The University of Washington College of Education welcomes eight doctoral students to the College’s Community Partner Fellows program.

The Community Partner Fellows program was designed to support organizations that serve youth and strive to close educational opportunity gaps while fostering the development of future education researchers and scholars. Community Partner Fellows work to bolster the research and program evaluation capacity of their partner organizations.

The incoming third cohort includes seven doctoral students: Henedina Tavares, Ai-Khanh Nguyen, Huiyu Lin, Apolonio “Polo” Hernandez, Yang Hsun "Susan" Hou, Claudia Gutiérrez and Mary Padden. Additionally, the second cohort welcomed a new member, Nicholas Taylor in 2019.

Read more about each of the new Fellows below. You can read about the second cohort of Fellows here.

Nicholas TaylorNicholas Taylor

Nicholas Taylor is a doctoral student in school psychology whose research centers on school-age populations that are impacted by trauma, low socioeconomic status, limited access to education, and other adverse factors.

Taylor started his fellowship placement in 2019 with Black Education Strategy Roundtable, an organization that works to improve outcomes for African American students in Washington state by collaborating with educators and advocating for systematic change. The BESR emphasizes information gathering and sharing, community inclusion, and collective decision making.

While serving as a school psychologist in the Baltimore City Public Schools, Taylor saw first-hand the inequities that exist in the education system, particularly for Black male students. This inspired him to research, develop, and implement interventions that support at-risk youth academically and emotionally. After completing his PhD program, Taylor aims to teach in a university school psychology program to facilitate the development of more culturally competent practitioners.

Henedina TavaresHenedina Tavares

Henedina Tavares is a doctoral student in education policy, organizations and leadership whose research focuses on family engagement and leadership within (im)migrant Latinx communities in farmworker contexts. She is interested in leveraging the cultural knowledge base and constellation of repertories of Latinx (im)migrant farmworker families as sources for educational change. Drawing from her family’s transnational experiences with education systems in the U.S. and Mexico that are grounded in asymmetrical power relations, Tavares seeks to center immigrant families as holders of critical knowledge and expertise. 

Tavares will start her fellowship placement this fall with Washington STEM, a statewide non-profit that seeks to enact new forms of collaboration with minoritized families and communities to re-envision STEM educational pathways.

Tavares will support Washington STEM’s efforts towards transforming powered educational systems and empowering marginalized youth and communities to thrive in STEM fields. As part of Washington STEM’s cross-state network with community partners, she will continue working with Latinx (im)migrant farmworkers in the lower Yakima valley. 

Ai-Khanh NguyenAi-Khanh Nguyen

Ai-Khanh Nguyen is a doctoral student in learning sciences and human development. Her research focuses on Vietnamese language and cultural recovery efforts in formal and informal learning settings, with an emphasis on integrating decolonizing and anti-racist pedagogy with learning design knowledge. 

Nguyen will start her fellowship placement this fall with Somali Parents Education Board, an organization that promotes parent leadership in communities of color to effect systemic changes in the education system.

Partnering with parent leaders in the seven school districts that make up the Road Map Region in South King County, SPEB holds workshops and informs parents about education policy changes at the local, state, and federal levels. It also works with schools to develop culturally responsive methods for communication and including parent voices. 

Nguyen views her efforts to sustain the linguistic and cultural identities of non-dominant groups as integral to addressing equity in education.

Huiyu LinHuiyu Lin

Huiyu Lin is a doctoral student in learning sciences and human development. Her research centers on language choices, cultural identities, and social emotional development. She is particularly interested in the interplay between multilingual youths’ identity development and linguistic choices in diverse settings. Lin’s goal is to explore how multilingual youths’ identities evolve and highlight the value of their language repertoires and cultural agency.

Lin will start her fellowship placement this fall with the Boys and Girls Club of King County, an organization that seeks to inspire and empower young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.

During her years of working with schools and communities in Taiwan, Alaska, and Seattle, Lin has practiced culturally responsive and asset-based approaches that forge connections between schools and students’ homes and cultural communities. With her passion for facilitating multicultural education, Lin is excited to work towards equity-focused research and practices with her partner organization.

Apolonio “Polo” HernandezApolonio “Polo” Hernandez

Polo Hernandez is a doctoral student in teaching, learning and curriculum whose research focus is centering tribal ways of knowing and doing in education. His goal is to support community collaboration that develops practices for centering local tribal knowledge.

Hernandez will start his fellowship placement in September 2022.

Hernandez worked with the Spokane Tribe and Wellpinit School District to develop a professional learning community for teachers, administrators, and tribal members that created lessons and programming for WSD. He also partnered with the UW’s Native Education Certificate Program to explore responsive, culturally relevant practices as they developed educational models with the Spokane Tribe. In addition, Hernandez worked closely with the Spokane Tribe’s Language and Culture Department and Washington State University to develop a week-long leadership camp for high school students that incorporated traditional activities led by tribal community members. 

Hernandez is currently collaborating with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Paschal Sherman Indian School, Omak School District, and the Okanagan School District to develop climate science curriculum that centers traditional tribal knowledge.

Yang Hsun “Susan” HouYang Hsun “Susan” Hou

Susan Hou is a doctoral student in learning sciences and human development who studies the relationships between identity, power dynamics, and the different ways individuals’ experience and interpret learning settings. They are particularly interested in how different interpretations influence students’ learning outcomes and how authorities in education define academic success.

Hou will start their fellowship placement in September 2022.

Hou has worked as a STEM advocacy intern in Washington, D.C. and has researched the ways in which academic recognition is interpreted by undergraduate students of different identities. Hou also has experience as an instructor and student in both the U.S. and Taiwanese educational systems. The cultural differences they observed led Hou to question existing definitions of academic success and investigate who has the power in creating those definitions.

Hou hopes that their research into the historical origins of these definitions and power dynamics within educational systems will inform equitable policy decisions in the future.

Claudia GutiérrezClaudia Gutiérrez

Claudia Gutiérrez is a doctoral student in teaching, learning and curriculum. Drawing on decolonial theories, critical literacies and interculturality, her research revolves around the exploration and implementation of equitable teaching practices for ethnic minoritized students in higher education. Specifically, Gutiérrez studies how indigenous and Afro-Colombian students cope with foreign language policies that ignore their cosmogonies, languages, and cultures.

Gutiérrez will start her fellowship placement in September 2022.

Gutiérrez  has worked extensively as a teacher educator at the university level, and has served as a research and thesis adviser for graduate students in Colombia. She has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for her doctoral program.

With her research, Gutiérrez hopes to shed light on the complexities that come with learning a foreign language for ethnic populations and inform language policies that respect the diversity and value these communities bring to every country.

Mary PaddenMary Padden

Mary Padden is a doctoral student in educational policy, organizations and leadership whose research focuses on the impacts of racism on education and how authentic family and community engagement can lead to educational justice and community wellbeing. 

Padden will start her fellowship placement in September 2022.

A former special education teacher, Padden also worked for the Mayor of Oakland where she helped launch the Oakland Promise, a cradle to career strategy that supports students to get to and graduate from college, and served as the project director of the Kindergarten to College program. Later, Padden taught and worked with Seattle Public Schools’ research and evaluation team while completing her Master’s in Education Policy at the UW.  As a doctoral student, Padden will support undergraduate students in the education, communities and organizations major as the Community Liaison TA.

Through her work, Padden aims to partner with communities to dismantle systems of oppression and advocate for justice in education and beyond.

The Community Partner Fellows initiative is an effort of the College’s Unite:Ed alliance of community and education partners. Community-based organizations interested in joining the Community Partner Fellows should contact Unite:Ed Director Dana Arviso. For more information about funding community partnership work at the College, contact Grant Twitchell, director for advancement.

Story by Gabriela Tedeschi, marketing and communications student aide.


Dana Arviso, Unite:Ed Director
College of Education Marketing & Communications