SoTL Specialists

Student partnerships are at the heart of the work we do at ISoTL. The uniqueness of our SoTL Seed Program is founded on the expertise of several graduate students, who work closely with faculty on their SoTL inquiries. As Lock et al. (2021) suggest, such partnerships “enhance teaching and learning practices, as well as foster greater student engagement in higher education and create opportunities for students to develop their scholarly capacity” (p. 1). At ISoTL, we believe that the distinctive nature of our student-faculty partnerships in SoTL is integral to SoTL practice at UBC, and serves as a model for how SoTL inquiries can be taken up at both the local and international level. 

Learn more about the SoTL Specialist experience by viewing a video summarizing their views on personal and professional growth.

Lock, J., Johnson, C., Hill, L., Ostrowdun, C., & da Rosa dos Santos, L. (2021). From Assistants to Partners: A Framework for Graduate Students as Partners in SoTL Research. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 9(2), n2.

  • Danielle Burrell-Kim

    Danielle Burrell-Kim [at]

    PhD student, Language and Literacy Education

    Danielle completed her MA in Teaching English as a Second language at UBC, and she teaches English for Academic Purposes in a higher education context in the U.S. Her research interests include language ideologies and gender socialization and performance in education. In addition, she extends these topics to games studies research, examining how language ideologies and hegemonic notions of gender are represented in video games and media.

  • Leilani Forby

    Leilani Forby

    lforby [at]

    PhD student, Cognitive Psychology

    Leilani received a Master’s in cognitive science from UBC, and a Master’s in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. Prior to her studies at UBC, she was as a behavior interventionist for children and adolescents with varying disabilities, and a behavioral coach in programs that provided social skills training for autistic individuals. Through her research, Leilani hopes to help autistic individuals achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals.

  • Marissa Hall

    Marissa Hall

    marissa.hall [at]

    Master’s student, School & Applied Child Psychology

    Marissa’s research focuses on self-regulation and its role in children’s social and emotional development. Through her research, she hopes to support students with diverse learning needs and help teachers foster an environment that provides rich opportunities for students to engage in self-regulation. Marissa also dedicates her time working with teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder to develop and build on their social skills.

  • Martin Dammert

    Martin Dammert

    mdammert [at]

    Master’s student, Human Development, Learning, and Culture

    Martin is an educational psychologist with previous experience in educational research and teaching (in secondary and tertiary education). His research interests include social perspectives of learning and teaching and motivational phenomena across educational settings and cultures. Through his research, he hopes to support students’ and teacher’s learning, development, and well-being.

  • Matty Jullamon

    Matty Jullamon

    mjullamon [at]

    PhD student, Human Development, Learning, & Culture

    Matty’s research interests include critical thinking and inquiry-based learning in the science classroom. Prior to joining ISoTL, she worked as a research associate for a non-profit organization, where she conducted quantitative research to investigate the impact of a literacy-based program on student learning outcomes. She received her B.A in psychology from Whitman College and her M.A in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

  • Scott Robertson

    Scott Robertson

    scrobert [at]

    PhD Candidate, Curriculum & Pedagogy

    Prior to his doctoral studies, Scott enjoyed sixteen years as a secondary teacher in Vancouver, where he has also been a youth soccer coach for over thirty years. His research interests include teacher autonomy and the dynamics of curricular relationships as well as mentoring and teacher education, within the scope of qualitative methodologies.

  • Siyi Cheng

    Siyi Cheng

    siyi.cheng [at]

    PhD student, Educational Studies

    Siyi’s research interests include student development, higher education internationalization and global migration. She managed co-curricular education among diverse student bodies at New York University in Shanghai. Siyi promotes ethical and critical internationalization. She holds bachelors in English and Sociology and received M.A. in Pacific & Asian Studies from University of Victoria (Canada).

  • Teija Yli-Renko

    Teija Yli-Renko

    teijay [at]

    Master’s student, School & Applied Child Psychology

    Teija’s research interests surround inclusionary practices of those with developmental disabilities and learning differences. Her background as a research assistant gave her knowledge on patient-oriented research as well as child and youth systems of care. She brings a keen interest on better understanding key stakeholder perspectives and integrating experiences in the examination of learning outcomes within an ecological framework to SoTL projects.

  • Trinh Nguyen

    Trinh Nguyen

    trinh.nguyen [at]

    PhD student, Library, Archival and Information Sciences

    Trinh has a Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian RMIT University in Vietnam and an MBA from the University of Hawaii. Her business background includes over eight years working as a market research specialist and business development manager. Trinh is interested in combining the tools in Education and Business Administration to embrace people development and human resource management. Trinh was also a project leader in the UBC Community Leadership Program.

  • Xinke Wan

    Xinke Wan

    xinke.wan [at]

    PhD student, Human Development, Learning, and Culture

    Xinke joined ISoTL in 2018. Since then she has supported faculty members across UBC in a variety of SoTL projects, including community-based learning, instructor feedback, first-year student experience, and teamwork. Xinke has a background in educational psychology and specializes in qualitative inquiry and methods. Outside SoTL, Xinke’s research includes self-regulated learning, young adult identity development and self-authorship, and teacher education.

  • Yue Mao

    Yue Mao

    yue.mao [at]

    PhD student, Measurement, Evaluation & Research Methodology

    Yue is interested in conducting educational research in a scientific manner. So she delves into quantitative methodologies in her study at UBC. Her research in substantive areas surrounds academic and vocational interests, and decision-making (e.g., choosing college majors, entrepreneurial intention). She received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Education from Zhejiang University, China.