Doctoral Student Spotlights

Alexandra Wood

International Education

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
Although I enjoyed my work as an administrator at a small public university in New Jersey, I missed wrestling with empirical puzzles. I chose to apply to the Ph.D. program in International Education at NYU Steinhardt because of its interdisciplinary approach. I recall looking at the faculty profiles -- professors who were historians, economists, sociologists, and philosophers -- and loving the thought of being mentored by such accomplished scholars. I then attended an open house where I got a sense of the extraordinarily supportive and collegial learning environment that is the International Ed program. When I received the news that I had been accepted into the program as a part time student, I knew immediately that this was where I was meant to be.
My academic passion is:
Contests over whose version of history should be taught in schools.
In 5 or 10 years I hope to:
I hope to become a teacher educator who encourages future history and social studies teachers to engage their own students in critical discussions of complex issues such as race, power, and collective memory.
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
Grabbing deals through Lifebooker or Groupon and trying out Pilates or fitness classes at fancy studios in Manhattan.
A hobby I have is:
Connecting with friends and family around the world via Skype, Facebook, and Gmail chat, etc. I'm a bit addicted to my laptop and iPhone!
My favorite place to get coffee or eat around NYU:
Believe it or not, I've made it through four years of a Ph.D. program without becoming a coffee drinker!
Focus of my research of scholarship:
A comparative study of recent efforts to educate the public about the internment of Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians during World War II.
I'm interested in this topic because:
It represents an intersection of three strands of scholarship: the history of internment and redress; the relationship between national identity, schools, and multiculturalism, and how nations reconcile diversity while maintaining national unity.
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
I've been in International Education for over a decade, first as a Resident Teaching Assistant at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for International Studies and later as Director of the Center for International Studies at Kean University. Pursuing a Ph.D. in this field just felt like the natural next step.
Research or scholar I most admire:
I become completely engrossed in accounts of historical injustices, such as Alan Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" or Peter Irons' "Jim Crow's Children."
Professor who has influenced me the most:
Phil Hosay is the director of my program, my dissertation chair, and my boss at the Multinational Institute of American Studies. Needless to say, we've spent a lot of time together! He has been the best mentor and advocate a doc student could hope for.
Favorite course as a doctoral student:
Tough call! I'd say it's a tie between the History of American Education with James Fraser and Historical Research with Jon Zimmerman.
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
My classmates in the International Ed program have become among my closest friends. Together we have studied for comprehensive exams, figured out how to be effective Teaching Assistants, successfully organized an annual graduate student conference, and more.

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Springfield, PA
Career Goals:
Professor in a School of Education
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Association for Canadian Studies in the U.S. Enders Graduate Student Fellowship for dissertation fieldwork, 2010-2011 Steinhardt Dean 's Grant for archival research on the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation at the Japanese Canadian National Museum in Vancouver, BC, 2010 Shearwater Travel Grant for archival research on the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund at the California State Library in Sacramento CA, and at the Japanese American National Library in San Francisco CA, 2010
Other professional or service activities:
Administrative Director of the Multinational Institute of American Studies, a six-week summer institute held at NYU and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for 30 international scholars.