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A New Dr. Wink

A New Dr. Wink

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

As many of you know, in the past year I have spotlighted several graduates who caught my attention.  Some of  these students graduated from undergrad programs (Nadifa, Lizzie, and Wynn), one master’s graduate (Katie), and two others completed their doctoral degrees (Ana and Jade).  I was honored to serve on the doctoral committees for Ana York from Grand Canyon University and Jade Herman from Creighton University. To read about any of these graduates, just click on the archive at WinkWorld News

With this issue of WinkWorld, we will bring to a close (at least for 2021), this blog series celebrating a few graduates.

Congratulations, Dr. Dawn Wink!

How lucky am I? Those of you who know our daughter, Dawn, know that she just successfully defended her dissertation. Actually, she nailed it. And, I was able to spend a spectacular week celebrating with her. A few pix follow.

First is a screen shot, which a ZOOM student took and sent to us.  I had just walked into the room right after her Chair congratulated her.

Next, are the flowers she received from her Chair.

And, these are the flowers which Dawn had delivered to me for my defense (Yes, a tiny bit late–30 years.) How cool is that?!



And, if you look very carefully at the following pix of the two of us, you will see that she is wearing the earrings, which I gave her for her Ph.D., and, yes, she surprised me with a similar pair to celebrate mine. Told you I am lucky!

When I finished in 1991, I remember walking out into the long hallway of Harrington at TX A&M, and 🎼 ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch’ was rocking in celebration. Thank you, Aggies.

Dawn’s blog, Dewdrops. October 21, 2021

Stories at the Intersection of Language and Landscape Through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination: A Scholarly Personal Narrative — Dissertation Defense (Video)

After Dawn’s defense, we walked down to the campus of the University of Arizona to celebrate.









December 15, 2021Read More
Just Books.

Just Books.

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

As you know, I have been highlighting recent graduates–one more left to come this season, and I hope to get it out to you before Christmas.  For now, I want to share some of the books I have been reading.

As some of you know, when I was on chemo I spent a lot of time reading about elephants, but I have not read another elephant book until recently. Alexandra Fuller’s book of growing up in the wilds of Africa pulled me back.  The following is a previous WinkWorld, in which I write about her books. From running free as a child in Africa, she now lives in a yurt in Wyoming.

Books Which I Am Reading Now

Lawrence Anthony

If you are not really a reader, it is only that you have not yet bumped into the right book.  This could just be the book which captures you.

Francoise Malby-Anthony

Ranchers often have baby calves in their kitchen in the cold spring storms, but I have never had an elephant in my kitchen.














Thula Thula

If you want to watch more about these two authors, just Google  Thula Thula, their home in Africa.   Start with, but you will find many links on the web.

Cindy Moss

This book captues the research of Cindy Moss.  Each chapter begins with a compelling story, which is then followed by the theory behind the story.

Camino de Santiago

From the elephant books, I dove right into books about The Camino de Santiago. I remember hearing of this in 1961 from my first Spanish teacher, Mrs. Johnson at Mobridge High School.  Today, I am not sure if I really want to walk 500 miles. One of my favorite books on this topic is posted below.








Historical Novels about Libraries

From Camino I went into historical novels which are grounded in a true story of one person (or a group) and one library. Oh, how I love this New York City Public Library; I have been lucky enough to visit it twice.
















In this page-turning novel of two women (one 1913 and the other 1993), we learn some of the secrets of this famed NYC library, as we see the power of love of literature and of family.  The link below is a previous WinkWorld, in which I wrote about the NYC Public Library.

The Power of Story Chapter Seven

Next, I found myself reading histories of the Spanish Civil War, WW1, and WW2.  In these historical novels, I met people (and often one solitary woman) fighting to save books. 

For example, The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar is a true story of a woman fighting the Nazis to save the library in this northern coastal town in France. I had no idea of this little town which is eventually overrun and burned.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray is a true story of Bella da Costa Greene, who was born Belle Marion Greener, to a Black family in the late 1800’s.  In order to succeed, she lived her life as a White.  And, succeed, she did!  She became the personal librarian to JP Morgan, and created his treasury of early printing press (1500’s) books and works of art.  I had no idea about his private library, which she eventually succeeded in opening to the public.  In the late 1800’s, Blacks had hope in the promise of freedom and peace, but by the early 1900’s their hope began to fade.  A very compelling history.

Next, I was ready for a new genre, and I read The Christmas Pig, by JK Rowling. I have never been captured by fantasies, but I can pretend like I love these stories if I am reading to young people, but I usually do not get it.  However, this new JK Rowling is pure magic.  Even for me.  If you ever had a soft, cuddly stuffed animal or much-loved blankie, who completely understood you, this is the book for you.  I even shed a tear at the end.
















From the fantasy of JK Rowling, I was ready for a good mystery novel.  I started this new novel last night, and I need to finish this WinkWorld now so I get back to this book, which totally grabbed me from the beginning.

November 29, 2021Read More
Meet Another Brand-new Doc: Dr. Herman

Meet Another Brand-new Doc: Dr. Herman

Dear WinkWorld Readers.

As you may remember, I have highlighted some recent graduates, and I will repost them at the bottom of this WinkWorld. However for now, I am happy to introduce you to the new Dr. Jade Herman.  Jade received her doctoral degree from Creighton University, and I was honored to be on her committee.  One more doc celebration to go this fall…

Since finishing her degree, Dr. Herman has been named the Chief of Staff for the President of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.  The focus of her study was on leadership within a specific program at MINES.

From Jade I learned the difference between a case study and an intrinsic case study.

A case study is research of a bounded system, for example a process, activity, individual(s), or an event.  Case study is often used to understand what is happening in the context of teaching/learning (pedagogy). Qualitative data are often collected over time from multiple sources.  My own understandings are heavily influenced by Creswell & Poth (2018) most recently.

An intrinsic case study is a qualitative research method where the case itself is the primary interest of the researcher (Jade). Stake (1995) posited intrinsic case studies are often appropriate when the aim is to evaluate a program, and there is a need to learn about that program as a specific case.  The emphasis is on what the participants experience, and not what the researcher thinks about those experiences..

I also learned the difference between phenomenology and transcendental phenomenology.

Phenomenology is a study of rooted in philosophy and psychology, and is also used in  education. This type of research inquires into the lived experiences of participants involved in a specific phenomenon.  Interviews of participants over time are common (Creswell, 2014).

Transcendental phenomenology is a research approach that focuses primarily on the experiences of the participants rather than the researcher’s interpretations (Creswell & Poth, 2018; Moustakas, 1994).

Dr. Herman’s Abstract

This qualitative, intrinsic case study analyzed the effectiveness of the Mines Advantage co-curricular leadership development program at South Dakota Mines by exploring ten undergraduate engineering students’ shared experiences in and perceptions of the program. While companies in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields seek to hire individuals with solid technical and leadership skills, engineering universities have historically been ineffective in providing quality opportunities for students to improve their leadership abilities. This study found students perceived Mines Advantage as an effective tool in aiding in their leadership development. Data collected in this study also highlighted a significant relationship between students’ participation in the program and graduation rates that doubled those of non-participants. With its current structure, Mines Advantage is already a valuable method for fostering student success. However, it is recommended the university address the primary challenges the program faces to better accomplish its intended outcomes.

            Keywords: Co-curricular leadership development; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); undergraduate students; curriculum development; leadership skills assessment; engineering leadership; student development

A Couple of Tiny Stories

I love playing in data and finding surprises.  Remember, this was a study of leadership–diversity, (multiculturalism, globalism, belonging, pluralism) was not the focus.  However, the data did reflect the students’ thoughts, and these two items sure caught my eye. 

First,  majority (mostly White  young men) students thought the professional development on diversity sponsored by the leadership program was good.  The ethnic minority students disagreed.  They thought that the diversity professional development should be improved.

Second, both groups of students asked for more professional development on diversity, as they need to understand others’ perspectives. Students know that this will help them achieve their goal: to be engineers in multinational, global companies.

Allies of The Other:  This One is For You

More and more the academic literature indicates that the word, diversity, is antiquated and limiting, as it refers most often to only ethnic minorities.  The new and yet emerging term is belong, as in: “We want all people to feel a sense of belonging.”

However, Jade  and I did not learn a better way of talking about hard sciences and “soft skills,” as in collaboration, understanding others’ perspectives, communicating in social settings, etc.  In the literature these skills are often referred to as “soft skills,” which we find to be pejorative.   Turns out that the student leaders in this study also want to also improve in this area.  So, what is  the emerging and more respectful term, which we can use?

When we know better, we do better.

Maya Angelou

Previously-posted WinkWorlds when we celebrated other graduates are posted below.  Thank you, Jade, Ana, Lizzie, and Katie for taking me along on your journey.  One more to go…..

Meet A Brand-new Doc: Dr. York

Graduates in Their Own Words

2 More Graduates in Their Own Words: Ana and Lizzie


October 28, 2021Read More
If You’re Not From the Prairie…,

If You’re Not From the Prairie…,


Dear WinkWorld Readers.

In this blog post, I am posting two oral readings of one of my all-time favorite books, “If You’re Not From the Prairie, . …”  David Bouchard is the author, and he does the first reading.  The second reading was created by Dean Wink and me during a blizzard a year or two ago.  I am sharing these, as Dawn Wink and I have been talking about her “Meadowlark” book talk, which will take place tonight September 8, 6 p.m. at the Faith Library.  Everyone in the audience will be from the prairie, and many will know the context of her novel, “Meadowlark.”   Some will even have known and loved Grandma Grace, the heroine of the novel. I knew Grandma Grace well. 

First, David Bouchard reads his novel.

And, second, Dean and I read “If You’re Not from the Prairie,….

September 8, 2021Read More
The Power of Story: Dawn Interviews Joan

The Power of Story: Dawn Interviews Joan

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Here is a 5-minute video clip, as Dawn interviewed me about “The Power of Story.”   Hope you enjoy.



September 6, 2021Read More
TCNJ: ESL, Bilingual, Literacy, Language Acquisition Master Candidates #1

TCNJ: ESL, Bilingual, Literacy, Language Acquisition Master Candidates #1

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

This issue of WinkWorld is directed specifically to a group of teachers in New Jersey.  When they initially received a federal grant five years ago to begin working on their  degree, I was there to wish them well, as they began their journey on their masters degrees.  The grant is ending now, and their masters degrees have been completed, and I am  invited to share with them again at the end of the program.  An honor, indeed.

TCNJ teachers, in this WinkWorld, I am enclosing today’s draft of our agenda, with lots of live links for you to have as resources.  In addition, I am enclosing several YouTube videos which I made with the support of CSU, Stanislaus and Black Hills State University.  During our time together, we will discuss if the ideas about language acquisition from the 1980’s have stood the test of time.

Help yourself, anyone, if this is something you can use.  I will be sending more resources soon.

The agenda, ‘Putting It All Together.’

putting-it-all-together Aug. 13

A few YouTube videos, which I created.

I will be posting more materials for you in the coming week.

See you soon.







August 14, 2021Read More
Storylistening: Beniko Mason and Steve Krashen

Storylistening: Beniko Mason and Steve Krashen

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Once upon a time in a faraway land, I was a professor who lived and breathed language acquisition for decades–first as a Spanish teacher and later as a professor in multilingual/multicultural teacher education.  Now, my world is primarily filled with kids, cows, and computers.  However, I try to keep up with my professional reading/thinking  as it relates to biliteracy, but I know that I am now more focused on literacy.  Yes, biliteracy and literacy are related, but that is a story for another time.

Storytelling and Storylistening

The world of storytelling and storylistening links my personal and my professional interests.  So much exciting research is taking place to enhance our understanding of storytelling and storylistening.  Many of you are aware of the long rich tradition of storytelling around the world.  Happily, it is enjoying a renewed emphasis in the last few decades as researchers learn more about the literacy and cognitive benefits. 

Teach me the facts, and I can memorize them and do well on a test–however, I will forget those facts sooner or later–but, if you can tell me a compelling story about those facts, I won’t forget it.

In addition to storytelling, storylistening is also developing rapidly–thanks to the research of Beniko Mason and Stephen Krashen.  In what follows, I am sharing some of their findings.  If you are interested, you will find videos of their work-in-action with a simple fast search on your web browser.  Thank you, Professors Mason and Krashen for sharing with us.

Meet Stephen D. Krashen and Beniko Mason

What storylistening is:

It is often used to help students acquire an additional language–for example in a foreign language or a bilingual class.  I have no experience with it also being used in English-only classrooms with only English-dominant students, but I am wondering about this.  I look forward to hearing from any of you who has that type of experience.

Storylistening is told with a strategy called Comprehension-Aiding Supplementation, and the idea is that the teacher throws a wide net of language (mostly comprehensible input, plus a bit more) for subconscious language acquisition. The method requires neither output, nor homework.

What storylistening is not:

It is not a teacher simply reciting a memorized story.

The Optimal Input Hypothesis

I am posting two articles  by Krashen and Mason regarding The Promise of Optimal Input. For those of us in language acquisition, we now learn that Not All Comprehensible Input is of Equal Value.

Click HERE 

Click HERE.

And, here is dear Steve Krashen sharing on a video about the Optimal Input Hypothesis. Thank you to CI-Re-boot, 6.28.21. On this video, Steve also shares about his first cup of coffee, the influence of his mom, his travels, his love of languages,  linguistics, the mystery of immersion (a must-listen), and the Input Hypothesis.  This is such a great Big Picture chat about languages, and he shares a fun historical peak into language acquisition. 
If you have been confused about the difference between comprehensible input and optimal input, you will find this very compelling….
The video of Stephen Krashen, plus translation in sign language.  Click HERE.
I also recommend, Immersion Assumption
Learn more about Beniko Mason  on her webpages. Both professors are very active and share wonderful resources on social media.
Stephen Krashen  on Twitter is always a great read.  Here is one, which I particularly liked, which speaks to the value of storytelling.
In addition, be sure to check-out Story-Listening and Guided Self-Selected Reading on FaceBook, which Beniko maintains.
I have noticed in my research of storylistening that it is sometimes spelled as one word, sometimes two words, and sometimes a hyphenated word.  I have no idea how it will eventually be spelled.  This is a natural process of how words emerge and come to be  spelled and understood.  It is sort of like little kids with their “inventive spelling,” which is another fascinating area to research.
Below is a photo of a treasured piece of art which a dear friend/colleague sent to me as a surprise gift. I see the storyteller and the story listeners. Thank you, Marje Kaiser!

The Adventures of Scruffy

For those of you following the adventures of Scruffy, our little reader, he finally arrived in New York City with his friend, Sacramento Susan.  Of course, his first stop was the famed lions out in front of the New York Public Library.

I just finished reading and loving “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” by Fiona Davis, so Scruffy and I took turns storytelling and storylistening.

July 30, 2021Read More
2 More Graduates in Their Own Words: Ana and Lizzie

2 More Graduates in Their Own Words: Ana and Lizzie


Dear WinkWorld Readers.

In the previous two WinkWorlds, I introduced you to some recent graduates, and I will continue with that theme by highlighting two more,  Lizzie and Ana

On the left is Lizzie with her Grandma (one of my best Besties ever), and on the right is Ana, Mike (one of Ana’s best Besties ever) and me.









Lizzie and Ana have never met each other, but they have something in common: They each had their first child when they were 14 and 15-years-old.  I have known Lizzie since she was born, and I have known Ana since the early 90s when I was her professor in the bilingual credential program at CSU.

Liz graduated from high school a year early, got her SD teaching certificate, had two more children, and she will begin her teaching career in a month.

Here is Lizzie with her first baby.

Here is Ana with her first baby. 

From Migrant Fields to Doctoral Degree

Ana worked in the migrant fields on the West coast, went on to graduate from high school, successfully completed her undergraduate degree, got her CA teaching credential,  a Masters, has taught for 24 years (16 elementary, 8 high school, and 3 university level, part-time), had three more children, and successfully completed her Ph. D.  You can see why I am in awe of these two women.

Liz and family on the left.  Ana and family on the right.








Now here is Liz telling her story in her own words.

My name is Elizabeth (Lizzie) Fischer, I know Joan due to her being my grandmother’s best friend. I graduated from Black Hills State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I have accepted an offer to teach in Mobridge, SD as a second-grade teacher. I could not be more eager to begin this next chapter in my life and start my career as a teacher, my lifelong passion! I was able to get into my classroom several days ago and let’s just say there is A LOT of work ahead of me to get the classroom ready for my students.

I am a mother of three truly amazing, beautiful, and intelligent children. My oldest (Carson) was born when I was a freshman in high school, which has inspired me to become the best mother I could possibly be. I was able to graduate high school a year early, so I could start college and be the mother I was striving to be. However, life happens, and my plans for continuing my education was put on halt for a few years. I went back to school in 2018 and ended up getting pregnant with my second child (Cora). I pushed through the semester, my classes, and I was in labor with her when I was in my last class of the semester and proceeded to take a final after class was over. After I completed my final, I  her later that day. I finished my methods block classes with a newborn and when she was about 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant with my third child (Conner). After I had him, I was very hesitant to go back to school due to having him at 34 weeks. He was in the NICU for 3 ½ weeks and when he came home, I decided I just needed to finish school or else I may never go back. All I had left was to student teach so I signed up to complete it in January.

When I started student teaching all I could think was: Am I CRAZY, how am I going to raise 3 children (10, 1, and 3 months at the time)? I thought I would never be able to pass and complete the next 4 months of student teaching. With endless amounts of tears, late nights/early mornings of studying and so much hard work; it finally paid off!! Now look at me I am going to be a teacher in a little over a month!

I never in a million years thought that I would be able to achieve all that I have accomplished over the years. It took me 9 years to receive my bachelor’s degree, but I never gave up or lost sight of the finish line. If you can carry one thing away from reading about me it is that no matter what obstacles you are facing, you are so capable of achieving your dreams and DO NOT let anyone stop you, not even yourself. Take one day at a time and never stop believing in yourself! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about my journey!

Congratulations Elizabeth Fischer!  We are honored to have you join the teaching profession.

And, now please meet Ana York in her own words.

Forever Grateful

In 1980 my father moved us from Puerto Rico to California in hope of a better life. I was a shy eight-year-old who did not speak English, so I fondly recall my ESL classes. Language instruction played a considerable role in my academic achievements. After elementary school, I attended junior high, and it was during that vulnerable phase, I began to have self-esteem issues. Therefore, I dated someone who was six years older. I married him when I was a freshman in high school and gave birth to my first child my sophomore year. It was difficult for me to attend regular high school, so I transitioned to alternative education, where I did independent studies.

After graduating, I went to a vocational program, where I was placed in an internship with the possibility of employment. Unfortunately, my placement closed down due to budget cuts. It was a devastating time for me. I was unemployed and pregnant with my second child. My mother encouraged me to use that setback to move forward by attending junior college. I met with a college counselor, and I shared I wanted to be a doctor. She looked at my transcripts and recommended vocational school (the irony). Two years later, I graduated and transferred to CSU Stanislaus, where I graduated with a bachelor’s and a teaching credential.

At CSU I participated in the Mini-Corp program, which taught me strategies and skills to support my future students. My professors in the credential program were compassionate and flexible (especially Dr. Wink). Through the recommendations of my professors and Mini-Corp, a district hired me for an internship. I taught a combination of kindergarten, first, and second grades during the day (8:00-3:00 PM) and went to school in the evening (4:30-10:00 PM). The sacrifice paid off. I was finally financially independent!

WinkWorld Readers, Joan here again.  It was during her internship and classes until 10 p.m. that I met Ana in one of my classes.  I never heard anything from her again for about 15 years, when she called out of the blue, and asked me to be on her doctoral committee.

Now back to Ana’s story.

Throughout my academic experiences, I have learned to appreciate my setbacks (the doctoral program was no exception). In every dark moment of my life, God has placed programs and people to light my path. My educational journey gave me more than just a degree! It gave me freedom from poverty and violence! It is why I am immensely grateful for the opportunities in this country.

WinkWorld Readers, this is Joan now, as I wanted to share this photo of a t-shirt I sent Ana, during one of those very challenging times while she was working on her dissertation.

Back to Ana’s story in her words:

I am grateful for programs like Adolescent Family Life for providing a public health nurse to do home visits and provide me with educational and parenting resources. Rochelle Olson was the nurse assigned to my case. She was instrumental in my life. I am grateful to programs like EOPS for helping me navigate the university system. I am so incredibly thankful to all taxpayers who contributed to the system so that I could break the cycle of poverty. I am so appreciative to my district for employing me for the past twenty-four years. I am also thankful to my parents for deciding to move to California and for helping me take care of my children. Finally, I am grateful to my children for their love and kindness and for continuously inspiring and strengthening me to succeed!

Ana, you inspire me. I will be cheering wildly for you on your graduation day.

The next WinkWorld will focus on storytelling and storylistening.


July 17, 2021Read More
Meet A Brand-new Doc: Dr. York

Meet A Brand-new Doc: Dr. York

Dear WinkWorld Readers

I am happy to introduce you to a former student, Ana York, who recently completed her doctorate from Grand Canyon University (GCU).  I was honored to be a part of her doctoral committee.  I will be writing more about Ana in a later WinkWorld, but for now, I appreciate Ashlee Larrison and Grand Canyon University Today for sharing their article about Ana. 

California State University Stanislaus friends, do you recognize Ana?

From young bride to doctorate: an inspiring story

On to a totally different topic–this is for the WinkWorld Readers, who have been following the literacy stories of Scruffy.  Next week he makes the long-awaited trip to NYC to see those two lions in front of the NYC Library.  He is so excited, as he packs for the trip.


July 5, 2021Read More
Graduates in Their Own Words

Graduates in Their Own Words

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

The graduation season is such a joyous and emotional time for all of us.  I have had the honor of taking part in graduation ceremonies, as a part of being a Board of Regents member.  This year, I was with the graduates of Black Hills State University.  I talked to the graduates about the various generations (Zers, Xers, Boomers, etc.), and I said that I didn’t think the general public had yet given them a name, but to me they will always be the COVID KIDS.  Since that graduation day, I have learned  about Gen C, and my grandson, Luke, and I are already planning to update our generation chart.

However, in this WinkWorld, I want to highlight COVID KIDS graduates, whom I know and love.  They are all heroes to me for different reasons.  I asked each of them to share 500 words with us about (a) how we are connected; (b) something about their interests; (c) something about their journey to a successful completion of this degree; (d) and, what they hope to be doing in 5 years.

Meet Katie Knox, University of North Carolina, MA in Teaching, Spring 2021

Katie and I have never met, but I feel like I know her well, as she  did all of the drawings in my book, “The Power of Story.”  Here are all of the drawings, which made it into the book.  We were only allowed 12.

My name is Katie Knox, and I was an illustrator for Joan Wink’s book, The Power of Story. My aunt—hi, Aunt Suzy!!—is Joan’s web designer, who connected us. My interests are varied to such an obnoxious extent that it would be challenging to detail them all here. To quote a one-episode villain from the cartoon Adventure Time, “I have approximate knowledge of many things.” I am particularly passionate about stories and storytelling, though, and that tends to go for any medium you can make a story in. My undergraduate degree was in Film Studies, where I concentrated on animation and animation history, but I’m passionate about everything from video games to musical theatre to obscure Japanese musicals from the early 90s. 

Speaking of Japan, at the time I met Joan, I was gearing up to move and teach ESL there as part of the JET Programme. I taught in Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture for three years and fell in love with teaching. I had the time of my life in Japan, and miss it every day, especially my students and former coworkers. Fortunately, in my mind, it’s not a matter of “if” I’ll return in some capacity, but rather, “when.”

I returned from Japan in 2019, applied for, and was accepted into the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Watson College of Education. 355 days from the start of the program, I graduated with my Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in English. In spite of a global pandemic and the loss of a parent, I made it through the accelerated program, student teaching, Praxis exams and the edTPA. I feel like I both worked the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life and at the same time that I lucked through the whole program, and I technically didn’t earn this degree. A lot of people refer to this as imposter syndrome—the sensation that you’ve fooled everyone around you, failed upwards and will be found out as a fake sooner rather than later. At the same time, though, I know I’ve earned it, I know I’ve worked hard…. It’s such a bizarre sensation! Schrödinger’s Imposter Syndrome!

WinkWorld Readers, Joan here.  Dear Katie,  you are NOT an imposter.  Own your power and experience.  I know another recently-completed Ph. D. student who is also suffering from this.  I personally have only known smart women who suffer from Imposter Syndrome.  Do men get this? Back to Katie’s voice.

I wish I could give some big, hopeful, inspiring prediction for where I’ll be in five years, but I truthfully have no clue. If there’s anything I’ve learned during 2020 and grad school, it’s that you need to be flexible, and able to go with the flow when the time comes to the best of your ability. Right now, I’m aiming for gainful employment, helping kids find their “people” at school, another cat and maybe a trip to visit Japan. If I can do all of that and be happy, I’ve won.

Joan here again: Pearson Publishing did not use all of the drawings which we submitted.  The one below was not in the book, but it is one of my favorites.  It always makes me think of Katie and her dad, who passed away this year, while Katie was working on her masters.

Thanks for all, Katie. I worried so much about you when you left for Japan.  Silly me.  I guess I did not have anything to worry about.

Meet Nadifa Muhamed, South Dakota State University, Spring 2021

My name is Nadifa Mahamed. I was born in Chad, North Central Africa. My family left Chad when I was only nine months old due to the civil war and went to Cameroon where I grew up. On December 2, 2010, we arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, our new home. I graduated from Washington High School in May of 2015.

At that time I was not planning on going to college. In fact, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I felt that before I could do anything, I needed to learn more English. All through high school I was told that my knowledge of English was inadequate, I was bullied for speaking incorrect English, so why would I want to go to college and get bullied more? So I spent the next few months focusing on my English. I watched many movies and had conversations with English speaking friends.

During that time I was working in hospitality, my hours were crazy and my paycheck was never enough to make a comfortable living. I decided that this was not what I wanted out of life. My goal was to empower girls back home to go to school and get an education. I could not be an advocate for something I was not doing myself. I had to walk the walk. In January 2016 I started at the University Center (now Community College of Sioux Falls) with a major in sociology. I was very nervous about what going to college in the US would be like. I was shy, I had low self-confidence and I was still worried about my English. I was also concerned that people in my environment would not support my major, and some still don’t today.

In December 2017 I was asked by one of my teachers, Jennifer Schelske, to share my story with the South Dakota Board of Regents. I had no idea who and what that was. I agreed, as a favor to Jennifer because she had been so helpful and supportive ever since I started taking classes at the University Center. This meeting changed everything. The Regents were so touched and impressed by my story that they offered their support. President Dunn from SDSU made my transition to becoming an SDSU student very easy and continued to support me until I graduated. Regent Thares offered to pay my tuition until I graduated. This took away my constant worries about finances and allowed me to focus on my education. Regent Wink also had my back. She consistently showed her support and was only a phone call away. I graduated from South Dakota State University on May 08, 2021, with a major in sociology and minors in French, social and human services and leadership and management of non-profit organizations


WinkWorld Readers, Joan here again.  I remember Nadifa’s visit to our board, as if it was yesterday.  She came and she conquered.  I was in awe of her life’s story, her perseverance, and her ability to communicate in her new language, English.  When she walked out of the room, two of the other board members and I followed her out to the hallway.  I was not the only person who shed a tear or two as  she talked.


 When I was growing up in Africa in the middle of unrest and civil war, I witnessed many horrors of my people suffering and being mistreated, especially women and children. I made a promise to myself that one day I would do something about this. I am passionate about women’s rights, equality, family, the community and our youth. I am an advocate for peace and finding solutions that will bridge all people, all genders, all religions and all ethnicities together so we can achieve greatness. I am pushing myself to gain courage and strength to stand up for what’s right and to be a voice for the voiceless.  My goal for the future is to have a fashion company and a non-profit organization that empowers our women, youth and children – everyone included. Currently I am working on launching my fashion company and hopefully the website will go live soon.

Nadifa has a passion for fashion.


Meet Wynn Wink-Moran, University of New Mexico, with a degree in Film and Digital Media Arts (FDMA)

My name is Wynn Wink-Moran, and Joan Wink is my Grammie. She is one of the most inspiring women I have ever known, and I am so proud to be her granddaughter. Throughout my life she has been so supportive of any endeavor I chose. She taught me to love reading and nature and that life can be as beautiful as you make it. I have tried to employ these values within my own life, especially my education.

This year I am graduating as an undergrad at the University of New Mexico. I am graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Media Arts with a specialization in film production. Film has always evoked passion in my personal life and spending four years learning about the ins and outs has only made me more interested in my degree. As an introvert escapism is where I truly thrive. Film is able to grant me that escapism through the stories and art they depict. Movies have brought me comfort since I was a child and I hope to produce that same comfort for children and adults everywhere. While my degree may seem impractical or inconsequential to some it has brought me an abundance of happiness and has helped me through many taxing situations.

My journey toward getting my diploma has been wonderful and complicated. When I first started in the fall of 2017 my original plan was to obtain a degree in Biology. Why did I choose this path? Who knows? I figured a STEM degree would be the most financially beneficial and that was the only thing I really cared about at that time. However, the more I progressed with this path the more I hated the work I was doing. I never knew I was so right brained until I took chemistry. While I could complete the work somewhat successfully, it felt as if my brain was going to explode every time I did my lab work. To those of you who thrive in careers centered around STEM I truly respect and admire you. For me it just was not the right fit.

I switched to film my sophomore year and started my new classes. I instantly felt more comfortable with myself and my abilities. I loved hearing my classmates’ creative ideas and how impressive everyone was. In the fall of my junior year I had suffered a lot of mental health setbacks and I did not complete my semester. While I was comfortable out of school I knew if I didn’t go back in the spring, I never would. So I enrolled and went back, took summer classes to catch up and here I am today. I have no immediate plans for work, but in five years I hope to be working on films that I care about and working with talented crews that I love. All I can ask is for happiness and growth with what may come next.

Wynn Eliz, I am so proud of you, and I love your honest, authentic writing. xo



Finally, WinkWorld Readers, I want you to meet Dean Austin Wink, who just graduated from DeForest, High School in Wisconsin.  He was named Dean Austin when born, but mostly he has been Austin to the family.  Throughout his high school  years, he seems to have morphed into another Dean Wink, as this is what his friends call him. Next year he will attend UW, Whitewater.  His is interested in music and all things culinary.  Austin is kind, honorable, and ambitious, and one can usually find him with a job cooking for someone.  Most recently, he is preparing meals at a country club – I am sure he is learning much.  In addition, Austin is a drummer and loves  all of the marching band activities.  He was sad not to get his senior year  with all of the music activities and fun.  COVID wrecked the senior year for so many. We are all looking forward to all of the kids being back in face-to-face school and activities.   We were happy we could be in WI for  Austin’s face-t0-face, lively, fun graduationBo and Lisa Wink, with their son,  Dean Austin Wink

Bo, Dean Austin, Garrett, and Lisa.  Garrett will be our last grandchild to graduate, which is 2 years away.



June 27, 2021Read More