Monday , 29 May 2017
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DHS Senior Project Spotlight: Gina Schaefer – Increasing the Number of Women in Martial Arts

Each year, Discovery High School seniors complete a yearlong research project focused on an important issue facing members of the school, community, or world.  Our students gain a deep understanding of their issue through research, mentoring from a leader in the field, and the development of a project to address the issue.  Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight several DHS senior projects in The Compass.  To learn more about the DHS Senior Project experience, please contact Geoff Crosson – geoff.crosson@n-ccs.org.


Gina Gina Schaefer promotes martial arts.Name: Gina Schaefer

Driving Question: How can we increase the number of women in martial arts?

Why the student selected the project: I selected this project because I have spent several years practicing martial arts. While my dojo is very inclusive, I still noted that there weren’t many female students or instructors. I wanted to research how I could make a dojo more female friendly and how to engage female students better.

What I learned:  I discovered that a dojo can become more friendly to female students and engage them through a few steps of awareness. It is important that the dojo has an awareness of sexual harassment and embraces a conscious sense of ensuring the environment promotes equality. It is important that a class has a gender neutral environment and that specific self-defense requirements for women are met. I provided a free self-defense class to my community that lasted two hours and introduced students to various techniques they could use to defend themselves physically and emotionally in order to promote martial arts among women.

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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