Meet our 2023 Award Winners

At ARNA, we firmly believe that actions make the difference in our communities. Our award winners epitomize the commitment of individuals who have a profound impact on their causes, conveying a message of strength. On this occasion, we've invited our 2023 winners to share what inspires them to continue their involvement in action research.

2023-21B Suzy Thomas

Suzy Thomas

Suzy Thomas & Aubrey Uresti

2023 ARNA Community Development Award

We have multiple sources of inspiration for our ongoing involvement in action research! These include our active engagement with ARNA since the inaugural conference in 2013 and our deep love of the ARNA community. We experience great joy in our role as Co-Chairs of the Action Research Communities (ARCs), highlighting the ARCs during the conferences and finding creative ways to facilitate ARC conversations about action research in the months between conferences.

We also teach about action research in our work with graduate students who are going into the field of school counseling, where action research principles support them in studying themselves in their own environment to improve their practice. We see action research as a powerful avenue for effecting change in meaningful ways that are aligned with our values and as a methodology that helps us to “walk our talk” in our own commitment to making a difference, enacting anti-racist teaching and counseling principles in our work, and being advocates for social justice.

Aubrey Uresti

Suzy Thomas & Aubrey Uresti

2023 ARNA Community Development Award

We have multiple sources of inspiration for our ongoing involvement in action research! These include our active engagement with ARNA since the inaugural conference in 2013 and our deep love of the ARNA community. We experience great joy in our role as Co-Chairs of the Action Research Communities (ARCs), highlighting the ARCs during the conferences and finding creative ways to facilitate ARC conversations about action research in the months between conferences.

We also teach about action research in our work with graduate students who are going into the field of school counseling, where action research principles support them in studying themselves in their own environment to improve their practice. We see action research as a powerful avenue for effecting change in meaningful ways that are aligned with our values and as a methodology that helps us to “walk our talk” in our own commitment to making a difference, enacting anti-racist teaching and counseling principles in our work, and being advocates for social justice.

Jean McNiff

Jean McNiff

2023 Eduardo Flores Leadership Award

From the Sage Research Methods website, Jean McNiff describes her concept of action research. As you read this, you can clearly see why she received the 2023 ARNA Eduardo Flores Leadership Award and how she stays involved.

Dave McPartlan

Dave McPartlan

2023 ARNA Promising Researcher

I was a teacher for over 35 years’ with the final 12 years as the pastoral lead in a large secondary comprehensive school in the north of England. I got the opportunity to pursue a PhD looking at a school mental health strategy through the eyes of the young people in the school. This action research project resulted in a way of working which promoted young people’s rights in school whilst also delivering an approach that benefitted the young people involved. Having now completed my PhD, I am now working with a number of school communities to develop my research as ‘youth led school improvement projects’.

These projects have the potential to shift the power balance in school and develop young people as action researchers and activists with the prospect of improving not only their own lives but those of their peers. My continued excitement as an action researcher comes from the knowledge that these projects have the potential to support young people to improve their own lives.

Milahd Makooi

Mihald Makoii

2023 ARNA Social Justice Award

As someone who has grown up with learning disabilities I immediately saw the importance of action research in engaging youth in education. What I have discovered, however, goes far beyond simply engaging youth. Before the 2022-23 school year, I lost my friend and roommate when he was struck by a drunk driver. I shared that story with the 8th graders in my social studies class, and they wanted to take action to help restore the loss and keep other people safe. While we worked with politicians to make physical changes to the street, the real impact of the action research project lived inside both the students and me.

We were unified, a bunch of scrappy action researchers co-creating a space that didn’t feel like normal school. As I start a new academic year at a new school, I’m excited to see how action research can help me transcend engagement and find something truly special in the classroom.

Click on each award to read the response

ARNA Recognizes the following people who have made significant contributions to the Action Research Community through their work. The following awards are as follows:

  • Eduardo Flores Leadership Award
  • Promising Action Researcher Award
  • ARNA Community Development Award
  • ARNA Social Justice Award

Eduardo Flores Leadership Award

As one of the founders of ARNA, Eduardo Flores not only worked diligently to improve education in Mexico but was instrumental in building the initial structures of ARNAEduardos work to build an inclusive ARNA in both Spanish and English, as well his incredible support for the initial conference in San Francisco, mean that he had a significant impact on the future of ARNA despite being involved for only short timeThis award acknowledges an individual who embodies Eduardos leadership.



Jean McNiff, independent researcher and writer, is Professor Emerita at York St John University, UK, and also Visiting Professor at universities in China, Malaysia, and South Africa. One of the most prolific and widely cited action research authors, Jean was instrumental in the initial conversations that led to the formation of the Action Research Network of the Americas. An ARNA member since its inception, Jean delivered ARNA’s very first keynote address titled “The invention and Reinvention of Knowledge” at the inaugural ARNA Conference in San Francisco, California in May of 2013. Jean’s books on action research are core texts in professional education courses globally, and she is often invited to give lectures and provide consultancy work for organizations across the professions. Her latest publication entitled Representations of the Academic: Challenging Assumptions in Higher Education (Routledge, 2023) “challenges widely accepted, traditionalist scientific notions of ‘the academic’ – prevalent in higher education institutions globally – in order to promote best practice, and redefine the field as accessible, inclusive and forward thinking.” She believes in the power of so-called ordinary people to speak for themselves, so she tries to bring the university to everyday contexts and everyday contexts into the university, for it is only by involving everyone, she feels, that the world will become a better place for us all.


In addition to its substantial contribution to the growing field of action and participatory forms of research, the Educational Action Research Journal has partnered with ARNA to produce special issues devoted to networking and knowledge democracy and has been a steadfast supporter of ARNA since its inception.

In 2022 the Educational Action Research Journal celebrated its 30th year of publication, having begun in 1992 as an outgrowth of our sister organization CARN, the Collaborative Action Research Network. The journal publishes accounts of a range of action research and related studies, in education and across the professions, with the aim of making their outcomes widely available and exemplifying the variety of possible styles of reporting. 

The journal continues its leadership in establishing and maintaining a review of the literature of action research and providing a forum for dialogue on the methodological and epistemological issues, inviting different approaches to be subjected to critical reflection and analysis. 

With this award, ARNA recognizes the vast and continued influence of the Educational Action Research Journal.


Candace Kaye, Mexico

Candace Kaye’s leadership within the organization was previously recognized in 2015 when she received ARNA’s Social Justice Award. At that time, she was honored for exemplifying ARNA’s commitment to the development of worldwide efforts in support of teacher action research. Since then, Candace continues to lead and engage our Mongolian university colleagues in collaborative research with a specific focus on action research projects, lectures, symposia, seminars, and workshops, while at the same time supporting the exchange of action research, practitioner research, and participatory research information and materials as an international outreach of ARNA. Candace also has continued to explore the development of distance technology in support of connecting action research to a worldwide community. To that end, she was key to the organization and implementation of the first virtual conference for ARNA in 2021. She gave considerable support by creating the call for papers and process for review and acceptance of proposals. She was then responsible for creating the program and working tirelessly in a leadership role on the local ARNA Organizing Conference Committee in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As with Eduardo, Candace continues her commitment to building an inclusive ARNA community that includes voices of the Global North, Global South and the rest of the world and providing support for both the current quality and significant future of ARNA.


Kurt Clausen, Canada

Just finishing his term as the Chair of Graduate Studies in Education at Nipissing University, Kurt has worked actively in the area of Action Research since he became Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Action Research (CJAR) almost twenty years ago.  In 2014, he founded the Canadian Association of Action Research in Education (CAARE) to create a venue that helped bring the country’s scattered action research community together.  Becoming involved with ARNA when its conference was held in Toronto in 2015, he has been happy to act as lead editor for ARNA’s 2016 proceedings and to lend support with the 2017 and 2019 conferences.  Starting this year, ARNA members now sit as liaisons on CJAR and CAARE, strengthening the communication network of action researchers across the Americas.


Miguel Angel Lopez Montoya, Mexico

Miguel Angel Lopez Montoya from Mexico was the first recipient of ARNA’s Social Justice Award in 2014. At that time, we acknowledged his considerable support in putting out the call for and accepting proposals, and then putting the final touches on the program and abstract documents for our inaugural conference in San Francisco. Since then, he has tirelessly led the ARNA en Español Action Research Community and has served on the ARNA Coordinating Group since its inception. In addition to serving as program co-chair for the 2018 San Diego conference, Miguel has overseen production of the Spanish language ARNA Annual Report and last year chaired a pre-conference workshop for the first Glob al Assembly for Knowledge Democracy titled “ARNA and the Future of Action Research in the Americas.” Dr. Miguel Angel Lopez Montoya is the first member of ARNA outside of the surviving network initiators to be honored in the name of Eduardo Flores, and Miguel Angel, like Eduardo, has worked to build an inclusive ARNA in both Spanish and English, providing incredible support for the annual conference and having a significant impact on the future of ARNA.

Joseph M. Shosh, USA

Joe has been active in ARNA leadership since the creation of the network. Beginning in the summer of 2012, he was one of the five “network initiators” who worked together to form an Action Research Network for the Americas. Joe is professor and chair of the Education Department at Moravian College in Pennsylvania, where he also directs the action research based graduate education program. From the beginning Joe has served diligently and tirelessly, mentoring new members, overseeing the implementation of ARNA’s strategic plan, and leading authorship of the ARNA constitution at the Highlander Center at the 2016 Conference in Tennessee. Joe has provided steady leadership for all five years of ARNA’s existence and has demonstrated repeatedly the qualities associated with the legacy of Eduardo Flores.


Margaret Riel, USA

Margaret has been active in ARNA leadership since the creation of the network. Beginning in the summer of 2012, she was one of the five “network initiators”  who worked together to form an action research network for the Americas. Margaret immediately recruited new ARNA members and dove right into web development work. Within a very short period of time ARNA was able to launch a website and to use it as a platform to spread the word about the inaugural conference and to highlight the steps being taken to build a strong network. From the beginning Margaret has served diligently and tirelessly and has mentored new members, helping them to find meaningful involvement in ARNA. She has provided steady leadership for all four years of ARNA’s existence and has demonstrated repeatedly the qualities associated with the legacy of Eduardo Flores.

» Link to Margaret's Center for Collaborative Action Research and action research tutorial.

arna_headshots_cathybruce_awardsCathy Bruce, Canada

No one has been more actively engaged in the leadership of ARNA since its inception than ARNA co-initiator and 2015 conference co-chair, Catherine Bruce.  Cathy serves as Associate Professor and Graduate Director of the Masters in Educational Studies program in the School of Education and Professional Learning at Trent University. In 2013, she was named one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. Cathy has more than 25 years of combined public school and university teaching experience and in addition to co-chairing this year’s ARNA conference and CARN Study Day, she co-chaired last year’s conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We have been most fortunate indeed to see the reach of Cathy’s profound influence on the action research of local practitioners throughout this year’s Study Day and Conference.

» Link to Cathy's research

Lonnie Rowell, USA

Lonnie is one of the initial members of the small group which has led to the creation of ARNA and indeed to our being here together this evening.  Those of this group who were part of that initial group recognize the significant influence of Lonnie’s vision throughout the establishment of this exciting and energizing organization.  Lonnie is tireless in his efforts to grow the network, document the history and progress of action research, and mentor those of us who aspire to keep up to him.  Today Lonnie referred to the work of ARNA as “building mutual respect and unleashing creativity.”  We know that we couldn’t have a better leader in this endeavor.

» Link to Action Research in School Counseling and  Social Publishers Foundation .


Promising Action Researcher Award

As indicated in the mission statement, ARNA unites college and university students and faculty conducting practitioner inquiry into teaching and learning with fellow action researchers in public schools, private schools, community settings and workplaces throughout the Americas. This award acknowledges an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to rigorous action research as well as valuing the  importance of developing knowledge in situ.


Dave McPartlan, USA

Dave McPartlan, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cumbria in the UK, is an exemplary member of ARNA’s YPAR Action Research Community and a most promising YPAR researcher. His dissertation titled “Young Researchers in Schools: A Participative Action Research Study Into the Efficacy of a Whole School Mental Health Strategy” describes a process of working with youth in an ethical and dialogic way to assess and revise a mental health program in a secondary school. A former teacher with many years of experience in senior leadership within the secondary sector in the UK, Dave is interested in developing his research from a mental health in schools perspective and from the methodological perspective of young people contributing to school improvement as co-researchers. He is interested in methodological innovation connected to young people as collaborators to ensure they are central to improving their own life chances and the lives of their peers.


Dane Stickney, USA

As indicated in the mission statement, ARNA unites college and university students and faculty conducting practitioner inquiry into teaching and learning with fellow action researchers in public schools, private schools, community settings and workplaces throughout the Americas. This award acknowledges an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to rigorous action research as well as valuing the importance of developing site-based knowledge and supporting the next generation of action researchers.

Dane is co-chair of the ARNA YPAR ARC. In January of 2022, he helped organize and host a Youth Voice showcase, where Denver-area youth shared their YPAR work on a Zoom hosted by ARNA. As part of a research-practice partnership (RPP) between CU-Denver, CU-Boulder, Rowan University, and Denver Public Schools, he has continued to support the DPS Student Voice and Leadership program in multiple ways. The entire program with his supportive influence is aimed at providing empowering and inclusive educational opportunities for youth who typically have not had that access. 


Donna Benson, Canada

Donna Benson was responsible for initiating ARNA’s “Sustaining Food Instability” Action Research Community. Donna successfully defended her thesis Improving Food Security in Penticton, British Columbia through Social Networking And Community Capacity-Building Using Participatory And Action Research” in the spring of 2021 to earn her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and may be accessed online at




Bernadette Varela, USA

As a Moravian College master’s degree candidate, Berni Varela made her first public presentations of her teacher action research at the University of San Diego’s Action Research Conference in 2012 followed by the 2014 ARNA conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Here in Montreal, Berni is presenting a paper titled “Why Even the Highest Achieving Public School Students Hate Writing and What To Do About It.” Berni gathered data for this study in her urban eastern Pennsylvania public school classroom and will graduate from New York’s Columbia University in 2020 with her doctorate in the teaching of English.



Just Research Group, University of San Diego

Just Research Group, University of San Diego Six graduate students in counseling at the University of San Diego, given the opportunity to explore the intersections of social justice and research through experiential learning chose to create a small-scale, short-term participatory action research project in collaboration with the youth component of a San Diego County community-based non-profit program with a mission to "disrupt the cycles of incarceration and poverty by helping people find their way to self-sufficiency." Group Leader Nicole Paragas along with group members Laura Gradiska, Danny Lee, Brittany Love, Julian Sesma, and Nhi Vu created and facilitated a three-workshop arts-based initiative in collaboration with participants in the community-based program's youth services component, which is focused on helping justice-involved youth overcome neglect, abuse, criminal backgrounds, addiction and other generational barriers to achieving self-sufficiency.

Chris Buttimer, USA

Chris recently completed his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his dissertation examined teachers who conduct Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) with their students in public schools. Chris taught middle school English in the Cambridge Public Schools for 6 years and worked with the Boston Public Schools in a variety of roles including organizing with teachers, students, and community activists in the Greater Boston area through the teacher activist group, TAG Boston.



arna_headshots_meganurbany_awardsMorgan Urbany, USA

An ARNA member since 2014, Morgan has distinguished herself over the past two years as a beginning action researcher. Her first action research was conducted as a graduate student-action researcher at the University of San Diego during 2014-2015, where she chose to initiate a youth participatory action research project during her fieldwork at an Alternative School for at-risk youth. This past fall, Morgan presented her latest action research at the CARN Conference in Braga, Portugal. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Morgan served as Team Leader for the ten person team of  graduate student volunteers who helped manage and continue the development of the University of San Diego’s Action Research in School Counseling web site. Morgan shows great promise both as an action researcher and as a leader in the future development of action research in the Americas and beyond.

» Link to Action Research in School Counseling.

arna_headshots_cathygriffin_awardsCathy Griffin, Canada

The ARNA Award for Promising Young Researcher is presented to Cathy Griffin. Cathy is from the Bluewater District School Board in Ontario and has been working tirelessly with her colleagues to improve teaching and learning through action research colleagues. Since earning her Master of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Brock University in 2011, she has written papers and made presentations with Jack Whitehead, Liz Campbell, and Jackie DeLong, among others. She is creator of the Bluewater Action Research Network, ten of whose members  presented their action research at the 2015 ARNA conference.

» Her keynote address to the Teacher Learning and Leading Program provides more details about her work.


arna_headshots_meredithcohen_awardsMeredith Cohen, USA 

Meredith's action research study examined the impact of support provided by the ESL teacher upon mainstream teachers’ and monitored and post-monitored ESL students’ academic, cultural, social, and emotional experiences in the context of middle school.  In her research, she examined how to support the teachers in the main stream classrooms who didn’t necessarily believe that these student required support because they had enrolled inthe main stream.  This is the so what – it is action research that is clearly making a real difference in the lives of ELL students  and is empowering other practitioners to be more reflective in their own practice and of their own beliefs to change their practice.  Meredith elected to undertake the action research to improve the lives of underserved students. Meredith will be presenting her work in a session called Letters to Param: Perceptions Versus realities Between Monitored & Post-Monitored ELLs and Their teachers in the Mainstreamed Secondary Classroom.

» Meredith's action research study may be accessed at

Camillo Manchola, Colombia

Camilo Manchola has been an extremely valuable and  active member of the Transition Coordinating Group. In this role, he helped chart the second year development of ARNA. He as embraced this leadership role in the action research community and provided insightful dedication to building the ARNA community in South America. When he moved to Brazil to pursue his doctorate, he continued his service to ARNA as a valued member of the the Web and Tech Development Team. He continues to make connections for ARNA in Columbia, Brazil and throughout South America. He has been working closely with ARNA to develop the plans and contacts for ARNA 2017 Conference in Columbia on the 40th Anniversary of the first World Symposium of Action Research convened in 1977.


ARNA Community Development Award

The organization and execution of the annual conference depends upon the ability of leaders to engage and motivate the community and to build strong connections with those knowledgeable others. These efforts require significant in-vestment of both time and energy, as well as a commitment to the mission and vision of ARNA. Of course, keeping ARNA moving forward during the non-conference months requires all kinds of outreach to recruit and retain members and sponsors. ARNA is most fortunate indeed to have benefitted from the spirit and tireless energy of this year’s Community Development Award Recipient.


Suzy Thomas and Aubrey Uresti

No members of ARNA have done more to support the development of our action research communities than our ARC Co-Chairs Suzy Thomas and Aubrey Uresti. Founding members of the organization, Thomas and Uresti were instrumental in helping to plan ARNA’s very first conference at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco in 2013. For the past three years, they have coordinated the ARCS with great charm, skill, and grace. A needs assessment helped them to determine how best to support ARC chairs as they went on to develop an inspirational new ARC webpage ( and the first in an ongoing series of virtual conference sessions to support ARC members at the Puerto Vallarta Conference in 2021. In addition to meeting and supporting ARC chairs throughout each academic year, Thomas and Uresti have hosted important new public virtual events, including, among others, a Fall Mixer, a YPAR event titled “Youth Voice and Research Showcase” featuring youth student researchers from Colorado public schools, and a Cross-ARC Collaboration in School-Based Settings. The 2023 Virtual Conference showcases ARNA’s varied and vibrant action research communities, including Community Development, Early Childhood Education, Graduate Studies, Health Equity, International Affairs, Musical Learning, PAR & Popular Education, School Counseling, School Leadership, Supporting the Teaching of Action Research, and YPAR.



Nathan has been a participant and leader within ARNA since the network held its debut conference in San Francisco in 2011. Since 2018, he has served in the continuous role of Treasurer of the Executive Committee of ARNA. In that role he was instrumental in securing the necessary ARNA’s 501(c)3 non-profit status and leading the transition from the financial infrastructure hosted by Moravian College to the current independent fiscal platform. 

A longtime editor and reviewer on the ARNA Proceedings Team, Nathan became Lead Editor in 2019 and has overseen the incorporation of the Proceedings into the Social Publishers Foundation catalog. His consistent attention to detail and guidance of the editorial team has provided the scholarly presentation of action research of the ARNA community to the wider world. 


Holly Marich, USA

Holly Marich is about to complete her third consecutive two-year term as ARNA Chair of Memberships and Sponsorships. In this capacity, she has coordinated ARNA’s annual membership campaign and both conference and institutional sponsor recruitment. She has overseen the design of ARNA’s two most recent membership brochures and leads ARNA’s Angel project to ensure that all conference sessions are well attended. Holly has worked tirelessly as a member of the Executive Committee over the last six years, serving as a key voice in support of the ARNA membership.




Rich McPherson, Canada

Rich McPherson serves as Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for the School of Education at Ontario’s Trent University. He officially began his work with ARNA as the videographer for the inaugural San Francisco conference in 2013 and has never stopped lending his most impressive talents to ARNA, leading the transition from the original ARNACONNECT to the current ARNAWEB. Rich currently serves the ARNA Executive Committee as the Web Development and Social Media Chair.



Rodney Beaulieu, USA

Dr. Rodney Bealieu served as lead editor of the 2017 and 2018 ARNA Conference Proceedings, overseeing submissions made in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and remaining calm and resolute throughout the nearly year-long process of producing ARNA's most complex Proceedings to date. In addition, Rodney served as Program Co-Chair for the 2018 ARNA San Diego conference. Working within diverse cultural and institutional contexts in Mexicali, Mexico and outreach to constituencies in California higher education as well as in Native American and Hispanic communities, Rodney has shown himself to be a flexible organizer, a steadfast colleague, and a person of principle.



Doris Santos, Colombia

ARNA has clearly benefited from Doris’ service as well as her spirit. Doris’s most visible contribution to ARNA community development was our very first South American conference, working tirelessly to build new connections throughout Colombia in support of a new south-north convergence. Associate Professor at Universidad Nacional Colombia (UNAL), Doris has research interests that include participatory action research, bilingual education, and critical ethnography of education.




John Peters, USA

ARNA has clearly benefited from John’s service as well as his spirit, and for this we are so pleased to recognize him. John was a founding member of ARNA and indicated early on that he was available to, as he often put it, “help out when needed.” ARNA leaders called on this availability at several key moments in the network’s early development. Of course, John’s most visible contribution to ARNA community development is this very conference, which we all are attending now. He agreed to chair the conference during a time when he was phasing out of his formal employment at the University of Tennessee. It would have been easy for him to say “thanks, but not thanks” to the invitation to chair an ARNA conference. But he didn’t, and he proceeded to work carefully and thoroughly in assembling what has become a milestone conference for ARNA: the most sponsors; a link with one of the leading social justice centers in the hemisphere; the introduction of new conference features while also respecting traditions established by previous conferences

ARNA Proceedings Editorial Team, USA and Canada

ARNA is a knowledge mobilization organization comprised entirely of volunteers committed to ARNA’s mission and vision. The ARNA Community Development Award goes to the members of the 2014 Proceedings Team, led most ably by Elena Polush from Ball State University, and comprised of Trent University’s Tara Flynn, West Chester University of Pennsylvania’s Heather Leaman, Ball State University’s Jose Martinez, and Moravian College’s Jamie Hill, published the first proceedings in record time and to universal acclaim. As the editors say in their preface to the inaugural issue, which is accessible from the ARNA home page. The proceedings represent authors who are the members of the action research global community. They live and work in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While being a diverse group of scholars and practitioners with different backgrounds and from various fields of practice and research, they share passion for action research, social justice, change, transformation, education, environment, livelihood and sustainability of communities, and collaboration, among other key commitments and aspirations. Their work is guided by engagement, reflections, actions, and critical dispositions. Thisevening we honor Elena and her team for their most excellent first publication. Link to the ARNA Proceedings.

Rachel Sherman, USA

The organization and execution of the annual conference depends upon the ability of leaders to wrestling up the community and building strong connections with those knowledgeable others. Rachel demonstrated significant and sustained commitment to the 2014 ARNA conference from the start.  She attended the 2013 ARNA conference in San Francisco, where she made many connections with both presenters and attendees. These connections formed the foundation of her work over the past year, during which time she has strengthened and expanded existing networks, as well as created new  networks.  Many of you have benefitted from Rachel’s work, perhaps without even knowing it, and many of you met her at the registration table. Rachel exemplifies the type of dedicated and determined individual whose work strengthens ARNA’s ability to expand the action research community. Rachel's action research story was captured at the 2013 conference.

» Her action research thesis on project-based learning is available.

ARNA Social Justice Award

ARNA members are committed to taking action locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally to promote action research that is conducted with a commitment to honesty, integrity, inclusiveness, multi-vocality, engagement, and achievement within sustainable democratic societies.  The realization of such a commitment requires individuals, such as the recipient of this award, determined to build relationships that are respectful of cultural and linguistic diversity.


Milahd Makooi, USA

Milahd Makooi's past year has been one of tragedy and healing, all mediated with his 8th grade students through YPAR. One day after presenting at the 2022 ARNA conference, Milahd and two friends were crossing the street after a night on the town. An intoxicated driver hit one of Milahd's friends, killing him instantly. A few months later when class started, Milahd, an 8th grade social studies teacher in Arvada, Colorado, erected an ofrenda or altar to his friend and invited his students to add items that honored their loved one. Soon, the students asked about Milahd's friend and, upon hearing the story, wanted to do something to make the street where the accident happened safer. This launched them into a year of YPAR -- using class time to have dialogue with city council members, spending lunch periods Zooming with elected transit officials, and keeping in constant communication with ride share administrators. In the end, three of the students' four proposals for making the street safer were adopted by adult power players. Beyond that, though, the students reported empowering personal growth. And, perhaps most astonishingly, the YPAR process helped heal Milahd. Along the way, the class allowed the YPAR ARC members to visit and interact with youth and educators. It has been an immensely powerful experience for all of us. Not only has Milahd shown us what YPAR can look like in a classroom, but he's revealed possibilities we hadn't yet fully imagined.


These students and their teacher engaged in a semester of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and presented their findings in an ARNA Zoom, later to become a YouTube, first viewed at the January 2022 ARNA Student Voice and Research Showcase. 

One group of young black women researched the effects of Eurocentric beauty standards on youth of color and created a mentoring program to support younger girls in discovering their own beauty. Another group of young Latinas' YPAR project focused on youth access to hygiene products. They presented research and efforts to provide free access to feminine hygiene products, condoms and educational materials to fellow students. 

These students and their educator embody the spirit of ARNA. They saw an injustice, conducted their own research around it, and took action to mediate the problem. It continues to be empowering to see young black and brown women exploring their own identities, needs, and strengths and then providing the support that their specific communities needs. 


Fundación Punta De Mita

A community foundation that formally began operations in December 2007, Fundación Punta de Mita is committed to supporting the communities of the Bahía de Banderas region of Mexico through projects that improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. They do so with educational programs, as well as with material resources that give other non-profit organizations the possibility of growing in their management work and providing them with financial support when their objectives are compatible. To learn more in English, visit or in Spanish, visit Fundación Punta de Mita served as the host of the 2021 virtual CARN/ARNA Pre-Conference Study Day.


Steve Jordan & Dip Kapoor, Canada

Steven Jordan serves not only as Chair of the ARNA 2019 Conference but also as Chair of the Department of Integrated Studies in Education here at McGill University. In his research,

Steve examines how forms of action and participatory research can be used to enhance the well-being of Indigenous peoples and adult learners in Canada. Steve holds a cross-appointment with McGill's Faculty of Medicine, where he is a core member of Programs in Whole Person Care.

Dip Kapoor serves as Professor, Social Justice & International Studies in Education at the University of Alberta. His areas of research, supervision, teaching and public service include

the impact of development and globalization on education, dispossession/resistance & learning in indigenous, peasant & migrant workers, the sociology of education, and academic research and social action.

In addition to extensive solo publications, their collaborative work includes "Re-politicizing participatory action research: unmasking neoliberalism and the illusions of participation” for the Educational Action Research Journal and the co-edited books Education, PAR and Social Change: International Perspectives and Research, Political Engagement & Dispossession: Indigenous, Peasant & Urban Poor Activisms in the Americas and Asia.

Michelle Fine, USA

Dr. Michelle Fine is distinguished professor of critical social psychology, women’s studies, and urban education at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. In her latest book Just Research in Contentious Times: Widening the Methodological Imagination (Teachers College, 2018), Fine explains, “Using qualitative and quantitative methods, always in deep and fraught participatory collectives, my colleagues and I aim to document, across our varied projects, what Neil Painter (1995) has termed ‘soul murder.’ We cultivate evidence of activism and challenge, as well as what James Scott (1990) has called the ‘hidden transcripts of resistance.’ We return a critical analytic gaze to the social arrangements, institutions, distributions, ideologies, and social relations that reproduce and legitimate everyday injustice” (p. 6-7). With ARNA, Michelle Fine served as a representative honoring the Life and legacy of Orlando Fals Borda at the National University of Colombia in Bogota; participated as a featured international panelist in a plenary session titled “Participatory Approaches and the Democratization of Knowledge” at the 5th Annual ARNA Conference in Cartagena; and served as a delegate to the First Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy. She returned to ARNA in San Diego in 2018, delivering a keynote address titled “Critical PAR in ‘Revolting’ Times: Bearing Witness to Willful Subjectivities, Radical Wit and Deep Solidarities among Muslim American and Queer Youth.”

César Osorio Sánchez, Colombia

César Osorio Sánchez completed his bachelor of laws and master’s in sociology at the National University of Colombia. He is Research Professor in Historic Memory, State Theory, and Human Rights at the National Pedagogical University in Colombia. César delivered the first ARNA Spanish language keynote address entitled “Participatory Action Research And Recovery Of The Senses And Sources Of Historic Memory” at the ARNA 2014 conference at Moravian College in Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the Global Assembly Steering Committee.



Highlander Research and Education Center

The Highlander Center serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South. Highlander works with people fighting for justice, equality and sustainability, supporting their efforts to take collective action to shape their own destiny. Through popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, Highlander helps to create spaces where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible. Highlander develops leadership and helps to create and support strong, democratic organizations that work for justice, equality and sustainability within communities and that join with others to build broad movements for social, economic and restorative environmental change.

arna_headshots_candacekaye_awardsCandace Kaye, USA

The recipient of this year’s Social Justice Award epitomizes ARNA’s commitment to the development of worldwide efforts in support of teacher action research. Under the most able leadership of New Mexico State University’s Dr. Candace Kaye, ARNA has signed its first official memorandum of understanding with an international higher education institution, the Mongolian National University of Education, which is also an ARNA conference and institutional sponsor. Candace has lead and will continue to lead efforts to engage our Mongolian colleagues in collaborative research with a specific focus on action research projects, lectures, symposia, seminars, and workshops, while supporting the exchange of action research, practitioner research, and participatory research information and materials. Candace has most ably explored the development of new distance technology support system for action research through the promotion of  mutually beneficial endeavors.

» More information about Dr. Kaye's work is available at

Miguel Angel Lopez Montoya, Mexico

We begin by  acknowledging the considerable support Miguel provided throughout the process of putting out the call for proposals through to accepting them and right up to putting the final touches on the program and abstract documents. He provided excellent feedback on the many stages of the process, quickly responded to translation requests, and communicated across the various networks as we moved toward this conference. Within his work at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, he has demonstrated a commitment to promoting and conducting action research with the highest of standards.  We are pleased to present Miguel with this acknowledgement of his leadership.



Special ARNA Virtual Conference Development Award

Planning for the ARNA Puerto Vallarta Conference actually began prior to the 2019 site-based Montreal conference, and planning continued on a site-based conference in Puerto Vallarta until Covid forced the cancellation of the 2020 conference. Planning resumed in the summer of 2020 with a commitment to build ARNA’s first-ever virtual conference in alignment with its strategic plan to support live simultaneous translation throughout the conference and to integrate the ARNA action research communities into the conference program.


Adriana Garcia, Mexico

Adriana attended her first ARNA Conference in Cartagena, Colombia in 2017 and was so moved by the camaraderie of those in attendance from throughout Latin America and around the world, the commitment to engaging in new South-North dialogues, and the celebration of indigenous local culture that she commented on site that Mexico would be a perfect host for a future conference, and she would make sure that it happened. As past Director of the Los Mangos Library, the most important cultural center in Vallatra, Adriana sought to create “a multicultural center where everyone is welcome, and differences are the best excuse to learn. Because regardless of color, religion, sexual preference, age, or economic level, you feel at home or sometimes even better.” Adriana’s can-do spirit and commitment to social justice served her and ARNA particularly well as she coordinated ARNA’s first virtual conference and succeeded admirably in sharing Vallarta’s vibrant community-based research with those in attendance.