Advocating for parent-scholars
Tina Cheuk, MA ’07, PhD ’19, gave birth to her first child eight months before starting a doctoral program at GSE in 2014. She remembers trying to find a room to pump breast milk on campus during her first week of classes. “I could pump at my open cubicle,” she recalls. “I could pump in the restroom. Or I could walk 15 minutes across campus to the nearest lactation space.”
That quandary and others—like the challenge of finding quality child care and health insurance—motivated her to become an advocate for other parent-scholars who struggled to navigate family and academic life at Stanford. Cheuk co-founded two organizations on campus, Mothers in Academia and the Student Parent Alliance, while embarking on her doctoral research, which explores ways of teaching literacy to students—especially English learners—in K-12 science classrooms.
A first-generation college and graduate student herself who came to the United States from Hong Kong at age 7, Cheuk is deeply familiar with the difficulty of navigating educational environments that fall short on inclusivity. “The goal of a lot of my work is to shift cultural norms and institutions toward equity,” she says. “I want to create learning communities that work for everyone.”