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Meet Our Students

da-li                     Da (Jane) Li

I have a lot of passion for education. Since my early years, I knew it was my calling and the only thing I could do as my profession. After receiving a bachelor degree in education, I taught in a high school for three years. I then pursued a master degree in social psychology. After that I was luckily hired as an assistant professor in the school of education at a teachers’ university teaching social psychology in China. I am pursuing a doctoral degree now at the Ohio State University. It will be my fourth year studying here in the fall. My major is educational policy. The experience studying at OSU is positive. The courses I’ve taken have greatly deepened and widened my understanding in education. My research interest is to explore how the political factors are related to education. My most recent research is to examine the relationship between the state political culture and teacher autonomy. Besides being a Ph.D. student, I am also hired as an instructor teaching at an educational psychology related course – Learning and Motivation Strategies for Success in College – at the Younkin Success center at OSU. I’ve been teaching there three years now. I greatly enjoy and appreciate the opportunities to engage with undergrads and to help them out.


denice-nabinett                Denice D. Nabinett                       

As a native Maryland resident, I came to The Ohio State University first as an undergraduate. At my first collegiate home, I earned a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Spanish. In 2010, I completed my M.Ed. in Education at the University of Maryland – College Park, during which time I also began my public school teaching career, where I taught middle and high school Spanish. In 2013, I decided to explore the field of education from a different perspective and learn more about how our U.S. educational system works. It was at this time that I decided to pursue my PhD in Educational Policy at The Ohio State University, where I was accepted and offered a Graduate Enrichment Fellowship. It was one of the best decisions of my life!! I’ve met some amazing people –  faculty, staff, and students. It has been the “people” who have been most instrumental in my development as an educational scholar. I am especially grateful to my cohort – who has been so supportive and encouraging throughout this process and the Educational Policy program faculty (Jan Nespor, James L. Moore III, Ann Allen, Antoinette Errante, and Bryan Warnick). The educational and professional experiences I’ve had have taught me so much more than I expected. I’ve served on the Executive Board of the Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus (BGPSC) and co-president and member of the Educational Studies Graduate Student Council (ESGSC). My assistantships have afforded me the opportunity to work on diverse research projects related to academic cheating, special education, and mastery learning at STEM schools, as well as working to increase diversity via The Women’s Center.

I am a Barbara Jackson Scholar in the 2015-2017 cohort of the University Council for Educational Administration (and Policy). I’ve recently published a book review

Nabinett, D. D. (April 01, 2016). Book Review: Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi. Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men, 4, 2, 105-107.

I am now a PhD candidate, entering my fourth year and making progress on my dissertation. My research centers on better understanding and defining the school-to-prison pipeline through the life histories of formerly incarcerated Black males. Good luck and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I can be reached at nabinett.1@osu.edu . Go Bucks!!


michael-leonard                                 Michael B. Leonard         

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Finance) from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University (OSU).  As a Resident Advisor (RA) for two years at OSU, I realized that working directly with students was more rewarding than financial analysis alone, so I then headed to Indiana University Bloomington, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs.  In the first year of my graduate program, I was fortunate to take an enrollment management course and loved it.  This course encouraged me to reflect on my own undergraduate education and to question how federal, state, and institutional policies contributed to my college experience.  Through this course I discovered that I am more interested in policy than in managing students’ personal lives because I could have a broader impact on reforming the American education system than I could in student affairs.  I am happy to return to my home state of Ohio and to OSU in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Educational Policy.  My knowledge of American higher education has sparked my interest in pursuing original research in two key areas: the impact of state and federal policies on college access and completion among low-income and underrepresented populations; and the origins and consequences of state accountability systems for higher education.



dorothy-moulthrop                                    Dorothy Moulthrop     

As an Ohio native, I appreciate the opportunity to study Educational Policy and Leadership at The Ohio State University and to work as a Graduate Research Associate on the Mobilizing National Educator Talent project. My research centers on the intersection of policy and practice in relation to school reform, teacher retention and leadership development. My interest in these areas grew out of my experience working in schools and with districts across the country. I spent five years in school administration, most recently as the Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development at Hawken School, a PS-12 independent school in Greater Cleveland. Prior to administration, I was a classroom teacher for 12 years and an English department chair for three years. I began my career teaching English language arts and English as a second language at San Lorenzo High School, in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, I taught at Shaker Heights High School outside of Cleveland. My work is guided by my belief that effective education policies are co-constructed by all members of the policy chain and successful implementation hinges on transparency and communication. I received my BA in Comparative Literature and Italian from Northwestern University, completed my teacher training at the University of California, Berkeley, and received my Masters of Education from Ursuline College.


jeong-a-kim                        Jeong-a Kim

Coming from South Korea, I have enthusiasm for pursuing good policies that benefits society at large.  As a PhD candidate, I am interested in educational policy analysis, particularly comparative policy analysis between US and South Korea.

After earning my B.A. and M.A. in Education, I worked as a research assistant at the Korean Educational Development Institute, as a university admissions officer at Kyunghee University and as an educational policy researcher at the Research Office of Educational Policy in Jeollabukdo Office of Education. My professional experiences have imbued me with a passion to make this Education better.

Gratefully, here at OSU, I am learning a lot from whom I love and respect. It’s more than you can imagine.


natosha-willis                       Natosha Willis                            

A native of Columbus, Ohio, and an alumnus of The Ohio State University (B.S. in Education, ’06 and MEd in Special Education, ’07), I am excited to be back within the College of Education as a PhD student. Before returning to Ohio State, I worked as a Special Education teacher in the Columbus and Atlanta, GA area. After working in various school settings, I was eager to return to school to explore many of the questions I had and felt were left unanswered.  My curiosity led me to my current research, which focuses on zero tolerance discipline policies and the disparities projected on adolescent African American males. While examining these policies, I am also looking at the tenets of the school-to-prison pipeline and the role zero tolerance policies play in the pipeline. Recently, with the encouragement and support from our amazing professors and my incredible advisor, I submitted a manuscript for review to the Journal of Education and Urban Society, and am currently working on a book chapter on children of incarcerated parents.  Throughout the year I work as a Graduate Assistant in the Bell National Resource Center on the African American male and serve as a volunteer with OSU’s Student Advocacy Center. I would love to share if you have any questions or would like to know more!


                                                                 Brian Hill J.D.

Originally from Pittsburgh, I spent twelve years teaching biology and chemistry in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.  After earning my Juris Doctorate from Duquesne University in 2005, I took an active role in PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) focusing on legal and political issues facing public education.  I joined The Ohio State University in 2014 to pursue my Ph.D. in Educational Policy. My research interests are a product of my teaching and legal experience focusing on the role of organized labor in education and educational policy.  In addition to my graduate work, I am still actively teaching in higher education.  I currently hold a Graduate Teaching Position with The Ohio State University in the First Education Experience Program (FEEP) working with aspiring new teachers. Furthermore, I am entering my sixth year as a faculty member in the Allied Health Department with Columbus State Community College.


christopher-yaluma                   Christoper Yaluma             

I am very excited to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Policy at The Ohio State University. I was born and raised in Kasama, Zambia, then moved to England to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma. When I completed the IB program, I came to the United States in the fall of 2008 for my undergraduate degree in Physics. Upon graduation, I worked for MATCH Education in Boston, MA, teaching ninth and tenth grade math. My experience working with low socioeconomic students who were struggling academically gave me a new perspective into the difficulties facing educators and students amidst education policies and reforms. I was then motivated to deepen my knowledge in education policy and gain insight into practical ways to reform schools through research by obtaining a Master’s degree in Transformative Education from Miami University.

My research interests include STEM education (especially with regards to students with low SES), charter school locational preferences and its impact on access and equity, school choice, and pre-service teachers’ training.


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