Ph.D. in Education, 2014
School of Education
September 1, 2009
Ph.D. Student Fascinated by “Third Culture Kids” and Discourse Communities
Sonja Lind is a “global nomad,” having traveled and lived among various cultures around the world. Cumulatively, she has lived in five continents and traveled to 42 countries. She was born in Norway, grew up in Kenya, and spent her adolescent years in Vancouver Island, Canada. After attending high school in Boston, she pursued her undergraduate degree in England and then went on to teach English as a foreign language (EFL) in South Korea. She taught for several years and then felt a need to increase her knowledge and further her academic career, so she enrolled in a Master’s degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her Master’s degree was in English, with two emphases on Rhetoric/Composition and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). She enrolled as a first-year Ph.D. student at UC Irvine in Fall 2008.
Education has always been a significant part of Sonja’s life. She was home-schooled as a child in Kenya and, as the daughter of an editor, was book-crazy from the beginning. She wrote and drew half-inch miniature books for her Barbie dolls, and tutored her Kenyan friends in English after school. In Seoul, she lived and worked as an instructor for over two years, teaching a wide variety of learners ranging in age and ability. As an EFL teacher, every day of teaching presented a new opportunity for developing effective instructional strategies. She helped students write and act out skits, showed children how to design their fantasy homes, and reached out to learning disabled university students through the use of emerging technologies.
Sonja has a passion for teaching and research. After four years of teaching English language classes and Freshman Composition, her passion for teaching has only increased; and she intends on being a researcher-practitioner. She enjoys qualitative research methods and is interested in researching immigrants, international students, and English language learners. Sonja is also interested in researching Third Culture Kids, a group of students who, like her, have fallen between cultural identities. Like many other Third Culture Kids, Sonja felt like an outsider in many cultures. She has two passports – Norwegian and Canadian – but has not set down roots in either country. As a result, she has become interested in this under-researched population. Sonja would ultimately like to study the role of identity, culture, technology, and language in the lives of international and immigrant populations.
Sonja has presented at TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), CATESOL (California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), and CIES (Comparative and International Education Society) conferences, and will present her research in fall 2009 at the Symposium on Second Language Writing conference. In addition, she has attended ALA (American Library Association) and AERA (American Educational Research Association) conferences. During her first year of doctoral studies at UC Irvine’s Department of Education, Sonja worked as a graduate student researcher with Professor Mark Warschauer on a research project on technology access and use among English language teachers in 14 countries. This fall 2009, she is looking forward to teaching an undergraduate course, Education 134: Teaching English Internationally. In addition, she will be working with her advisor, Assistant Professor Rebecca Black, on a research project about Third Culture Kids and discourse communities.
In the future, Sonja envisions herself as the director of an English language institute or international center and will continue to work for the development of educational systems for underserved communities.