For Immediate Release
From the San José State University (SJSU) Center for Collaborative Research Excellence in Education (CCREE)
SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY – CENTER FOR COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION (CCREE) has awarded a 3-year Doctoral Fellowship to Sofia Fojas through partnership funding provided by the SJSU Ed.D. Leadership Program and the Connie L. Lurie College of Education.
Dr. Brent Duckor, Director of SJSU’s CCREE says the goal of the multi-year fellowship is to engage in applied research that addresses and advances equitable outcomes for students in foster care and students experiencing homelessness in the K-12 population. He notes that this fellowship will provide advanced training in quantitative and qualitative research methods and opportunities for engagement in education policy with a focus on moving research into spheres of professional training and practice. We are extremely pleased and honored to have Ms. Sofia Fojas with us, said Duckor.
“I look forward to serving as a doctoral fellow at San José State University and studying policy for students experiencing homelessness and youth receiving foster care services. I am ready to step into the next phase of my life. I chose to pursue my doctoral studies in the Ed.D. Leadership program here among many other programs because here I see an opportunity for serving as a catalyst for large-scale change at the policy level for the most disenfranchised students in our education system” says Ms. Fojas.
Sofia Fojas was born in Hawaii to immigrant parents and moved with her family in the 1970’s to San Jose, California where she graduated from high school and returned to Hawaii to earn a degree in anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Ms. Fojas has served as a music educator for twenty-seven years, a public school music teacher (grades 2-12) and an administrator for the arts in two school districts in Northern California.
Sofia is currently serving as the Arts Coordinator for Santa Clara County of Education. She is the regional Arts lead at the state level in California, and also serves as a board member of a national arts education organization.
Sofia is a professional violinist and performs with San Francisco Bay Area local and regional ensembles. Sofia has performed with Los Cenzontles and recorded with them on an album of the Chieftains. She has played in backup orchestras behind Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Smokey Robinson, and Johnny Mathis. Passionate about the role of art and music in transforming lives, Sofia Fojas brings a powerful lens to the study of policy change that puts the whole curriculum back into focus, say her doctoral advisors, Dr. Brent Duckor and Dr. Lorri Capizzi. After a long fascination with STEAM education, “Her vision of La cultura cura – culturally specific arts can be the foundation of authentic interventions for students experiencing homelessness and youth in foster care, each of whom need our support and connection now more than ever,” says Dr. Capizzi.
As Sofia notes, “The success of any effective academic intervention is rooted in connecting with the heart, not only the head. The arts can make that emotional connection that I believe is critical to effectively addressing and bridging the opportunity gap for our most vulnerable youth. I have combined my love for and commitment to culturally responsive arts education my whole life. This fellowship will help me bring to life even deeper arts education work aimed at diversity, equity, inclusion, and most importantly, access for our most underserved students across the state.”