Who We Are

SIG Officers

2022-2023 IPA SIG Officers


Theresa Ambo, Chair

Theresa Ambo (Tongva) is an Assistant Professor in the Education Studies program at the University of California, San Diego (Kumeyaay territory). She holds a PhD in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow from 2017-2019.  Before arriving at UC San Diego, Theresa worked in Student Affairs, directing a student-initiated, student-run academic support program at UCLA that targeted students from low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority backgrounds. Theresa’s research focuses on educational equity for American Indian students and communities in postsecondary institutions, including student retention, experience, outcomes, and campus-community partnerships. Her primary area of research examines external relationships between public universities and local Native nations in California. Using a multiple case-study approach, she offers institutionally transferable insight on tribal-university relationships and partnerships – the current state of relations, institutional responsibilities articulated by tribal and campus leaders, and the postsecondary educational needs of Native nations.

Stephanie Runninghawk Johnson, Program Chair/Chair Elect


Alex Red Corn, Secretary/Treasurer

Alex Red Corn (Ed.D) is a citizen of the Osage Nation, where he is a member of the   Tsi.zhu.wah.shtah.geh (Gentle Sky/Peacekeeper) clan, with family roots in the Wa.ha.xolin district near Pawhuska, Oklahoma (USA).  In the College of Education at Kansas State University, he serves as an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Coordinator of Indigenous Partnerships, Co-Chair of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance, Executive Director of the Kansas Association for Native American Education (KANAE) and Program Coordinator for the Qualitative Methods Graduate Certificate.  His scholarship and service is focused on building capacities for Native nations to take on a more prominent role in the education of their citizens.  As a member of the College of Education faculty, Dr. Red Corn has consulted with school and tribal leaders across the region on a variety of topics related to education of Indigenous peoples.  He has also developed a partnership program with the Osage Nation that has graduated two cohorts of Osage leaders with master’s degrees in Educational leadership. Additionally, Dr. Red Corn also teaches courses in qualitative research methods, specializing in critical Indigenous approaches to research and autoethnography. 

Jason Cummins, Secretary/Treasurer-Elect


Felisia Tagaban, Graduate Student Representative

Felisia J. Tagaban ( Diné/Tlingit/Filipino) is a second year doctoral student in the Educational Policy Studies and Practice Department at the University of Arizona (UA). Felisia obtained her BA (Creative Writing) and Master's (Higher Education) at the University of Arizona. For the past 3 years, Felisia has served as a graduate assistant for the Native SOAR (Student Outreach Access and Resiliency) service-learning course, a multigenerational mentoring program that centers the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native students throughout the K-20 educational system. Felisia provided culturally responsive mentoring and support services for Indigenous middle and high school students as they explored their options in higher education. Recently, Felisia created and submitted a proposal for a full-time staff position combining her knowledge of higher education with her experience in the K-12 setting. The new role, which was approved in July 2021, will focus on establishing posts econdary education pathways for Indigenous students from southern Arizona. As she transitions into the new position, Felisia will continue to  explore her research interests and increase support and service for Indigenous students at the U of A and in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

Carrie Whitlow, Graduate Student Representative-Elect

Carrie F. Whitlow is an enrolled citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and is descendant from the Kiowa and Muscogee Creek Tribes.  Her Arapaho name is Nanak’ate Hisea, which means Light or Yellowhair Woman and was given to her by her grandmother the late Violet Berniece Franklin.  She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Department of Education. She is also a 3rd year doctoral student at Kansas State University pursuing a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Leadership.  Ms. Whitlow’s research interests include Indigenous female leadership, Indigenous feminism, and Tribal Education Departments (TEDs)/Tribal Education Agencies (TEAs). Ms. Whitlow has an A.A. degee in Liberal Arts and a B.A. degree in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University.  She also has a Master’s in Education degree in Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Carrie is a member of the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education (OACIE), Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA), Oklahoma Council for Indian Education (OCIE), National Indian Education Association (NIEA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).

Candi Running Bear, Graduate Student Representative-Elect

Candi Running Bear is from the Dinè (Navajo) Nation and she is a doctoral candidate at Northern Arizona University (NAU) – Department of Teaching and Learning in the curriculum and instruction program with an emphasis on culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional education. Her research interests are in early childhood special education and Indigenous populations. Candi is currently a visiting lecturer at the University of New Mexico – Gallup campus, teaching early childhood courses. She has a B.S. degree in psychology from Brigham Young University, and an M.A. degree in special education from the University of Arizona. She also has over 12 years of experience as an early childhood special education teacher on the Navajo Nation where she resides. Candi currently volunteers as a First Things First, Navajo Nation regional council member which positively impacts community early childhood efforts. She is also the diversity representative for the NAU graduate student government. After graduating she looks forward to continuing to serve her community including young children and their families.