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Drexel Dragons Present Research at One of the World’s Most Prestigious Conferences on Education

School of Education students, faculty and alumni took part in the XVI World Congress on Comparative Education Societies in Beijing

People sitting around a table

September 6, 2016

While most people spent the final days of August trying to soak up a few more days of sunshine and relaxation before the fall, a group of Drexel School of Education students and professors traveled halfway around the globe to take part in one of the world’s most respected conferences on education.

School of Education MS in Global and International Education students Caitlin Fritch and Mary Henningson, Doctorate in Education students David Stewart and Ashley Coleman, GIE alumnus Jacob Matlock, and School of Education professors Dr. Rebecca Clothey and Dr. Jennifer Adams all took part in the XVI World Congress on Comparative Education Societies in Beijing, China from August 22nd-26th 2016. The conference brings together scholars and leaders from education societies from across the world and members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference is a rare gathering of the top minds in international education as it is held only once every three years, in a different country each time.

Fritch and Dr. Adams presented research they are working together on regarding strategies that Chinese families engage in to increase their child’s chances of gaining admission to the elite universities in the United States. The two met up in Chengdu prior to the conference to do some more fieldwork related to the project. Adams said, “Our findings illuminate that parents view transnational schooling as a way to advance not only their child’s future economic well-being, but also the happiness, physical health, and general well-being of the family. Our findings contribute to the understanding of new forms of transnational education, household educational decision-making, and changing family dynamics in 21st century China.”

Dr. Clothey presented “Informal Education and Cultural Transmission through Digital Media,” which describes how one ethno-linguistic minority group of China, the Uyghur, use native language social media websites for educational purposes. Her research for the project was funded by a Drexel University Social Science Research Committee grant.

Drexel GIE program alumnus Jacob Matlock also gave a presentation at the conference on the research he completed for his Master’s degree capstone project.

Henningsen and Stewart both received scholarships from Drexel’s Charles Imbesi Travel Fund to attend the conference. 

Henningsen, who is an education consultant based in Beirut, said that networking with international scholars and meeting her Drexel School of Education professors in-person was what she enjoyed most, as well as getting a first hand look at Chinese schools and getting a better understanding of how international education is changing education in China. “Our consultancy has had the opportunity recently to expand our reach into China. This trip provides a timely opportunity to explore the educational landscape in China.”

Stewart, who is doing his dissertation research on “International Chinese Study Abroad Participant Decision-Making” said “I am incredibly grateful for the Imbesi Family’s generosity that will compliment my lifelong advocacy to the higher education sector and its stakeholders worldwide.”

Charles Imbesi, a graduate of Drexel’s Global and International Education program, established the Charles Imbesi Travel Fund. He was inspired to create the fund after he completed a 3-credit study tour with Drexel faculty and students in China in 2011. The fund covers the travel costs of students who travel to China as part of their international travel coursework in the Global and International Education program.

“It is truly wonderful to see the impact that experiencing different educational cultures has had on students in our Global and International Education program, as well as the impact the research that comes out of these environments will have on international education in the future,” said Dr. Rebecca Clothey. “The ability to bring students, faculty and alumni together with leading international education scholars from around the world is what makes the Global and International Education program one of the true gems at Drexel.”

Dr. Clothey and Dr. Adams are also co-directors of the Drexel China Collaborative, which advances Drexel’s leadership in research, collaboration, student learning, and community outreach in China. The program provides experiential learning for Drexel students. To learn more, please visit: