Alii, my name is Virginia Ngilmau Rivard Luka. I was born on the Micronesian island of Palau, and raised on Guam, where I lived for 25 years. In 1995, I graduated from Simon Sanchez High School in the village of Yigo. From summer 2006 until spring 2009, I attended Rogue Community College. I transferred to Southern Oregon University in fall 2009. I am proud to be a Diversity Scholar and McNair Scholar double majoring in Elementary Education and Anthropology. After earning my undergraduate degree, I hope to continue my education and earn a doctoral degree in a program that focuses on Multicultural Education, Social and Cultural Foundations of Education, or Cultural Anthropology. My education goals include learning and understanding the effects of society, culture and education as well as being an active participant in preserving and teaching indigenous knowledge. In the future, I look forward to helping to improve the quality of education of all students, as well as being an educator and mentor to future teachers.
In my mother's native language of Palauan, "Alii", means "Hello". The Republic of Palau is made up of several small islands, together they are about 177 square miles total. There are an estimated 20,000 people who live in Palau. My father was an American in the military. He met my mother on her home island of Angaur, where he was stationed. Being from Micronesia, I am frequently questioned about my language, culture, and nationality, which I am always happy to share.
I was raised to deeply care for my family and community. On top of being a full-time student, wife and mother, I am also currently a part of three clubs at SOU: Ho'opa'a Hawaii Club, International Students Association, and the Education Club. I am a volunteer at the SOU Women's Resource Center, as well as the Multicultural Senator for ASSOU. I truly enjoy creating a positive impact in my community. In 2010 and 2011, I took part in a fundraising event called Polar Plunge. I jumped into a freezing pool in support of Special Olympic athletes in Oregon. As a person who loves mathematics, I take pleasure in tutoring struggling students free of charge.
I believe my role as an educator, inside and outside of the classroom, is not only to be a mentor for my students, but also a life-long learner alongside them. I agree with the axiology of pragmatism; my personal experiences and meaning is developed by my environment. "Regarding aesthetic values, for pragmatists what is beautiful is not determined by some ideal but by what we experience when we see, feel, and touch." (Webb, Metha, & Jordan, 2007, p.64)
Teaching is a very challenging, but rewarding profession. I believe I can make a difference in the lives of my students, and our community if I provide them with the right tools: a high quality education, positive motivation, the importance of showing respect for others, and effective communication skills.
Dr. Younghee Kim, Education
SOU McNair Scholars Journal Spring 2012 – Vol. 8
2011 McNair Scholar Symposium
|Presentation: Palau: Social and Cultural Changes in a Micronesian Paradise (PDF)|
2011 Southern Oregon Arts & Research (SOAR)
|Poster: Spring Into Arts & Crafts! (PDF)|
SOU McNair Scholars Journal Spring 2011 – Vol. 7
Palau: Impacts of Education and Cultural Changes
(Published in Metamophosis, a publication of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, Spring 2011)
2010 McNair Scholar Symposium
|Slide Presentation: Palau: History of Education and Cultural Impacts (PDF)|
|Video Presentation: Palau: History of Education and Cultural Impacts|