About Creating Futures

About the Staff

Peter W. Dowrick Ph.D. is a Professor of Disability Studies and Graduate Studies in Psychology at University of Hawai‘i. He has wide experience working with people marginalized by culture, disability, mental health, and other considerations. His consultation on prevention and intervention extends to 31 states and 21 countries. His overarching contribution has been in the concepts of feedforward and creating futures, applied in situations of personal safety, serious mental illness, social behavior, sports and recreation, daily living, literacy, academic skills, health, housing, management, and jobs, among others. He is also Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska; Honorary Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland; and “Father of Video Self Modeling.”

JoAnn W.L. Yuen, Ed.D. is an Associate Professor of Disability Studies and has been Principal Investigator on a variety of USDoE grants, including, Community Technology Center (Full TLT2: Teen Literacy Through Technology) and Native Hawai‘i Education Grants (Hana Like: Education of Native Hawaiians). Current implementation and research projects are community-based and generate best practices to promote early intervention and pre-K transitions, literacy, self-determination and advocacy, persistence and self-efficacy, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Yuen has more than 20 years experience with Hawai‘i Departments of Health and Education; and numerous for-profit and non-profit organizations that serve children and families who are at-risk.

Weol Soon Kim-Rupnow, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i. She has been an educator for over two decades, teaching K-8 and college students in both Korea and the U.S.A. She specializes in literacy improvement for K-12 English language learners (ELL) and support to diverse populations, applying her educational psychology and technology backgrounds. She has headed several literacy and disability projects funded by the U.S. DOE, written numerous grants and journal articles, and presented at many conferences.

Caryl H. Hitchcock, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies and Associate Graduate Faculty in the field of Special Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is an educational researcher who specializes in programs to promote literacy for children who are ELL, at-risk or have identified disabilities. She has more than 15 years experience working with the Hawaii State Department of Education as a consultant and school psychologist, and she developed the Molokai ACE Reading program that serves culturally and linguistically diverse children. She has published articles on literacy, video self-modeling and multicultural education; presented at numerous national and international conferences; and trained teachers and community members in the menu of ACE programs. She and her colleagues received the Hawai‘i Educational Research Association’s distinguished paper award in 2002 and 2009.

Chuan Chang Ph.D. has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Hawai‘i. She is Assistant Specialist and program evaluator for a variety of Creating Futures projects. Her research interests include evaluation of community-based intervention programs, cultural competence issues, and positive immigrant youth development. She has strong quantitative research skills and has done external and internal program evaluation using mixed methods for several federal and state funded projects, including a NSF RDE STEM project and community-based literacy development projects.

Elisapeta Alaimaleata has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. Born and raised in Samoa, Alaimaleata was an elementary teacher for 9 years and has extensive experience with diverse communities where English is a second language. She is fluent in Samoan and is passionate about Samoan language preservation and culture. She currently works as lead ACE trainer, consultant and data collector. She was project coordinator for 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants in Hawai‘i and Pohnpei and is experienced with implementing multi-site projects. She is the director and founder of the first Samoan Language School, Le Fetuao serving Hawai’i-born Samoan youth on the island of Oahu.

Alok Rajouria, PhD. is a Junior Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies and brings with him more than ten years of work experience and knowledge in program planning and development, monitoring, and evaluation. Rajouria is an experienced researcher in education, technology, literacy, and issues of cultural competence. He holds a PhD degree in Social Welfare from University of Hawai‘i and has worked with rural and urban communities of South Asia and Hawai‘i. His work as a social scientist with non-profit organizations took him to marginalized communities in developing countries like Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Dr. Rajouria is of Nepalese origin and keeps keen interest in video and other educational technologies.

Yoko Kitami has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. She was born and raised in Japan. She is a Junior Specialist with Creating Futures at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research focuses on International people who speak English as a second language, their development and intervention. Her current research is on Needs of Parents of Children with Autism who Speak English as a Second Language.

Loryn Gum, M.Ed., is a Junior Specialist serving as the Coordinator for the ELL-ACE Project, which trains teachers in improving the English literacy skills of K-12 ELL students in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, and the Marshall Islands. She has a B.A. in Teaching ESL and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (ESL). Her primary career focus has been on working with immigrant and foreign adults in academic, literacy, workplace, and healthcare programs with the University of Hawai‘i and other local colleges, Hawai‘i DOE, City and County of Honolulu, and local healthcare organizations. Her expertise is in curriculum and materials design, program development and coordination, instruction delivery, and communication with ESL populations.

Melodi Wynne has a Master’s degree in Community and Cultural Psychology, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. Wynne is a member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. She will return to her people to teach at the Spokane Tribal College, and introduce the research process to students as a powerful tool that Indigenous people can define, do, and use for themselves. She currently works as a graduate research assistant at Creating Futures, and is especially interested in the transformative power of Video Feedforward as conceptualized by Dr. Peter Dowrick, which was an integral component in her Master’s thesis.

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