Life as a doctoral student can seem like a continuous cycle of deadlines and expectations. The constancy of reading more deeply and writing can be taxing and balance, nearly impossible to achieve. Scholarly engagement activities provide an academic counter-praxis to the classroom doctoral experience. Recently, Maryann Krikorian, Kevin Stockbridge, and myself-Charlotte Achieng-Evensen were accompanied by Dr. Suzanne SooHoo to Honolulu in order to attend and present at the Hawaiian International Educators Conference (HICE). Our goal was to encounter and engage with both National and International scholars. Given our interests in voice, contemplative praxis, and indigeneity, HICE proved a fertile ground for both knowledge and relational capacity-building. The 1300 sessions included participants from 34 countries including a very strong cohort of Indigenous Scholars from throughout the Pacific regions, interior U.S.A., as well as Canada.
Our presentation (Kevin and Charlotte) pondered the role and sustainability of student voice beginning in K-12 and moving into the academy. Maryann gave two presentations. The first, a session contemplating mentor relationships within the academy; and the second, her current work on moving toward authenticity in higher education. Interspersed with conference attendance and presentation sessions, we able to dialogue with several wonderful professors. These included afternoon visit with Dr. Susan Matoba Adler, a critical scholar in curriculum instruction, race and ethnicity.
Aside from the fantastic weather, the hospitality of the conference hosts, and the constant song of the warm Pacific, this scholarly engagement experience certainly enlivened the theory we have been reading. There is something quite inspiring and refreshing about engaging with emergent and established scholars in one’s field.