Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Questing for New, Empowering Knowledge

Maile '10 posing with his new state's sign
By David Maile '10 

 The Pacific University community is familiar with disparate disciplines of the academy. As undergraduate students, we tenuously and vigorously questioned, critiqued, and masticated some heady scholarship; such theory and/or data may have come from ontologies founded by scientists, social scientists, humanists, or lexicon lovers of words like “ontology.” The point is that each of us can identify a time where our situated experience brought us closer to an opportunistic quest for knowledge.

At the heart of our sojourns for understanding and explanation, we all must admit our privilege. Coming from Honolulu, Hawaii as an undergraduate student to Pacific, I was very fortunate. I had, and still have, a family system consisting of familial relatives and friendly relations. This dyad constitutes my support from an emotional, physical, and monetary standpoint. With much of these foundations, I have been given a significant amount of opportunities.

The opportunity that I am currently situated in identifies me as a “New Mexican,” not be mistaken for an “old Mexican” or “Mexican.” After graduate school at the University of Portland (graduating in 2012), I was fortunate enough to be admitted to the Ph.D. program at the University of New Mexico (now you get it) in Albuquerque.

In my research, I hope to make sense out of human experience through a lens of intercultural communication. Interestingly, I reflexively enter a discipline that allows for subjective considerations of privilege, power, and social justice.

I enter the field as a result of conscientious ambition to return power to my cultural identity/group (i.e. Native Hawaiian) by means of crafting my critical intercultural communication standpoint (e.g. Postcolonialism, identity negotiation/formulation). Inherently, this is a lonely, privileged position to maintain but the roads less traveled are often hidden from the busy “Waikiki-type” foot traffic.

Okay, so, I’ve fulfilled my Public Speaking duty as a current instructor of that respective course at UNM by making my quest for knowledge inclusive AND fostering rapport for our privileged positions (let’s see: those are also known as “topic significance/relevance” and “speaker credibility/ethos”).

Remember, I like to use the word “ontology,” drink coffee because it sparks my creativity, and to be attracted to sight-impaired individuals with impressive spectacles (regular eye glasses are infatuating, too).

My journey from the calcified walls of Marsh Hall and the spooky, sterile basement of Walter Hall has been full of apprehension and terror.

To me, this is the only way to live life—on my toes rather than my heels. I don’t wish to be a model citizen, student, or individual. I simply aspire to pursue my passions, what I love, and I encourage you all to do the same. Instead of allowing our fears and apprehensions to cripple our abilities, break down the barriers of inability and push through the front lines of Western, Anglo-Christian, and elitist agencies and structures.

On August sixth, I drove, with my long-time friend Adrian Shipley '09, MAED '11, about 1,500 miles to a place I’d never visited, physically seen, or understood in order to be challenged—because that is the purpose of a quest, to problematize and seek answers.

Whether you are/were a non-traditional, undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree seeker, our objectives persist in adventuring for self-betterment, educational attainment, and lived experience. Know that you are not alone in the financial burdens, social awkwardness/antiquities, and powerful epistemological (i.e. knowledge) crescendos. My questions in life are comparable to your foundational quests. Our privileged, educational world is riddled with dichotomous and disparate decisions. I wish that my passage into a power-laden and power-distributing academic realm echoes a model of citizenship, open-mindedness, and adventure.

Find your passage.

Maile '10  is now working at the University of New Mexico. He was heavily involved with the Speech and Debate team at Pacific. He was also involved with Track and Field, Student Giving Committee, Hawai'i Club and Phi Eta Sigma (Honor Society).