ACE Alumnus Clinches Kappa Delta Pi’s 2018 Presidents’ Scholarship


June 20, 2018

Christine Dickson

Christine Dickson

Content Marketing Manager

Joseph Chan didn’t expect much when he applied for Kappa Delta Pi’s 2018 Presidents’ Scholarship, an honor reserved for one member “dedicated to leadership and service in Kappa Delta Pi.”

A graduate of American College of Education’s Certificate in Advanced Graduate Study program and the torchbearer of the college’s KDP chapter, Chan is used to keeping his head down and doing the work.

But this week, when the international honor society in education unveiled the 2018 honorees, Chan got the confirmation he hadn’t allowed himself to hope for–he won.

“I was super excited,” he says of the win, which includes a $750 award designation. “I shared [the news] with my entire family, all my friends and coworkers. It was very unexpected. I mean, I did put a lot of work into it, but there are so many people competing, so it’s such a good feeling. I feel very honored that I have the opportunity to use the scholarship to further my education and use it to serve my community.”

For more about the academic advisor and Ph.D. student’s plans for the scholarship money, his experience as a KDP chapter leader, and his plans for world academic domination, see our Q&A below!

ACE: So let’s start with the first question on everyone’s mind: How do you plan to use the scholarship money? 

Joseph: This is a huge part that I included in my scholarship essay. Part of my dissertation for my Ph.D. is looking at incorporating more technology in K-12 schools, so I plan to use the scholarship to fund research for K-12 in the Los Angeles school district. I hope to look at the different charter schools specifically within LA and, looking at low-income communities and some of the resources that they’re lacking, determine how I can be an asset to these schools to get the resources that they need.

I see it as research money, so I’m looking at it like, “How can I make this money work for my community?” I really want to give back to my community because I grew up with the L.A. school district and I want to give back to those who helped raise me educationally.

A: It’s my understanding that you got a glowing recommendation from [Associate Director of the Office of Academic Excellence] Erin Maurer (pictured below). Can you talk about your relationship with her and how it compares to the other relationships you developed in your time with ACE?

J: OK, Erin is the most top-notch person I’ve spoken to at ACE. 

I loved all my professors. In fact, I was trying to think to myself like, “Was there any bad experience or even a mediocre experience at ACE?” No. I loved every experience with everyone I interacted with, but Erin really stood out. She’s highly responsive. Every time I had a question, if I needed help with my resume, she was more than willing to say, “OK, we can help you with that.” Or if I had some suggestions and needed help with outreach, or fundraising, or an idea that I wanted to implement at ACE that could help student engagement, Erin was so receptive. She went above and beyond. 

I have colleagues right now—I work full-time at Trident University International—and even though I meet with people face-to-face locally, if I were to compare, [Erin] goes above and beyond even compared to those I work together with day-to-day. I think we built a really strong working relationship where she would help me, and I would help her with anything related to Kappa Delta Pi.

A: I’m just amazed that you’ve managed to continue your work with Kappa Delta Pi, even as you work toward your Ph.D. at Trident. What does your role as president look like now compared to when you were a student still trying to build the chapter?

J: Now, I create monthly newsletters for Kappa Delta Pi, updating our members on all the things that they can take part in, whether that’s webinars, professional development, news on education or fundraisers and activities that we have. In the past, I spearheaded Kappa Delta Pi Buddies, where I would pair up different Kappa Delta Pi members at ACE so they could meet another colleague or student that they hadn’t met before.

I also helped with organizing the leadership team, interviewing them and making sure that everyone had adequate support to fulfill their duties. I recruited nearly 500 members in total for the chapter, and I serve as the liaison between our regional coordinator, the ACE administrators, and the members.

A: Being as involved as you were, how do you look back on your time at ACE and what would be your advice to incoming students?

J: It was a very enriching experience, but mostly because I interacted and put myself out there with faculty, with administrators, with students. I think that, being in an online university, it does have its challenges of…you don’t see everyone face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t change your experience. I feel like if I didn’t do what I did—interacting with everyone and putting myself out there—I wouldn’t have grown as much as I did.

The coursework itself it was rigorous, and I conquered everything because I asked for help, I communicated with administrators when I felt like my experience could be improved, and I worked hard to manage my time. So my advice for other students: Manage your time well, always ask for help, put yourself out there. Everyone’s in the same boat and everyone’s wanting to use this education to better themselves and their communities, so just stay positive and do your work and everything will turn out OK in the end.  

A: What does “OK” look like for you? What’s your end goal?  

J: My end goal is becoming a faculty member at a university. It could be remote, it could be in-person, but just still taking part in the education sphere…and contributing to the world of research.  

A: And in terms of ACE’s KDP chapter, where would you like to see that go?

J: I’d love to see more members taking part in chapter leadership. For example, I see a lot of opportunity to create events that are smaller-scale in different areas. We have a good population in Chicago, we have a good population in Indianapolis, we have a good population in Southern California; it’d be nice to have meet-ups so that our members can meet each other face-to-face in various settings all across the world. It’s a lot of work, [but] that’s where I see the chapter going in the future.

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