Shamini Dias, Ph.D.
At age 9, I decided I was going to teach. Decades later, I still find it a most rewarding, intriguing, perplexing, and joyful thing to do. I've had the opportunity to teach in multiple contexts working with people ages 4 through adult, in K-12, tertiary, and corporate contexts; with museums and libraries, and in formal and informal settings. Teaching in diverse settings has deepened my conviction that excellent teaching is excellent leadership. Educators do far more than just teach content; we lead minds to nurture life-long learners who engage ethically with the world. Teaching, done well, is a rich and fulfilling experience for both teacher and student.
My work as a teacher-scholar focuses on integrating ideas from complexity science, design thinking, play and the power of the arts, and learning motivation and development. At the core, I explore imagination as a creative, adaptive capacity. My research shows me that this is increasingly important for flourishing in constantly changing, diverse, and inter-connected contexts that define our world today. It is especially important in becoming inclusive leaders who strive for educational equity for all learners.
I hope in engaging with the PFF program, you will become a true teacher-scholar seeking excellence holistically in both areas. Whether you are working toward a career in academia, in corporate, non-profit, or entrepreneurial settings, understanding how people learn and what engages others helps you become a leader of minds.
Shelby D. Lamar, MA
Shelby D. Lamar is a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University in the Religious Studies department. Shelby received a BA at the University of Oklahoma in Religious Studies and a MA at Claremont Graduate University in Religious Studies. Shelby's research is focued on Critical Comparative Scriptures, especially the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Qur'an.
Cody Packard, MA
Cody Packard is in his 7th year in the Social Psychology program in DBOS. He taught introductory psychology and research methods courses at Loyola Marymount University for 1.5 years, and had been a TA for grant writing, statistics and methods courses, and theory-heavy core courses in social psychology. His research interests currently focus on (a) how morals influence behavior, (b) psychological reactance (how people respond to threats to their freedom or independence; think: "How well did Prohibition work in the 1920s – did people stop drinking?"), and (c) how attitudes toward the environment influence pro-environmental behavior.
Elizabeth Craigg-Walker, MA
Elizabeth Craigg-Walker came to Claremont Graduate University with a diverse background, as she has completed both undergraduate and graduate work in the following fields: english and public administration. While attending Claremont Graduate University, she received a certificate in Women's Studies and master's degrees in Educational Studies and Political Science. She is currently completing her doctorate in Educational Studies. She has worked in academia for 11 years as a college instructor in face-to-face settings and in online learning communities within the fields of English, public administration, political science, developmental reading, developmental writing, critical thinking, academic strategies, and communication. In addition, she has worked in learning resource centers, research labs, and advancement. She has worked for private and public colleges in 2-year and 4-year settings, as well as in Christian and secular environments. Her wealth of knowledge allows her to be a great asset to understanding how to help guide future college instructors.
Sarah Eckert, MA
Sarah is a doctoral student in Religion with a focus on the History of Christianity at Claremont Graduate University. Her research interests include heresy and orthodoxy, the history of the Devil, and ideas of gender and sexuality in early Christianity. She is currently conducting dissertation research on 1 Enoch and the Book of the Watchers. She earned her Master's Degree in Biblical Studies from the Claremont School of Theology. Her Bachelor's degree is in Anthropology from the University of South Florida.
Catherine Conner, MA
Prior to becoming a doctoral student in English/Early Modern Studies at CGU, Catherine earned her BA in English from the University of Southern California and her MA in English from California State University, Long Beach. Her dissertation focuses on female characters in drama and how their speech acts facilitate their participation in male-dominated spaces and patriarchal discourse. Further, these speech acts serve as oblique arguments that women could effectively employ the skills of rhetoric and oration on a par with men.Currently an instructor at Orange Coast College and the University of La Verne, Catherine's approach to teaching integrates humanist principles with a task-based rationale that addresses basic skills, global issues, and critical thought, without leaving behind the stylistic conventions of writing. Her commitment to flexibility and a student-centered curriculum creates a dynamic classroom environment that challenges her students and empowers them to achieve both personal and academic success. Catherine brings to PFF her experiences as an instructor, tutor, and mentor and is excited to support you in your journey to becoming a teacher.
Rebecca Williams, MA
Rebecca is a doctoral student in Musicology at CGU. She received her B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from Loyola Marymount University and completed her M.A. in Musicology at the Bob Cole Conservatory at CSULB. She is passionate about pedagogy and curriculum development, and is interested in how educators can reframe the arts through a transdisciplinary lens to better understand the role of education in a complex and dynamic world.
In her Masters' thesis, Rebecca combined the fields of musicology and pedagogy by researching new and effective ways to teach music history and music appreciation to students of diverse musical backgrounds. Additionally, she studied how these pedagogical methods could be implemented in the new Common Core curriculum. She has maintained a private piano studio for twelve years and has taught music theory, composition, and music appreciation courses at two and four year institutions, as well as general music education at K-8 schools.