Monday, August 31, 2015

Meet a Roadrunner: Majed Hajj is creating opportunities for Iraqi refugees through research

Jared Cruz-Aedo

Majed Hajj

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(April 2, 2014) -- Meet Majed Hajj. Originally from Lebanon, he knows the difficulties that stem from immigrating to the United States, and plans to use his qualitative research to understand children going through the assimilation process.

Hajj is working on his doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies at UTSA, researching the learning experiences of Iraqi refugee students in the United States.

Hajj immigrated here in 2003 and completed his master's degree at UTSA in 2007. He now works alongside Michael Jennings, Curtis Brewer and Maricela Oliva in the College of Education and Human Development as a doctoral fellow.

Hajj has decided to use his research and personal experiences to learn more about a population that often is misunderstood and marginalized, he said.

Although the transition into the educational culture at UTSA was a fairly easy one for him after attending an American school in Beirut, Hajj acknowledges that cultural differences often make a similar transition for children much more difficult.

"The culture of school for the Iraqi children is very different and there is a shortage of teachers to accommodate the needs of these students," he said. "There's a multitude of research for other groups, but the Iraqi experience is unique."

He hopes his research will help others understand the Arab culture, and in turn help those students who are transitioning into American culture.

"UTSA is growing and it has a great future and I was thinking of the long-term when I decided to come back," he said. "Here at UTSA, the culture of the university is very supportive, diverse and welcoming."

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Do you know someone who is doing great things at UTSA? Email us at social@utsa.edu, so we can consider your nomination for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.

 

 

Did You Know?

Football standouts make Roadrunner history

For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.

Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.

Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.

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