Sonny Partola portrait
  • Graduate Teaching Assist (TA), Education, Culture & Society

Research Summary

My research focuses on teacher education for more equitable schooling practices and policies. I am interested in school-community partnerships, immigrant education, and the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in K-12 settings.


  • M.A., School of Education, Westminster College
  • B.S., College of Humanities, University of Utah


Since entering college, I have collaborated with students and educators in community, K-12, and collegiate settings. Over the years, I have worked with young people in various environments, including business corporations, juvenile justice facilities, and behavioral health settings. My most recent work experiences included combining my passion for social justice and my interest in the field of education to tutor culturally and linguistically diverse students from 6th-12th grade at title-I schools. For the past three years, I have been teaching courses offered to preservice educators at the University of Utah. As a critical teacher educator, I seek to foster learning environments that support critical thinking, reflexivity, and social transformation. Additionally, I have collaborated on community-engaged research projects which involve families, educators, and community organizations. 
Aside from my research interests in teacher education and educational equity, I bring a sense of passion to this work. As a first-generation college graduate from a working-class and immigrant background, I was hesitant ever to imagine myself attending a university—let alone researching, teaching, and mentoring at one. Higher education has provided me with endless opportunities to work with other students and educators to embrace the social, emotional, and caring aspects of teaching and learning. I view the academic landscape as a place of inquiry and knowledge-building, as well as a space to foster healing for both students and educators, which has positive ramifications for myself, my students, and the young people and communities they will eventually interact with.