This is part of a series of profiles of students who are graduating from the NC State College of Education in May 2021.
When Iwinosa O. Idahor ’21PHD came to the NC State College of Education as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, she recognized the connections and opportunities the colleges offered in helping her to develop as a scholar and practitioner. For that reason, she returned to the College of Education to earn her doctorate degree and she will graduate with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development in 2021.
Learn more about Iwinosa O. Idahor
Hometown: High Point, North Carolina
Area of Study: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development
Activities (Research or Extracurricular):Graduate Assistant in the College of Education’s Office of Undergraduate Student Success, Graduate School Writing Group Peer Leader, Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) — Secretary (2018-2020), Barbara L. Jackson Scholar (2018), SEF Southern Education Leadership Initiative (SELI) Fellowship (2018), Urban Leaders Fellow (ULF) Fellowship (2019)
Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?
I chose the NC State College of Education initially as an North Carolina Teaching Fellow and decided to return for my doctorate because of the connections and opportunities to develop as a scholar and practitioner. Being a part of the College of Education has afforded me with many opportunities and experiences to learn from and engage with scholars and experts around pertinent issues related to education.
Why did you choose your area of study?
I chose to pursue a degree in educational leadership, policy, and human development because I wanted to extend the work that I was able to do as a classroom teacher. I realized that having a deeper understanding of education policy, research methods and experiential learning and professional development opportunities would enhance the contributions that I hope to make to the profession as a scholar and practitioner.
What do you hope to accomplish in your field after graduation?
Pursuing this area of study laid the foundation for continued work in enhancing the educational experiences of marginalized students and the educators who teach them.
What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to continue my work in serving as a bridge between K-12 and higher education, connecting students and educators with opportunities to learn, engage and collaborate on addressing issues that impact students’ experiences in and out of the classroom.
How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?
The College of Education has helped to prepare me for that next step by providing me with opportunities to learn from knowledgeable scholars and professors who are engaged in the work of improving student experiences, whether it is through research or practice. The College of Education has allowed me to learn more about myself personally, academically and professionally. I have been provided with opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, develop as a leader and explore potential career fields. The experiences that I have had in the College of Education have been life changing and the people that I have had a chance to meet and connect with are invaluable.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?
Some of my favorite memories include working with and getting to know students in my role as a graduate assistant. Whether it was serving as a student organization advisor, helping to coordinate various programs and initiatives with and for students, I have enjoyed supporting students in their development into empathetic, knowledgeable, confident, equity-minded and socially conscious future teachers. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from Passport to Success and Multicultural Young Educators Network (MYEN) students. I have been able to witness such brilliance, hope and enthusiasm from these students, what an honor!
Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.
The opportunity to be a Teaching Fellow at NC State, being a part of SAY Village and serving as the graduate assistant for the Office of Undergraduate Student Success have been some of the most impactful experiences for me and my career. These opportunities solidified my decision to become an educator and developed me as a leader and professional. I had an opportunity to interact with students and to engage in work that positions equity and empathy as the foundation for improving students’ and teachers’ experiences.
Why did you choose education?
I chose education because I wanted to be the teacher that I needed as a student. I wanted to be a part of something that was much bigger than me and provided an opportunity to engage in meaningful work that positively impacted the lives of students and communities. Education allows me to elevate, amplify and affirm the voices, experiences and contributions of marginalized people and communities.
What are your research interests and what inspired those interests?
Some of my research interests include teacher recruitment and retention efforts, exemplary school and district leadership, Grow-Your-Own educator programs, pre-service/beginning teacher mentoring, effective and culturally affirming family and community engagement practices, and culturally responsive affinity groups for K-12 students of color.