Ph.D. student in curriculum and instruction, KCP Fellow
Currently a Ph.D. student in curriculum and instruction, Lisa has earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (2012) and an Education Specialist Certificate (2016) from Wayne State University. Her first autoethnographic piece will be published this month.
Lisa Westbrooks is a thriving graduate student with a love for learning, but it wasn’t always her passion.
“I did not have a very good experience in school and was not a very good student,” she says.
When she graduated high school, she didn’t plan to pursue a higher education. But after the birth of her first child, she enrolled in community college to learn the professional skills that would allow her to support them both.
“I graduated at the top of my class—as an adult, school wasn’t so bad.”
After filling in for a former instructor who was on sabbatical, Lisa knew she wanted to teach.
As an undergrad at Oakland University, she participated in an outreach program where she taught English as a second language through the linguistics program.
“I was so inspired by these adults who wanted to learn or improve their English. They never missed a day of class, although some had jobs or small children at home.”
The experience influenced her decision to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching at WSU.
“There are some great professors at WSU, who have been extremely helpful to my educational career.”
She credits them in particular with helping her to discover her writing voice.
“Good academic writing is extremely valuable and much time is not spent on it in graduate courses---so strong writing is a hot commodity!”
As a King-Chavez-Parks (KCP) fellow, she has access to even more opportunities to help her advance her academic career, such as time spent in classrooms as a graduate teaching assistant.
“KCP offers invaluable resources beyond the academic year—community, planning, goal setting, writing boot camps, and preparation for other fellowships and job opportunities.”
After graduation, Lisa envisions herself teaching linguistics and culturally responsive education at the college level.
“Teaching is rewarding. Making individual relationships with my students is the most enriching experience that I have ever had in a workspace—I do not feel like I’m working.”
She wants to be the motivating mentor for students that her college professors have been for her.
“I genuinely believe as an educator that I can make a difference in how students perceive education in a positive manner.”