Introducing Ask Dr. Dé, Our New Graduate Program Blog Series

Author: Déana Scipio, Director of the IslandWood Graduate Program


This quarter I’m teaching a philosophy of education class called, The Social, Political, and Cultural Foundations of Learning. In the class, the grads are writing their philosophy of education including a positionality statement – a statement of who you are, the kinds of things you bring to the work you do, and what motives you to do your work. It got me thinking about starting this blog and how I wanted to communicate with you all of you about who I am, the things that motivate me, and why I do this work.


Déana Scipio giving a presentation to graduate students.

Déana Scipio giving a presentation to graduate students.

As an African American and Afro Caribbean woman, broadening participation in STEM is very important to me. I want to see the picture of what it means to be and do science expanded to include the experiences of youth from nondominant communities historically underrepresented in STEM fields. When I was a grad student, this desire drove me to create and implement programming that connected youth from nondominant communities with contemporary science even while reframing what it meant to do science and what counted as science participation and challenging the picture of who engaged in scientific work.


Now that I’m here at IslandWood, I’m thinking about that in a different context because my work is not directly with youth, but rather with educators who work with youth. I maintain the same positionality to the work as I’m deeply motivated and feel it’s a moral imperative to make sure we have greater representation of multiple ideas, ways of knowing, and perspectives. Even what counts as science needs to shift as the demographics of our nation continue to change. And that’s why I’m so interested in doing this work here at IslandWood, because we’re preparing educators to see data differently, to see young people’s ideas differently, and to think differently about what it means to be environmental educators for youth from both dominant and nondominant communities.

Déana Scipio posing in hard hats with graduate students at Brightwater.

Déana Scipio posing in hard hats with graduate students at Brightwater.


Going forward, I am hoping this blog will be a question and answer space. I want to know what you want to know, and to focus on the things that are of interest to you. Are you curious about the direction the program is going in? Do you want to know what grads are doing in their classes this year? Do you have questions about other changes here at IslandWood? I’d love to share what I know. So, throw some questions my way!


There are multiple ways you can send in your questions for Déana to answer in an upcoming Ask Dr. Dé blog post:

  • On Twitter, send us your question in a tweet or private message to @islandwood using the hashtag #AskDrDe
  • Visit us on Facebook at @IslandWood and add a question in the comments of an #AskDrDe post or send us a message. Be sure to include the hashtag #AskDrDe.
  • Send your question via email to [email protected] with the subject line: #AskDrDe


We look forward to hearing from you!

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