Scholarship winner to study educational policy in South Africa
Alisha Brown, a doctoral student in the Educational Policy program in the MSU College of Education, has recently won the prestigious Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction from the Government of Alberta.
The $20,000 scholarship, which is given only to eight doctoral students each year, is selected by a panel of university presidents in Alberta. Its purpose is to recognize the achievements of students from Alberta, and provide them with the means for advanced study at educational institutions outside of the province.
Next year, Brown will undertake fieldwork in South Africa for her dissertation, where she will study inclusive educational practices and access for students with disabilities. More specifically, she plans to study implementation of the nation’s progressive White Paper Six (WP6) policy for special needs education.
“The motivations for my research are closely related to my personal beliefs surrounding disability,” said Brown. “I believe that all students have the right to an education, as well as the right to be included and accepted in their community school.”
Her interest in the topic began when she was an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary, where she studied psychology. After taking an elective course that provided her with the opportunity to volunteer with a 6-year-old child with Down syndrome, Brown realized that the disabled population was often undervalued and overlooked by society. Coupling her personal motivation with intellectual and practical research goals, Brown hopes to serve as an advocate for disabled learners around the world, and put inclusive education policy into practice.
Before starting her Ph.D. program, Brown earned a master’s degree from MSU in School Psychology. She is an Erickson Research Fellow who has been assisting with an MSU research and development project in Tanzania. She has also been an active leader in her special interest group, Inclusive Education, of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).