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Earning a Ph.D. in Literacy Studies at UW: The Story of My Experience

June 4, 2018

Written by: Dilnoza Khasilova, Ph.D. student in Curriculum & Instruction, Literacy Studies

My name, Dilnoza, comes from the Persian language; Dil means heart or soul and Noz means kind or gentle.  The reason I explained the meaning of my name is that I have a keen interest in foreign languages.  I come from a diverse international background. I was born in Ivanovo, Russia but I grew up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Central Asia).  From childhood on I have been interested in travelling, learning foreign languages, exploring cultures, and dancing.

My family played a key role on my education.  Both of my parents were educated and worked in higher education; I followed their path. Literacy is crucial to my family.  My mother introduced me to the world by reading to me every night as a child. During my high school and college years, I was very active both academically and with extra-curricular activities.  I graduated from Smolensk University for Humanities in Russia where I obtained a degree in linguistics. I taught English as a Foreign and Second Language in both Russia and Uzbekistan. I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in ESL at the University of Wyoming in 2012.  After earning my Master’s degree at UW and working at the Student Success Center of Laramie County Community College as an Adult Basic Educator, I decided to apply for a Phd degree and continue my education. Today I am earning a PhD in Literacy Studies in the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. I am following my life’s motto, which is an Uzbek saying: Beshikdan qabrgacha ilm izla. Seek knowledge from the birth to your grave.

Dilnoza in blue dress on stairs at Bangali Night at University of WyomingPicture: Traditional adras cho’pon outfit from my home town in Uzbekistan, Central Asia. The photo was taken during the Bangali Night at the University of Wyoming, March 2018.

Personal Changes

My doctoral education has provided many opportunities for personal growth in my life.  For example, I have learned to express myself more clearly and succinctly as a result of my in-depth reading, writing, and coursework.  I have also learned to listen more deeply and thoughtfully to others – even if their ideas are different from my own. Because doctoral study is intense and time – consuming, I have learned to be self-disciplined and manage my time effectively. Finally, I have become a more thoughtful decision maker; I am able to set both long-term and short-term goals and work towards them.

Dilnoza standing in front of white board with book in handPicture: At the Tashkent State Pedagogical University, January 2018.

Professional Opportunities

I have engaged in a wide variety of professional opportunities during my doctoral study at UW.  First, I was selected as a grant fellow in the David Bauer Grant Writing Project. During this fellowship I participated in professional workshops and trainings focused on grant writing.  Working and meeting directly with Dr. Bauer, I also wrote several grants, and subsequently I received a study abroad research travel grant. Second, I was selected as a UW College of Education Inaugural Academic Writing Fellows Initiative, a position mostly awarded to faculty.  This fellowship has given me the opportunity to work closely with my mentor, Professor Tochon, a leading scholar in Language Education Policy Studies, World Language Education, and Second Language Acquisition. One of the goals of the fellowship was to publish articles in top tier journals. In order to achieve the goals, we participated in writing retreats and met with our writing groups each week to discuss our writings.  As a result of my involvement in the Academic Writing Fellows Initiative, one of the articles was published in Planet Earth: Plurilingual Language Education Policy for 21st Century book and several research papers were presented at two national conferences.

Global Leadership Development

My graduate work has promoted my leadership both locally and globally.  I developed the UW World Language and Culture Program (WLCP) on the UW campus as part of my Master’s project in Curriculum and Instruction. The UW WLCP is a nonformal learning program that promotes diversity, service learning, cross-cultural understandings, and knowledge development about world cultures and languages, serving both UW and the broader Laramie community.  I have even presented the UW’s WLCP to colleagues of Tashkent State Pedagogical Institute in Uzbekistan.

five women and one mand stand in front of white board and behind table with papers on it. Picture: Tashkent, Uzbekistan Meeting with the faculty of Tashkent State Pedagogical Institute. January 2018.

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