Aster S Tecle portrait
  • Assistant Professor, College Of Social Work

Research Statement

My research interests stem from my personal experience of forced displacement from my homeland, a reality that has become a common pattern of life for the majority of people in the global south. As a community-based participatory researcher, stories and narratives emanating from contextualized experiences are key to my scholarship and academic evolution. As such, building relationships with respective communities, building trust for open communication, and working together with mutual respect and reciprocity requires extensive time and efforts. I am an insider and outsider even within my communities, which also makes it harder to build relationships when each community is politically bounded relative to cultural, economic and socio-political concerns in the homeland. I am also an insider-outsider amongst African refugees and immigrants based on differences in our experiences.  We live triple lives: here in the U.S. questioning “belonging,” and there in Africa “longing,” as we simultaneously construct cultural spaces where we, intentionally or not, embrace identities, mesh cultures and/or recreate new ones in ways that make sense to each one of us. As I reflect on my work with refugees in the U.S., I see myself learning, evolving and becoming alongside communities as we explore each other’s experiences.

Research Keywords

  • Refugees and Immigrants * Forced Displacement and Global Justice * African Indigenous Knowledge and Research * PAR * CBPR.

Presentations

  • Challenges and Successes of a Perinatal Community Health Worker Program for Pregnant Somali and Sudanese Refugee Women in Salt Lake County, Utah. Aster Tecle, Jane Dyer and Adhal Awan. 8th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). Healthy People, Health Ecosystems. Washington, DC, April 6 – 9, 2017. Presentation, Accepted, 11/2016.
  • Refugee Youth Identities and “Identification” Complexities. 2017 NASW-NM Conference Presenter Application submitted. Albuquerque, March 29-31, 2017. Accepted. Presentation, Accepted, 11/2016.
  • Stereotyping and (re)construction of identities: Hosting societies’ representations and recent immigrants’ negotiations through educational and occupational capabilities. Aster Tecle & An Thi Ha. 2017 NASW-NM Conference. Albuquerque, March 29-31, 2017. Poster, Accepted, 11/2016.
  • Shared Frustrations in Health Care Visits. The 6th Annual North Refugee Health Conference, Niagara Falls, NY. North American Society of Refugee Health Care Providers. Jane Dyer & Aster Tecle. June 2016. Presentation, Presented, 06/2016.
  • Translating Focus Group Information/Data into Socially Transformative Action: CMC Graduates’ Voices. 2016 Twelfth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Urbana-Champaign, IL. Accepted proposal. May 18 to 22, 2016. Presentation, Accepted, 12/2015.
  • Reflections on Approaches to Working with Refugee Women: Spafford Project on Pregnancy, Health Care and Cultural Gaps. Community-Campus Partnerships in Health (CCPH). New Orleans, LA. May 11 to 14, 2016. Other, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Social Work Education on the Margins: Creating a space of mutual learning and shared resources across borders. Community-Campus Partnerships in Health (CCPH). Rosemarie Hunter & Aster Tecle. New Orleans, LA. May 11 to 14, 2016. Presentation, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Supporting field instructors’ integration of macro practice and diversity/social justice into practicum. Round table discussion proposal. Gita M., Lindsay M. and Aster T. 2015 CSWE-APM, Denver, Colorado. Other, Presented, 10/2015.
  • Promoting Health through Research in Utah’s Somali Community: Unique Challenges and Rewards. 2015 Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) Annual Conference. April 13-15. Layton, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 04/2015.
  • The Politics of Food and Food (In)Security: Social Work Then and Now. Proposal submitted to CSWE-APM. Tampa, FL. Fall 2014. Conference Paper, Refereed, Accepted, 05/01/2014.
  • Enhanced Community Engagement through Reciprocal Sharing and Knowledge. Paper presented at the Engaged Leadership: Higher Education for the Public Good. Utah Campus Compact Moab Faculty Retreat. Moab, Utah. Aster Tecle & Isabel Teresa Molina. January 31 – February 01, 2014. Presentation, Presented, 01/2014.
  • The Search for an Origin and Horn Of Africa Youth Elusive Discourses. CSWE-APM 2013. Poster, Presented, 10/2013.
  • Life and Debt, Freedom Not Yet. College of Social Work. University of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2013.
  • Discourse Analysis: Framing Social Issues. College of Social Work. University of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2013.
  • Women, forced migration and globalization: Lived and Imagined. Poverty and Policy Analysis. School of Social Work. University of Washington. Seattle, WA. Spring, 2012. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2012.
  • Where is “Home?” Interpreting Horn of Africa Youth Discourse of Belonging. CSWE-APM, 2011. Atlanta, GA. Fall 2011. Poster, Presented, 10/2011.
  • “Where is home?” Interpreting Horn of Africa youth discourse and the politics of ‘displaced” youth. Proposed paper for the 7th Annual International Conference of Globalization, Education and Diversity. February 24 to 26, 2010. Department of Education, Washington State University. Spokane, WA. Winter 2010. Conference Paper, Accepted, 10/2009.
  • East African Immigrant Youth Voices in the Black Diaspora Discourse: Framing visibility. Presented at: Africa and the Black Diaspora Panel of the Association for African American Historical Research and Preservation Biennial Black History Conference. Seattle University. Seattle, WA. Spring 2009. Conference Paper, Presented, 05/2009.
  • Participatory Action Research (PAR): Methodology and Intervention. Guest lecture, MSW Program, School of Social Work, University of Washington. Seattle, WA. Fall 2008. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2008.
  • Globalization and Social Working: Policy Analysis. School of Social Work. University of Washington. Seattle, WA. Spring 2007. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2007.
  • Tecle, A. S. Identity complexities and the silenced voices: Horn of Africa Youth experience. 13th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry May 17 – 20, 2017. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Poster, Accepted, 01/30/2017.
  • Utah Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). January, 2017. Salt Lake City, UT. Aster Tecle, Jane Dyer and Adhal Awan. Poster, Accepted, 12/2016.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Identity & Isolation: Exploring Integration Needs for Refugee Youth in the U.S. Using an Ethnographic Approach. University of Utah. 2016. PI: Nathan P. Devir, Aster Tecle, & Caren J. Frost. Incentive Seed Grant Program, University of Utah., 12/2016 - 12/2017. Total project budget to date: $20,000.00

Languages

  • Amharic, fluent.
  • Tigrinya, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Africa
  • Eastern Africa
    Horn of Africa.

Publications

  • Tecle, A. S., Ha, An Thi & Hunter, R. (2016). Creating a Continuing Education Pathway for Newly Arrived Immigrants and Refugee Communities. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, DOI: 10.1080/08841233.2016.1211463. Published, 09/2016.
  • Tecle, A. S. & John, A. (2016). Conclusions and Global Considerations. In C. Frost & K. Digre (Eds.), The 7 Domains of Health: Multidisciplinary Considerations of Women’s Health in the 21st Century, [pp. 186-196]. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt Publishers. Published, 09/15/2016.
  • Tecle, A. S. & Andrasik, M. (2015). Breaking the Silence: Interpreting African-Born Women's Knowledge about HIV and Concurrency. Health and Social Work, 40(2):32 - 41.. Published, 06/2015.
  • Johnston-GoodStar, K., Trinidad, A. & Tecle, A. S. (2010). Critical pedagogy through the reinvention of place: Three cases of youth resistance. In B. Porfilio & P. Carr (Eds.), Youth Culture, education and resistance: Subverting the commercial ordering of life. Netherlands & Boston, MA: Sense Publishers. Published, 10/2010.
  • Mehrota, G., Tecle, A. S., Ha, A., Gneim, S. and Gringeri, C. (2017). Challenges to bridging classroom and field instruction: Exploring field instructors’ perspectives on macro practice. Journal of Social Work Education. In press, 05/20/2017.
  • Ha, A., Tecle, A. S., and Molina, T. and Hunter, R. (In preparation). Case Management Certificate Program: Exploring Refugees’ Post Graduation Experiences. In progress, 05/2017.
  • Tecle, A. S., Ha, A., Molina, T., and Hunter, R. (In preparation). Case Management Certificate Program: Teaching Online Social Work Practice in Refugee Camps. In progress, 05/2017.
  • Horn of Africa Youth and the Question of Cultural Identification: Literature Review. Identites, Global Studies in Culture and Power.. Revise/resubmit(1), 04/2014.
  • The Search for an Origin and Horn of Africa Youth Elusive Discourse: Hard to Spot! Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work.. Revise/resubmit(1), 07/2013.
  • Tecle, A. S. Cultural “Displacement” in the Making of Place: Horn of Africa Youth Experience. Journal of Refugee Studies. 2013. In progress, 05/2013.
  • "But Can She Eat Papers:" Girls Education in Dankalia Province, Eritrea. Case Study. International Institute of Educational Planning/UNESCO Working Document. Published, 05/1997.
  • Tecle, A. S., Byrne, K., Furguson, Ha, A. T., M.B., Schmidt, K. & Mohamed, N. (under review). In Search of Refuge: An Exploration of Unaccompanied Minors from Somalia and Families from Pakistan Seeking Basic Services in Bangkok, Thailand. Advances in Social Work.. Submitted, 06/21/2017.
  • Awan, A., Tecle, A. S., and Dyer, J. (in progress). Reflections on Approaches to Working with Refugee Women from an Insider’s Perspective: Spafford Project on Pregnancy, Health Care and Cultural Gaps. International Journal for Equity in Health. 2017. In progress, 06/2017.
  • Tecle, A. S., Awan, A. and Dyer, J. (in progress). Challenges and Successes of a Perinatal Community Health Worker Program for Pregnant Somali and South Sudanese Refugee Women in Salt Lake County, Utah. Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved. 2017. In progress, 06/2017.
  • Tecle, A. S. and Gamarra, E. (in progress). Refugees and Media Representation in Selected Journals: An Exploration. 2017. In progress, 02/2017.
  • Tecle, A. S. and Robles, J. (in progress). Refugee Women and Resiliency: An Exploration and Implications to Social Work Practice. 2017. In progress, 01/2017.
  • Tecle, A. S. (2012). Where is Home? Interpreting Horn of Africa Youth Discourse and the Politics of “Displaced Youth.” Dissertation, University of Washington, 2012; 164 pages. Publication number: 3542223. Released, 09/2012.