Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Researcher Perspective: Who I Am?


As a researcher, my past history and experience may have contributed in how I framed and conducted the study (research as well as articles). I am a first generation Tibetan refugee born, raised, and educated in India. I received my school education from Tibetan refugee schools and my higher education from Indian universities. Throughout my educational journeys in India, I earned numerous awards and scholarships. One of my biggest academic achievements in India was to secure the sixth rank from the entire University of Mysore. I consider myself a successful product of Tibetan refugee educational programs in India.

Moreover, I worked in a few leadership positions at the Department of Education, Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan government in-exile), Dharamsala, India for about eight years before I came to the University of Wyoming (UW) as a non-degree graduate student in 2007. Though both my bachelor and master’s degree were in commerce, I decided to pursue a doctoral program in education because I felt that, with an education degree, my contribution could be more meaningful for the larger Tibetan communities in the diaspora. This feeling was confirmed when I learned about adult and continuing education and its philosophy in the Spring 2008 semester at UW. I realized why some adult Tibetan refugees in India did not continue their formal education once they completed their college education. Life responsibilities such as having employment, getting married or having children take precedence. 

Further, I experienced this same pattern on the part of adult Tibetan immigrant populations in New York City when I visited in the summer of 2008. In addition, I noticed during this visit that many adult Tibetan immigrants were struggling to adjust to their new country. Thus, this study (research on skills education for adult Tibetan immigrants) was a direct result of my past history of being a Tibetan refugee as well as my personal experiences with Tibetan immigrants in New York City. Most importantly, as a Tibetan majoring in adult and post secondary education, I began realizing the need for adult education programs for Tibetan immigrants in the United States in general and in New York City in particular.

 
Moreover, because of my unique relationship with the Tibetan refugee experiences in India as well as in the United States, I may be uniquely positioned to conduct this study. Also, as far as I know, there were no Tibetan professionals in the Tibetan diaspora holding a doctoral degree in adult education. So, as of this study, I may be the first and the only Tibetan professional adult educator in the diaspora.

On a final note, being a young male Tibetan professional in the United States for the last four years, this study was very close to me personally as well as professionally. Sometime in the future, my hope is to work towards providing initial skills education programs for adult Tibetan immigrants, particularly in New York City.


*Taken from the first chapter of my 2012 dissertation, "Skills education for adult Tibetan immigrants in the United States: Identification, prioritization, resources, and challenges".

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