Alumni Spotlight | Cultural Foundations | Kent State University

Alumni Spotlight

Nick Morris - Teacher, researcher, and practitioner in environmental education

Jinghuan LiuJinghuan Liu

Jinghuan Liu earned her M.A. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Kent State University in 2008. Currently, she works as a Project Manager at a multicultural market research firm, NewAmerican Dimensions, in Los Angeles.

During her time at Kent State, she studied with Dr. Vilma Seeberg and focused on comparative education, with a special interest on rural Chinese girls’ access to higher education. She greatly enjoyed her studies with Dr. Kim Sebaly, Dr. Tricia Niesz and Dr. Natasha Levinson. She also studied ethnography, which became her pre-career training as a market research professional.

At her current company, she manages multicultural research projects with Asian American, Hispanic, African American, LGBT and youth consumers. Her industry experience ranges from technology, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, healthcare/pharmaceutical to automotive, advertising, banking and financial services and retail. She specializes on conducting research with mothers, Millennials and affluent consumers. She also has extensive experience managing online panels and using social media as a research tool.

Jinghuan is an active member at QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) and sits on two committees. Her article on Chinese consumers and American retailers is scheduled to appear on the spring issue of this organization’s trade magazine, VIEWS. Another article of hers on using videos as a powerful storytelling tool has recently been accepted.

During her spare time, Jinghuan is an avid runner and a beginner bikram yogi. She enjoys spending time with her son and volunteering at his school. She writes occasionally for her local news outlet, Patch.

Drolma TseringDrolma Tsering

Drolma Tsering came to the Cultural Foundations Program at Kent State University from Tibet. She graduated in December 2012 with a Master's Degree in Education. Currently, she is working on an Early Childhood Care and Development project with the Save the Children International Organization in Tibet.

After graduation, she first worked as a teaching assistant in an English as a Second Language Center and then got an internship in Washington, D.C. with Machik, a non-governmental organization focusing on the improvement of educational and health situations in Tibet.

She said all the professors she met in the Cultural Foundations program were so helpful and supportive and she had a great learning experience. The courses she took from CF have not just broadened her horizons but also changed the way she looked at things. She reports that she has become more accepting of the diversity and difference in daily life. She is able to view social phenomenon from her own perspective instead of being influenced by others' opinions. The Cultural Foundations program has also increased her inter-cultural communication skills and prepared her to accept diverse points of view.

Thomas G. WelshThomas G. Welsh

Thomas G. Welsh earned his doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education in 2009. He is a writer and editor based in Youngstown, OH and is the outreach coordinator for Etruscan Press, a non-profit literary press.  His most recent publication is the coauthored book A History of Jewish Youngstown and the Steel Valley (The History Press, 2017).  

In 2011, he published a revised version of his dissertation, Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown's Catholic Elementary Schools, 1960-2006(Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). The book received positive reviews in journals including The Catholic Historical Review, American Catholic Studies, and Catholic Education.

Between 2009 and 2012, he served as a visiting scholar at Youngstown State University's Center for Working-Class Studies, assumed leadership positions in various local non-profit organizations, and co-published two journal articles.

Welsh has successfully leveraged his experiences at Kent State University into a career as a professional writer and editor. Since 2012, he co-authored two works of non-fiction on aspects of local history. While his books target general readers, they also draw heavily upon research he conducted in the course of his doctoral program, and each work functions as a social history. Meanwhile, Welsh has also developed a career as an academic editor for international scholars, which has enabled him to draw upon his overseas experiences as well as his experience as a graduate assistant at the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education at Kent State University.

Belkis Torres-CapelesBelkis Torres-Capeles

Belkis Torres-Capeles earned her doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education in December 2012. Currently she is Executive Director of Continuing Education and assistant professor at Georgia Southern University (GSU).

Prior to her current position, she was Vice President for Programs for the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, and Director of Conference Planning at Valmark Securities Inc. As an assistant professor at GSU, she is responsible for the overall management, operation, strategic planning and leadership for the day-to-day functions and services of the continuing education division. In addition, she oversees the operations of all activities, programming and conference management facilities, including the Nessmith-Lane conference center and the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah.

Belkis's education in Cultural Foundations has positioned her to facilitate multidisciplinary and integrative approaches to advance the teaching and research objectives of an institution. More importantly, and of great personal value, is her understanding of various cultural perspectives in leadership and administration and how these influence daily interactions and outcomes. This learning is essential to the work she is doing for every ay as a senior leader for her organization.

She attributes her success to her advisor in the Cultural Foundations program, Dr. Vilma Seeberg. She explains that Dr. Seeberg consistently demonstrated a passion for her craft, while fostering an environment where critical thinking, self-reflection, research and acquiring knowledge was regular practice. Belkis also highlighted that her learning experience was enhanced by being in a setting with learners from various backgrounds and life experiences.

Denis KatusiimeDenis Katusiime

Denis Katusiime came to Kent State University from Uganda. He earned his doctorate degree in Cultural Foundations in May 2014, with a dissertation that put forward an argument for "an enhanced human development capability approach to education" that focused on Technical Vocational Education and Training in Uganda. Presently, he is a full-time professor in Kisubi Brothers University College of Uganda Martyrs University.

Denis teaches Philosophy of Education to graduate students, as well as Comparative Cultures, Ethics and Human Rights, and Developing Critical Thinking Skills to undergraduates in the university. He is also writing a working document on Academic Service Learning, in the hope of engaging all members of faculty to see how every course can be related to service learning.

Doing a PhD in Cultural Foundations at Kent State, which is an interdisciplinary program, has enabled him to teach core courses at his university comfortably. As he said, "Cultural Foundations opened opportunities for me to teach many courses and participate in education discussions in the University."