This year marks my third year participating in the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting, and my second time as a presenting author. First, the location was absolutely incredible. Despite living in the West my whole life, the only part of Canada that I previously visited was Montreal. The sparkling blue waterways and snow-capped mountains of Vancouver in British Colombia were stunning! Sources say that the sunny mid-seventies weather was unseasonably perfect as well.
Beyond the beauty of the landscape, this year’s meeting had a distinct indigenous presence. The opening plenary session featured Decolonizing Methodologies author Linda T. Smith and opening and closing prayers and songs with local indigenous graduate students and community members. A number of sessions featured indigenous scholars sharing important work happening across Indian Country.
Besides attending a number of great sessions, I presented in two. Like in 2011, I presented on ongoing work based on my graduate student researcher position. We took advantage of AERA’s new session type called ‘structured poster sessions’ to develop several posters focused on different aspects of our 5-year mathematics formative assessment NSF research and development grant. We had a large conference room that allowed us time to each speak to attendees about the work and then break out into small groups surrounding each poster for more individualized Q&A. Additionally, I had the pleasure of presenting my own research for the first time. My paper described my nearly complete M.A. research on indigenous scholar identity construction. I received great feedback for focusing the analysis and enjoyed the opportunity to begin engaging fellow educational scholars in dialogues about work that is very dear to me.
The final piece of news comes from the business meeting of the special interest group for indigenous peoples of the americas – it was approved that the program chair would work with two graduate assistants on the 2013 program. Over the next year, I will learn more about the process of structuring the conference sessions based on papers accepted by external reviewers. I am looking forward to 2013 already!