Nashwa, also known as Nash, is a careers adviser and teacher at St Agnes Catholic High School. She is an avid learner, completing a Bachelor of Social Science, Masters in Secondary Education, and a Masters in Science and Mathematics Education. Nash is passionate about academia to the point where she says it should classify as an addiction — even when not completing a degree, Nash will most likely be undertaking action research or some form of professional development to keep her mind happy and fulfilled.
Nashwa Karafotias, Memberships
In addition to teaching Nash has a demonstrated history of connecting students to learning by building self-efficacy through cultural linkage. Her passion lies in empowering the voice of minority groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pasifika and Sudanese communities, so they continue to embrace their strong ties to leadership through cultural identity.
Growing up in Western Sydney and having lived experience of the barriers a female with migrant parents faced, it took Nash a long time to navigate the pitfalls of coming from a low socioeconomic background. She realised that what can take some families moments to achieve takes a lifetime for others. Nash wants to use the connections and knowledge she's gained to fast-track the students from Western Sydney with financial and cultural barriers so they can overcome these obstacles at school and support them in accessing resources that level up the playing field in Australia.
On the topic of family, Nash describes hers as a metaphor for the United Nations. She identifies as a mum, a wife, an aunty and a best friend first and foremost. And while Nash is of Greek and Egyptian heritage, her siblings have married into various cultures, resulting in family connections of African American, Indian and Māori bloodlines. Nash says family BBQs are eclectic, to say the least, filled with loukoumades, jalebi, purini mamaoa and cornbread.
Reflecting on her hopes for education, Nash believes data collection through action research would be monumental in acquiring information to inform current practices. She hopes this research will provide rich data and case studies regarding subject selection packages, work immersion programs, and academic preparation programs.
"We could provide insight into how to reimagine our classroom environments and create spaces for connections, networking and support for educators. We could deliver toolboxes allowing educators to influence cultural and systemic change to enhance equity and inclusion and empower culturally and linguistically diverse learners."
"Most parents have high expectations of the school system's capacity to provide learning experiences that are needed for their children to achieve successful educational outcomes." Nash says supporting families and creating focus groups to build solid relational connections will help school communities embed high aspirations and positive self-concepts in students.
Nash's advice is simple, "Inform yourself and work with community." She says it’s critical for educators to build rapport with students to understand the cultural practices that conflict with what is currently happening in schools. “Create opportunities for students to embrace culture and embed cultural practices, knowledge and research into the curriculum."