Monday, August 03, 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?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

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Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

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Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
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Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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