Doctoral Student’s Voyage into Personal History and Tribal Purpose Coincide. Crystal Jensen, President and Founder of Integrity Technologies, Inc., Founder of the Community Empowerment Resource Center (CERCle), and nearly finished doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University in West Los Angeles, CA published an article in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Pepperdine University’s The Colleague Alumni Magazine. The article chronicles her journey from research to purpose. Her personal sojourn back to her Choctaw roots in Oklahoma and Washington D.C. enhanced her research and defined her purpose in serving and empowering technologically, educationally, and economically under-served populations.
In addition to attending conferences, meeting with legislators and executives, and studying pioneering educational technology organizations throughout the globe, Ms. Jensen has created two organizations–Integrity Technologies and the Community Empowerment Resource Center (CERCle)–with the goal to support and empower indigenous communities through learning technologies. Her personal history and heart for community have motivated her to continue to work with and for Native American tribes and indigenous groups to preserve and promote a positive legacy.
In her essay, she recollects her key learnings and opportunities through the Doctor of Education in Learning Technologies (DELT) program in the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) and how they confirmed her passion to fulfill her call to “Purpose, Service, and Leadership.” The article, titled “GSEP Perspectives: Tribal Education and Communities in Need,” goes into detail about how her graduate work has provided invaluable opportunities to learn more about tribal education as well as her Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma heritage.
The Doctor of Education in Learning Technologies program at Pepperdine University incorporates 60 percent face-to-face time and 40 percent online sessions which allowed Crystal to travel to her Choctaw tribal homeland in Oklahoma where she supported her mother through cancer treatments and her eventual passing. With each visit, she “was able to reconnect with many family members while conducting an archaeological expedition to ‘dig up the bones’ of my family and cultural history by visiting key Choctaw historical sites.” Crystal also visited various Native American Choctaw boarding schools, most notably the Jones Academy which “provided me with a model of what tribal education can be for all Native American children.”
These visits have helped inform the development of “two organizations that utilize learning technologies to serve Native American and indigenous communities in need – Integrity Technologies and the Community Empowerment Resource Center (CERCLE).”
In addition to visiting her homeland, Crystal was invited to attend the National Indian Education Association Legislative Summit (NlEA) in Washington, D.C. While there, Crystal visited Capitol Hill and attended meetings with key congressional representatives, including Senators Udall, Akaka, and Inouye and others, the director of the Bureau of Indian Education, the Vice President of the NEA, and various educational leaders. “These experiences connected me with high-level Native American and non-Native education and legislative leaders and will provide key contacts to support my future learning endeavors to empower others in need, in accordance with the Pepperdine mission.”
For further information about Crystal Jensen and CERCle, visit icercle.org