Stephanie Capen
Stephanie Capen

Question: What has been your journey going through ENC and how has ENC prepared you for your career?

My journey began at ENC in 2006. I majored in Physics and found myself caught up in Astronomy. Two of my summers, while at ENC, I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation. In the summer of 2008 I worked with an Astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico and in the summer of 2009 I worked with another Astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. My professors in the Physics Department at Eastern Nazarene College were extremely instrumental in creating these incredible academic and life experiences while a student at ENC. Their support, recommendation, and encouragement was what motivated me to seek, pursue, and prepare for these opportunities.

While in my senior year at ENC I began to really deliberate on which path I was to take after graduating from ENC. Despite feeling like the most obvious path was to continue on to graduate school to study astrophysics, there was part of me that was feeling compelled in a completely different direction. As much as I loved physics and astronomy, my heart began to pull me in the direction of a career in educational research. From the Physics program at ENC I had developed strong quantitative research skills I wanted to apply to the study of public education. The summer I had spent in Hawaii researching exoplanets with astronomy department, I also learned a lot regarding the Hawaiian public education system, as well as the education of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii. I decided to look to the University of Hawaii in pursuit of a graduate degree in education. I applied to a Master's program in Educational Foundations and was accepted for the fall of 2010. While in the Master's program I became extremely passionate in the study of education policy and education law. This past spring ('12), I completed my Master's degree after submitting my thesis on "The Effects of No Child Left Behind on Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools". I am currently enrolled in the Ph.D program in Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaii with a focus in policy and law. This semester, in addition to taking research methods courses, I am enrolled in a Constitutional Law class at UH's law school.

In addition to my academic research career, I work as a graduate assistant at the Curriculum Research & Development Group, working specifically with the Mathematics group. We are working on a number of projects, one of which is to develop an Algebra I course for the Hawaii State Department of Education. One of the main reasons I was hired for this position was my undergraduate background in research and mathematics that I received while
attending ENC.

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