Omar Nunez Mendez

"I am very fortunate to work with Dr. Diane Dagenais who has been an inspiration to me, not only for her professionalism and knowledge but, because of her incredible educational sensitivity and commitment to teaching."

Degree/Program: Languages, Cultures and Literacies PhD

I'm originally from Oaxaca, Mexico where I obtained my BA in TEFL. In 1999 I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies in the U.S. where I completed my MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2007 I founded Ollin Tlahtoalli Center, a language and culture organization where national and international students gather to learn about Mexican culture through experiential academic programs. I'm also interested in issues around identity and migration; in particular, the impact migration has on children, their families and their education.

Please tell us how you first discovered your program.

I found out about this program through my previous work with the Faculty of Education and Professional Development Programs (PDP). I have collaborated with PDP since 2007 as the site coordinator for the International Module in Mexico. I have been working with indigenous children and youth in Mexico providing art-identity workshops and generating opportunities for children and youth to see their knowledge and traditions recognized and valued through art and video projects.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.

I chose SFU because of the previous collaboration between SFU and my Language and Culture Center Ollin Tlahtoalli in Oaxaca, Mexico and also because of SFU's humanistic approach to education.

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?

I am very fortunate to work with Dr. Diane Dagenais who has been an inspiration to me, not only for her professionalism and knowledge but, because of her incredible educational sensitivity and commitment to teaching. I have also had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Michael Warsh, Coordinator of Professional Programs, whose amazing dedication to professional development has had a tremendous impact on the professionalization of teacher education programs at SFU.

What inspires you to learn and continue your education?

My desire to see more just and equitable societies for future generations of students, especially the less privileged ones.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school in the Faculty of Education?

A tremendous opportunity for personal and professional growth.