Staff Highlight: Na Lor


The Wei Lab has started a new blog series: staff highlights.  Get to know more about the diverse people that compose the Wei Lab.

  1. Where are you from?

I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, although I grew up in Wisconsin. I think of myself as a Wisconsin native in many ways, mostly because of my affinity for cheese and brew.

  1. What is your role at the Wei Lab?

I am a Research Associate.

  1. What are your research interests?

My research interests are the cultural values, practices, and experiences of students who do not hold membership to the dominant white, middle class majority (i.e. first generation college students and students of color).

  1. What current projects do you work on for the Wei Lab?

African Americans in Computing Science

African American Women in STEM

  1. What do you like best about working for the Wei Lab?

I appreciate the care and consideration my colleagues give to campus diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is a really great experience working alongside like-minded scholars, passionate about issues of equity as well as the research process.

  1. What is your best memory of working for the Wei Lab?

I particularly enjoyed presenting at the annual WCER poster fair. It’s rewarding getting to participate in an event that brings together scholars from a breadth of education related disciplines, see all the outstanding work that others are currently doing, and share research we conduct here at WEI Lab.

  1. What have you gained from working at the Wei Lab?

I am always gaining research experience and nuanced perspectives on research design from very impressive scholars through the work I do at WEI Lab, such as Dr. Jackson, Dr. Charleston, and my colleague Ibrahim Bicak, among others.

  1. List any publications you have worked on:

Females in the scientific workforce: An examination of attitudes among African American females toward STEM college majors and careers

National Society of Blacks in Computing – National Science Foundation Report

  1. What is your personal philosophy?

Live learn.

  1. What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?

I would say choosing to pursue a doctoral degree as opposed to working directly with members of the community through the work force has been a difficult choice for me. I know it doesn’t necessarily have to be binary, but it feels that way at times in academia. Thus, seeking balance in the scholarly world of theory/research/publication and reminding myself to keep both feet on the ground in the real world by making a difference on the lives of others through action is a constant struggle for me.

  1. Why does education matter to you?

Knowledge is power and education is the process of attaining knowledge. What you know is something that no one else can take away from you; what you know you also have a duty to pass onto others. Thus, education is a tool that has the capacity to change minds and therefore, people.

  1. Who has had been your most influential mentor?

I would say Dr. Karen Menendez Coller, my former employer and current Director of Centro Hispano, has been my most influential mentor. She has a unique leadership style that challenges the dominant norms of authoritative and masculine hierarchies. I feel I have learned so much from simply working with Karen, as she truly models what it means to lead by example.

  1. What does equity/inclusion mean to you?

Implementing individual, social, and institutional responsibility to level the playing field and create fair, just perspectives, policies, and practices that enable all people to prosper and flourish.

  1. What is the best book you have ever read?

Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

  1. What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

Travel the world.

  1. How do you define success?

Success for me is to be happy with who I am and what I have, not so much in the physical and material world, but rather in the emotional/intellectual and philosophical realm. Questioning one’s success often asks us to compare ourselves to others, which makes it difficult to see yourself as you are really are. I feel if I can be grateful for where I currently am in life, then I can continue to put my best foot forward, and trust that I am doing my best. To succeed, in many ways, is to stop comparing yourself to others.

  1. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to share food, drinks, stories, and laughter with friends and family who remind me of the lightness of being. Alternately, I like to be outdoors immersed in nature with only my loyal canine companion.

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.



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