I am a researcher who primarily studies student engagement and learning in higher education. I operationalize my research focus through three distinct yet connected topical areas: international student mobility, scholar-practitioner preparation, and transnational education. I am guided by my perspectives as a Woman of Color and a child of immigrants, along with the conceptual lenses of Critical Race Theory and globalization. I am particularly interested in the intersection of interest convergence in higher education and the continually shifting racial categories in both the United States and in other parts of the world, much of it driven by forces of globalization. I seek to critically examine and question the multidimensional process of higher education within a transnational context. Thus, infusing criticality in my work is a priority, as evidenced by my teaching, research, and service. This commitment comes through my various research strands.
My current and emerging research projects all center on issues of equity with the intention of fostering student success amidst contemporary global issues. As a result, all of my research topics span these overarching issues as well as the three outlined topical areas (international student mobility, scholar-practitioner preparation, and transnational education).
International student mobility is at the heart of my research passion, much of it because of my proximity as the daughter of an international student. My research includes international students of Color, who are racialized within the U.S. context (Yao, George Mwangi, & Malaney Brown, 2019), and more importantly, uses critical lenses to examine the positioning of international students of Color in the U.S. Much of the previous research on international students tended to aggregate students from various global regions without much criticality; therefore, my contributions to international student scholarship include infusing a critical lens by nuancing student backgrounds and by situating my research within an equity-driven approach.
A second area of research is the examination of how graduate students are prepared to work as scholar-practitioners, with strands related to doctoral student international research training, master’s students’ international preparation, and graduate education in online contexts. Overall, my contributions to this area of research inform graduate education from a perspective that goes beyond socialization; rather, I emphasize a comprehensive development of scholars and practitioners who are prepared to contribute to a rapidly shifting global society.
My third area of research examines student experiences in transnational higher education institutions in Vietnam. The Vietnamese context is unique in that the Ministry of Education and Training has established international partnerships for higher education institutions, and this area of research centers on understanding how teaching and learning is conducted at these collaborative transnational universities. Much of the current research on transnational emphasizes national policy and institutional decision making; however, my contribution to this topic includes emphasizing student learning and engagement in collaborative transnational universities in Vietnam. As a result, student voices and perspectives are highlighted, and may inform future planning and development of transnational universities.