Combining a Passion for Social Justice in Education with Advanced Degree Study

A Conversation with Doctoral Candidate Nadia Khan-Roopnarine

By Anthony Vela

Doctoral Candidate Nadia Khan-Roopnarine

Why did you choose Molloy for your Ed.D.?

I had the opportunity to attend Molloy as an undergraduate from 2007 to 2011. I have many fond memories of my time as an English major and have always experienced Molloy as a supportive and collaborative learning environment. When it came time to choose programs for my doctoral pursuits, Molloy's Ed.D. program was top of the list. Not only because of my previous experience, but because Molloy seems to offer the only social-justice oriented program of study. As a public school teacher in the New York City department of education, I have remained focused on issues of equity and access for marginalized students. I felt Molloy would be the best place for me to continue working toward support for the students I work with every day.

Why did you choose to pursue the Ed.D.? How will the work you are doing now support your dreams and goals for the future?

Pursuing doctoral studies has always maintained its place at the top of my goals list in regards to both my professional and academic careers. I am committed to the development of more equitable school systems and want to support students from all backgrounds in becoming more aware, engaged, and socially conscious citizens. I believe that movements in schools will be empowered by activist students who are supported by skilled teacher facilitators. Through my doctoral studies, I hope to consider more ways teachers can be supported in developing their skills to craft engaging curriculum and responsive instruction to provide these pathways to action.

Are there any particular aspects of studying at Molloy that you think are unique?

Molloy has the feel of family. Even as an undergraduate of color in 2007, among very few others who had similar lived experiences to me, I still found ways to make Molloy home. Every teacher and faculty member is clearly dedicated to the success of every student. Among my current cohort members, even when we disagree, I always feel comfortable engaging in academic discourse with them and being able to collaborate and reflect together.

What type of research are you doing at Molloy?

As a third year doctoral student, I haven't yet begun my own research. However, I am hoping to look closely at the intersections of teacher support, curriculum and instruction, and culturally responsive teaching. Using the lenses of critical race theory, and critical pedagogy I want to make meaning of my own teaching experiences through qualitative research.

What would you tell someone considering the Ed.D. to focus on as they start their journey? 

I would say focus on the learning. Engage in every moment as a learning opportunity. Don't think about your dissertation or obsess over your topic, it's likely those things will shift over time anyway. The doctoral journey, for me at least, is not so much about becoming a "Doctor". It's more about the learning about myself and about others that's taking place along the way.