Dayna DeFeo joins CTE as new college readiness coordinator

Dayna DeFeo transitioned from her position as a tutoring programs & assessment coordinator with the Community & Technical College's (CTC) Learning Resources Center to a new role as college & career readiness coordinator for the Career & Technical Education Department. She discusses why she's excited to contribute to CTC in this new capacity.

Why did you want to work in higher education?
I am interested in social justice and interrupting hegemony – I think that education is a mechanism for this. Community colleges in particular are places of incredible potential and opportunity for students. I am committed to their missions of open access and to bridging gaps. To me, this is the nexus for critical pedagogies.

Dayna DeFeo enjoys the outdoors. She is pictured here climbing a ladder
to reach the Alcove House cliff dwelling at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.
What is your background prior to accepting your current role at CTC?
I grew up outside of Washington, D.C. When I finished my undergraduate studies, I moved west and worked in the nonprofit sector for several years before transitioning into higher education.

I accepted a position at New Mexico State University first as an adjunct instructor of Spanish, then an academic advisor and coordinator of accommodations for students with disabilities. Eventually, I accepted a position as the campus’ institutional researcher. Two years ago, I relocated to Anchorage and worked at the Learning Resources Center, which was a great way to meet UAA students and an opportunity to interact with staff and faculty.

What excites you about this position in particular? More generally, what do you enjoy most about your profession?
My commitment is to students, learning, and social justice, but my contributions are more narrowly focused. My interests and strengths are in assessment and analysis. I am excited to apply these skills within a highly productive program and to use the data to inform, improve, and create processes. I think that there’s a need for more scholarship in higher education administration, and I like to apply the principles of theory and empiricism to the management process. I am excited about the research opportunities that this position affords and the actionable opportunities that the research may help to uncover.

Are you originally from Alaska? If not, what brought you here?
I’m new to Alaska! My partner works as a cave cartographer and karst hydrologist for the National Park Service. When we decided that we were ready to leave New Mexico, we looked for dual career prospects. Caves and national parks tend to be in remote places while colleges and universities are typically situated in major population centers. So, we didn’t have a lot of opportunities for overlap. Anchorage was one of just a few cities that would suit both of our professional trajectories. When complementary positions were advertised, we jumped at the chance to try something new.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I have more interests than time to indulge them, and many are not matched with a commensurate level of aptitude. But I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, jogging, and gardening. My partner and I have a small business selling rocks and minerals, and it’s a lot of fun. I am not very artistic, but I love crafts – especially cross stitching, crochet, and paper crafts. I also like to travel, though I don’t do it nearly as much as I would like. In my spare time lately, I’ve been trying to focus on writing and publishing some of my research. I’ve joined a writing group, and I love the progress I am making, the opportunity for cross-disciplinary scholarly discourse, and the critical feedback.
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Dayna DeFeo joins CTE as new college readiness coordinator
Dayna DeFeo joins CTE as new college readiness coordinator
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