Dr. Jameson D. Lopez

Assistant Professor, College of Education, Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona
Man smiling at the camera

2021 Graduate Student Fellow

Dr. Lopez is currently working on a project Kwanamii, and has finished the initial short film. The project explores relationships among the Kwanamii (warrior spirit), nation-building, and postsecondary education. “The findings contribute to the further development of survey items on Kwanamii to be used in future postsecondary research among the Quechan tribe to reimagine how we look at educational outcomes based on the values of the community.”

Dr. Lopez says the project is significant for several reasons: “First, having these stories told on film contributes to knowledge mobilization by highlighting Quechan veteran stories to increase the visibility of the Quechan nation to a broader public and making the research accessible. Furthermore, the project explores the relationships among the warrior spirit, nation-building, and postsecondary education. In previous research, we have framed the desire to give back as nation-building and find the subsequent positive influence on outcomes such as 1st to 2nd-year college persistence and graduation rates.”

What this project reveals is that “the desire to give back and nation-building may be linked to more traditional ways of knowing and being. Such as Kwanamii. Furthermore, Kwanamii is a community value that is reflective of traditional tribal education that Quechan students should learn and likely a better measure of educational achievement than other mainstream educational achievement measures.”

Developing these items from the community helps researchers reimagine the study of higher education among Indigenous peoples. Check out more of Dr. Lopez’s work at www.jamesondlopez.com