Anne Steketee began at Chapman as a PhD student in the fall of 2016. Before she began her first semester, she interviewed with Dr. Kim Padulo for a position as a graduate teaching assistant. She is currently in the sixth semester of teaching IES 303: Education through Life Transitions.
Describe your professional background within education.
My educational practice encompasses more than 30 years of instructional experience with general, special, and alternative education populations at all developmental levels—from infancy to older adult nontraditional learner. I also serve as an educational advocate in Southern California, utilizing a pro bono model, in order to reach underserved and minoritized populations. Currently, I am working on issues of voice and agency in the college classroom, exploring educational outcomes for students impacted by incarceration and considering parent/student self-advocacy strategies in the IEP/IPP (Individualized Education Program or Individualized Program Plan) processes. I am a graduate research assistant for Dr. Tricia Sugita and the Thompson Policy Institute (TPI) on Disability and Autism her at Chapman. I have a BA in English, with a specialization in women’s studies from UCLA, and M.Ed. with a specialization in alternative education from Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania. As a Chapman PhD candidate in cultural and curricular studies with a disability minor, my projected graduation date of December 2020 will be a miracle.
What piece of wisdom would you share with students who plan on pursuing a profession in the educational field?|There is a heartbeat in teaching; each educator approaches teaching in a unique way. For me, the idea of being a learner is formative. Because of this, I think the most powerful growth comes from listening. Listen. This is the way to learn. I talk a lot, truly, but the most profound learning, the deepest growth, comes from listening.
Why do you feel education is important?
I would love to say that education can give everyone equal access to opportunity in society. But I think that the divides in society place some opportunities beyond education’s reach. So then I would love to be able to fall back on the idea that education can equip people to bridge these divides in society. Yet at times, the “bridging” work feels overwhelming. What I land on, finally, is this: education can equip people to recognize and follow the goals in their hearts in ways that are meaningful to them. I work every day to help make these “goals” and “ways” are inclusive, responsive, and respectful—especially for voices who have been silenced in education. In this way, my hope is that the next generation in education moves further than the last, with greater diversity, more community.
Any other comments/information you wish to share with the college?
Students often ask me about advocacy. Anyone can be an ally, an advocate, an accomplice. You don’t need special training; you don’t need a degree. You just need a heart and a bit of courage. Take a risk for people, even people you don’t know. We are all a community.