Lai Sam, M.A. in Urban Education and a PLACE Corps student, is the winner of the William H. Hannon Library’s first Graduate Library Research Awards (GLRA) competition. The awards recognize and reward LMU graduate students whose research makes expert and creative use of the services, resources, and collections of the William H. Hannon Library to produce a scholarly or creative work.
“Thank you to the School of Education and Dr. Daniel Christopher-Smith for the opportunity to study and learn about culture, faith, and educational practices in New Zealand,” said Sam, “and thank you to the Department of Urban Education and Dr. Anita Kreide for helping me fine-tune my research skills and apply them to this research paper.”
Sam’s entry, “Maori Pedagogy and Its Effects on Student Achievement,” was worthy of the Grand Prize Award for search strategies, evaluation and selection of information sources, and evidence of exceptional scholarship.
Sam is in the PLACE Corps and M.A. in Urban Education Program and participated in School of Education and Theological Studies Department joint New Zealand study abroad program. “I’d like to thank my Maori hosts for embracing and treating me as family, for showing me the importance of whanau (family), the importance of my connection to my past and ancestors, and most of all, being proud of who I am,” said Sam.
Before going on the trip, Sam was a high school teacher in Los Angeles. “I was slowly becoming disillusioned with the deep inequalities I saw in the education system, wondering if I had a role to play as a young and inexperienced teacher working at a high-needs school.”
However, the study abroad trip had a profound effect on her work. “I saw how indigenous beliefs and values can be applied to education to affirm and empower a historically oppressed people.”
Lai gives credit for her win to the research skills she obtained from her urban education research class. Lai is graduating with her master’s degree and teacher credential this spring, along with $1,000 prize from the first Graduate Library Research Award. She plans to stay in Los Angeles and continue to teach.
Honorable Mention in GLRA competition
LMU School of Education student Chelsea Kwan received an honorable mention – and a $450 cash award – in the William H. Hannon Library’s first Graduate Library Research Awards (GLRA) competition. Kwan’s entry, titled “The Impact of Dental Care Inequality in Southern California Schools,” was one of three Honorable Mention awards for her search strategies, evaluation and selection of information sources, and evidence of exceptional scholarship.