Title/Department: Doctoral Candidate, Civil Society and Community Research
Rachel Byington, an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is from Madison, Wisconsin. Her experience as an urban Native woman has impacted every aspect of her life. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Human Ecology in the Department of Civil Society and Community Research. Beyond the academic stuff, Rachel is a mom, a grandma, a wife, and a friend. She would like to see the world become a better place and will do what she can toward that goal.
Education and Relevant Experience
Byington earned an Associate of Science in Liberal Arts from Madison Area Technical College in 1994. Byington earned a Bachelor of Science in Family, Consumer, and Community Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This degree had two options in Community Leadership and Teacher Certification and both were completed. She received an American Indian Studies Certificate from the same institution all in 2008. Byington holds an Initial Educator’s License from the Department of Public Instruction. In 2015, Byington completed her Master of Science in Civil Society and Community Studies from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her research focused on understanding the impact of cultural programs that teaches elements of traditional tribal practices for urban American Indian youth.
In addition to her academic studies, Byington currently works as a program assistant for Earth Partnership, specifically for the Indigenous Arts and Sciences program. This program teaches teachers environmental restoration techniques so that they can teach their students these skills using their playground as their laboratory. The teachers are primarily non-native but teach in schools on or near reservations and the youth are tribal members from the community. In addition to the teacher aspect, the program also has a tribal youth component where students learn the same skills and then continue their learning by developing their own service-learning project. As part of her role with this program, Byington is hoping to establish an urban Indigenous Arts and Sciences. Byington’s research for her PhD will focus on research and evaluation of teachers and youth who participate in the Indigenous Arts and Sciences programs.