Lucy Smith has dedicated her life to anthropology, geography, and tourism. She has loved traveling since childhood, and has been to almost every country in the world. These experiences taught her that there is more to her field than people understand and led her to teaching travel geography and tourism. This is also what separates Dr. Smith from her peers; while many other anthropologists are caught up in human behavior, she looks at human behavior as a response to different environments, land areas, and uses. Over the years, she has published her findings in books like “Hosts and Guests Revisited” and “Tourism Alternatives: Potentials and Problems in

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JANICE EDITH JONES MONK

When Janice Edith Jones Monk was younger, her father taught her the value of having wide global interests. She loved learning, so she thought Australia’s education scholarship program would be a perfect fit: the government would pay for her academic endeavors as long as she became a public school teacher. Another requirement was that she had to take four subjects that could be combined with teaching. Psychology was mandatory, and English and history were easy fill-ins. Dr. Jones Monk selected geography as her fourth on a whim. Little did she know, however, that this decision would set the course for the rest of her career. The geography program at the University of Sydney was very active. There were only about

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ROSLYN BLYN-LADREW

Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew strongly believes that the more languages a person knows, the better they understand other people and cultures. She experienced this first hand as a child, when she lived in India for a year and was first introduced to Hindi. Knowing the language really helped her feel connected; she knew she had to pursue it further. Then, when Dr. Blyn-LaDrew was a bit older, Irish folktales and Irish music caught her eye. She was intrigued by the sense of magic and supernatural in the stories. Dr. Blyn-LaDrew came to realize that not everyone in Ireland speaks Irish, however, and that an understanding of the original language was necessary to really get the material. She began studying Celtic languages at

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KATHLEEN KISH

The oldest of four children, Kathleen Kish loved learning and sharing knowledge with her sisters. She was particularly interested in both science and language, and ultimately decided to pursue the latter. Dr. Kish proceeded earn a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and both a Master of Arts and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1965 and 1971, respectively. Her first position in the field was lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, followed by professor and chair. She moved to San Diego University as the professor and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 1999, and remained there until she accepted the

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CAROLYN E. WEDIN

In the eyes of Carolyn Wedin, literature is a way to enter and learn about experiences different from what’s familiar. It helps build perspective and generates more understanding people. She decided to focus on African Americana literature after teaching at Shaw University during the Civil Rights Movement. A cross was burned at the school in protest, and Dr. Wedin knew something had to be done. There wasn’t any black literature in the curriculum, so she added it and started teaching it herself. Dr. Wedin eventually brought her expertise to the University of Wisconsin, where she stayed for the remainder of her career. She accepted the distinguished title of professor emeritus in 1996. To further spread her knowledge, Dr. Wedin decided

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