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Enhancing Education Opportunities for Students in Peru and Beyond

photo of education center building in Peru
Education center in Peru
photo of Kayla Johnson
Dr. Kayla Johnson

Dr. Kayla Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, works collaboratively with Indigenous students and communities in the Peruvian Andes to align educational opportunities to their needs, values, and goals. Her team founded and operates an in-community education center where they put much of their research into action. Johnson’s team recently collaborated with first-generation Indigenous students who had migrated to urban Cusco from their rural highland and jungle communities to pursue postsecondary education. They used visual, participatory, and community-engaged approaches to understand the influence of educational experiences and migration on students’ identity development, wellbeing, and success. The project culminated in a public exhibition featuring students’ photos, narratives, orations, and recommendations for making their education more culturally grounded. This ongoing research will contribute to policy and practice to improve postsecondary educational opportunities for rural Indigenous students in Peru and beyond.