Dr. Lindsey B. "Luka" Carfagna is a visiting scholar in the Department of Informatics (Connected Learning Lab) at UC Irvine, works full time as a Learning Experience and Assessment Specialist at Thomas Edison State University, has taught as a sociologist at several universities, and is a certified personal trainer. She can usually be found lurking wherever connected communities meet economic, educational, and ecological challenges and her dissertation focused on how young people utilized open learning resources and practices as a buffer for hard economic times after the 2008 crisis and subsequent recession.
For her undergraduate degree, Lindsey went to the University of Vermont on a full athletic scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. After injuries forced her to medically retire from the game, she turned her focus to scholarship and advocacy. Lindsey transformed her passion for the beautiful game into a disciplined pursuit of sociology's unique vocational power to speak truth, heal wounds, and inspire calls to action.
In 2007, Lindsey entered a Masters program at the University of Chicago in the Social Sciences, where she was trained to cultivate "the Life of the Mind" in an environment well known for its contributions to sociology. Here, she became a student of organizational sociology and the sociology of education. Lindsey learned to craft her practical questions about educational inequity into theoretical questions about how organizational structures can communicate myths that we take for granted in daily life. After graduation, she worked as an adjunct at a for-profit college and then as a residence director at the University of Vermont. Two years later, she started the Sociology PhD program at Boston College.
At Boston College, Lindsey became an apprentice of the work of Juliet Schor and served as one of her research assistants as part of the MacArthur Foundation's Connected Learning Research Network. She also taught, co-taught, and worked as a teaching assistant for various courses in the Sociology and Education departments. In 2015, she was awarded the Donald White teaching award. During Lindsey's enrollment at Boston College, she continued to work outside of her department responsibilities and was fortunate to meet two independent scholars who helped her to imagine a career beyond the academy. With one foot in the academy and the other seeking new opportunities, she created a unique PhD process that captured the rigor of academia and the creativity of entrepreneurial work. As part of her dissertation fieldwork, Lindsey met many entrepreneurs and picked up entrepreneurial skills herself. Now, she's using those skills to launch her own career as an independent scholar.
At Thomas Edison State University, Lindsey is helping build the university's first fully competency based Associate's degree program in Liberal Studies (AALS). The AALS is the 8th competency based degree program in the nation to receive accreditation from Middle States and has been designed using completely free and open resources. She also supports the redesign of the school's various prior learning assessment programs for adult education to support innovations in pedagogy, particularly around the introduction of Connected Learning principles into the design of curriculum and assessment.
As part of her remote visiting scholar position with UC Irvine, Lindsey continues to support the mission of the Connected Learning Lab and assists in various projects internally and with outside vendors to advance Connected Learning projects and research. She is a board advisor for The Paradigm Switch and enjoys implementing her dissertation findings into initiatives that help military spouses find meaningful remote careers. She also recently started a program in spiritual direction at the Shalem Institute and looks forward to learning more about contemplative spirituality while supporting others in their spiritual lives. When not working, she likes to dream about seemingly impossible solutions to major problems, like the design of a fully cooperative college owned by students and faculty.
Portrait photos by Jenny Hogan