Mendenhall, Mary A. (mam2017)

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Mary Mendenhall
Associate Professor of Practice
Program Director
International & Transcultural Studies

276 GDodge

Educational Background

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Ohio University
Master of Arts, Higher Education Administration, New York University
Doctor of Education, International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University

Scholarly Interests

My research interests include: International and comparative education; education in emergencies; policies and practices of refugee education across camp, urban and resettlement contexts; teacher support and professional development in crisis settings, including the use of mobile technologies; relevance and sustainability of education in emergencies interventions post-crisis; Latin America; Middle East; Sub-Saharan Africa; qualitative and participatory methodologies.

My more recent project work and research entail teacher professional development for refugee and national teachers providing education to refugees in Kenya.

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles 

Mendenhall, M., Bartlett, L., and Ghaffar-Kucher. (2016). “If you need help, they are always there for us”: Education for refugees in an international high school in NYC. Urban Review. doi 10.1007/s11256-016-0379-4

Bartlett, L., Mendenhall, M. and Ghaffar-Kucher, A. (In press). Culture in Acculturation: Refugee Youth’s Schooling Experiences in New York Schools. International Journal of Intercultural Relations (Special Issue: Cultural and Academic Adjustment of Refugee Youth in Educational Settings). 

Mendenhall, M., Dryden-Peterson, S., Bartlett, L. Ndirangu, C., Imonje, R. Gakunga, D., Gichuhi, L., Nyagah, G., Okoth, U., and Tangelder, M. (2015). Quality Education for Refugees in Kenya: Pedagogy in Urban Nairobi and Kakuma Refugee Camp Settings. Journal on Education in Emergencies 1(1), pp. 92-130.

Mendenhall, M. (2014). Education sustainability in the relief-development transition: Challenges for international organizations working in countries affected by conflict. International Journal of Educational Development, 35, 67-77.

Mendenhall, M. and Anderson, A. (Summer 2013). Strengthening national and regional capacity for Education in Emergencies in East Africa: Lessons learned and future directions for an NGO-University partnership. Harvard International Review.

Anderson, A. and Mendenhall, M. (2006).  Inter-agency network for education in emergencies, Forced Migration Review Supplement (Education and Conflict: Research Policy and Practice).

Book Chapters

Mendenhall, M. and Tangelder, M. (2017). Faculty development for Education in Emergencies: A University-NGO partnership in Kenya. In C. Smith & K. Hudson (Eds.), Faculty development in developing and fragile contexts: Theory and practice for improving the quality of teaching in higher education (41-63). New York: Routledge.

Mendenhall, M. and Chopra, N. (2016). Educating for Peace in Kenya: Comparing National and Local Initiatives. In M. Bajaj & M. Hantzopoulos (Eds.), International Perspectives on Peace Education, Bloomsbury Publishers.

Mendenhall, M. (2010). The relief-development transition: Sustaining the educational support provided by international organizations in post-conflict settings.  F. Vavrus and L. Bartlett (Eds.). Critical Approaches to Comparative Education: Vertical Case Studies from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Palgrave Publishers: UK. 

Published Reports

Mendenhall, M., Russell, S.G., and Buckner, E. (2017). Urban Refugee Education: Strengthening Policies and Practices for Access, Quality and Inclusion. [Policy Report]. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Mendenhall, M., Russell, S.G., and Buckner, E. (2017). Urban Refugee Education: Guidelines and Practical Strategies for Strengthening Support to Improve Educational Quality for All. [Programmatic Guidance Report]. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Mendenhall, M., Russell, S.G., and Buckner, E. (2017). Urban Refugee Education: Priorities for Policies and Programs. [Advocacy Brief]. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Online Publications

Mendenhall, M. (2016, December 6). Promising Practices for Strengthening Teacher Professional Development in Crisis Contexts [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Mendenhall, M. and Tangelder. M. (2013). Springboard into a Career: Experiences Establishing Practical Work Opportunities for Education in Emergencies Graduate Students at the University of Nairobi. INEE Blog,  “Teaching Education in Emergencies: Good Practice and Challenges. Retrieved from


Mendenhall, M., Russell, S.G., and Buckner, E. (2016, September 1). Urban Refugees and Education. [Interview with study researchers]. Retrieved from 

Mendenhall, M., Ndirangu, C. and Gakunga, D. (2016). Quality Education for Refugees in Kenya: Pedagogy in Urban Nairobi and Kakuma Refugee Camp Settings [Interview with authors]. Retrieved from 

Other Publications

Winthrop, R., and Mendenhall, M. (2006).  Education in emergencies: A critical factor in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book.

2016-17: IDEO Amplify Challenge Award Winner, plus additional in-kind design support from IDEO

Teachers for Teachers Project Director & Principal Investigator

  • The Teachers for Teachers project entails the development and implementation of a new professional development initiative that combines teacher training, peer coaching and mobile mentoring for refugee teachers working in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya) in an effort to provide continuous and quality support in refugee education contexts.

2015-16: U.S. State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration research award

Project Director and Co-Principal Investigator (with Susan Garnett Russell), Global, National and Local Intersections: Educational Policies and Schooling Practices for Urban Refugees

  • This study examined existing policies and practices in urban refugee education to identify gaps, opportunities, and promising practices to better meet the distinct needs of urban refugees. The study produced a policy report, a programmatic guidance report, an advocacy report, an infographic, a video and Twitter messages about the state of urban refugee education around the world. The team is currently working on the scholarly publications for this study.

2015: IDEO Amplify Challenge Finalist Prototyping Grant

Project Lead, Continuous Quality Professional Development, Support and Mentoring for Refugee Teachers

  • Proposal was selected from 299 submissions for the OpenIDEO Amplify Challenge on refugee education as one of the five finalists to receive funding. This initial prototyping grant allowed us to test our mobile mentoring idea for supporting refugee teachers in Kakuma before taking it to scale. 

2014-15: Office of International Affairs Global Investment Fund, Teachers College

Project Lead and Primary Investigator, Supporting & Researching Teacher Professional Development in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

  • Seed funding provided the foundation for developing a new teacher training curriculum for refugee teachers while simultaneously conducting a study on the unique experiences of refugee teachers and their self-perceptions of teacher identity.


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