Tonya Kneff

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies

Field of Study: Educational Studies, PhD - FARP (Foundations, Administration, Research, & Policy)

Year in Program: 2nd year

Geographic Region: Los Angeles, CA; Brunswick, GA

Undergraduate: UC Berkeley; Mt. SAC; Brunswick High School

Prior to UM: 

- I spent 7 years in Japan first as an English teacher, and later I was hired by the Nagano prefectural board of education as a Prefectural Advisor (PA). As a PA, I was responsible for teacher orientations and training; dispute resolution; counseling and advising; policy generation; and information gathering and dissemination. 
- I started my own Nagano magazine, called "YamaGomi." 8 years later, it continues under a new name: "YomoYama."
- I represented 5 prefectures in the National Association for JETs, which meant I got to conduct research and lobby the Japanese government on behalf of the interests of JET program participants. 
- I was an AVID and READY tutor just after undergrad. I worked with high school students (AVID) and 3rd grade students (READY) in the Fresno area.
- My major at UC Berkeley was Peace and Conflict Studies.
- I got my masters at U-M in Educational Studies, Leadership and Policy (with the administrator certification).

The best part of SOE so far: The first thing I noticed was the community. There are so many within the SOE who want to help students succeed, and I was so impressed by the accessibility of faculty, staff, and other students. I also appreciate that how diverse the research interests at the SOE are; it seems that there are people engaged in education research that spans disciplines, themes, and methods. Couple these two things with the myriad of opportunities within the SOE and the U-M at large and it's definitely an exiting place to be a student!

After graduation: Along with my PhD in Education Studies, I will attend law school as well. My plan is to finish up law school, and with my joint degree in Education Policy, I hope to pursue work either at the US Department of Education or at the United Nations. Alternatively, I'd also like to work within the juvenile justice system to create and implement educational interventions that incorporate other policy realms.

Teach me something! When I need some fun, I go to Detroit! There are so many incredible things to do there (DIA, Farmers' Market, Motown Museum, Riverwalk, the Miami Bar, etc.), and there is a commuter bus that takes you (and your friends) from Ann Arbor to Detroit, stopping in several places. If you want local fun, however, I'd say that it depends on the season. In the summer, you can find me enjoying Shakespeare in the Arb or at Bill's Beer Garden. In the fall, I drink apple cider and eat donuts at the Cider Mill. In winter, I fly to LA :) but then I come back to build snowpeople and marvel at just how beautiful U-M is under a blanket of snow. In the spring, I do anything I can to be outside, including any number of the 5 and 10k runs around the town.