Graduate Student Q&A: Award Recipient Spotlight on Kelly Hanson

Our 2019 Stephen Daniel Pope Graduate Award recipient is PhD candidate, Kelly Hanson.

Kelly Hanson is well-known around the Okanagan School of Education. She completed her Master of Arts in Education in 2014, and was a much loved Faculty Advisor for the last two years.

Question and Answer Session with Kelly

What is your research project and what stage are you in?

I am currently in the final drafting and rewriting stage of my dissertation — a self-study situated within the context of a current provincial curricular change. Supporting the curriculum plan is the First Peoples Principles of Learning (FNESC), a learning philosophy that offers nine descriptions of what learning is, what it supports, involves, recognizes, and embeds from a First Nation perspective.

My research shares how the principles were an opportunity for me to learn about First Peoples pedagogies and perspectives as central to the flourishing of all teachers and students, and to deepen my understanding of teacher education towards such an aim.

Why did you choose that topic and what difference do you hope your research will make?

As an educator, I hope my engagement with the First Peoples Principles of Learning will facilitate conversations about the B.C. curriculum that influence an unlearning of limiting ideologies and practices in schools. I hope it will support teachers to sit with the discomfort of that process in order to cultivate more inclusive and loving ways of being with one another.

What advice do you have for future graduate students?

I am a big advocate that teaching is a lifelong pursuit of meaning and learning. For me the trick is to:

  • Pay attention and be mindful.
  • Follow the small moments of curiosity, the moments that make you feel most alive, and the communities that make you feel supported. It doesn’t always take a massive effort.
  • Pause for an instant- breathe. Respond to what has caught your attention. Listen to your heart.
  • Share your insights with your community and be open to what comes back to you in return.


Learn more about Kelly and her research by reading her profile piece on Our Stories.


Stephen Daniel Pope Graduate Award

This award is offered by family in memory of Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope to a graduate student in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. The student shows great promise in the field of education. Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope is remembered for his passion for education and his significant contributions to the public education system of British Columbia in the 1800s.

Leave a Reply