Nigora is a first-generation immigrant, person of color, international student, indigenous to Central Asia, ecofeminist, ecojustice, decolonizing, and place-based scholar. She is also a mother and a constant learner. Nigora joined the SEMIS Coalition leadership team in 2018 and graduated with her PhD in Educational Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2021. Her research focuses on ecojustice education, place-based education, ecofeminism, settler colonialism, postcolonial theory, social justice, indigenous wisdom, and the connection of local to global situation. She uses her research to build communities that are based on diversity of experiences, democratic decision-making for social and ecological sustainability and justice, and addressing structural injustices. Her research informs her work in education and at schools. 

Dr. Erkaeva’s MA and PhD focused on a cross-disciplinary approach to analyzing school-community relationships and what role educators can play to build inclusive, transformative, and democratic learning communities. She is passionate about decolonization of our mind, system, knowledge production, and actions and how we can start this process at the grassroots level as well as structural level. She believes that injustice and inequality are structural, but each of us can change it by making small steps in our core beliefs that further shapes our action.  

These are Nigora’s sons, Finlay and Daler.

Nigora serves as a place-based educator and administrative manager for the SEMIS Coalition. She assists in coordinating the organization’s daily functions with Ethan Lowenstein, Lisa Voelker, and Laura Florence on the Administrative Team, supports the planning and facilitation of professional development and teacher curriculum coaching focusing on how to integrate an ecojustice approach into place-based practice, supports building local and international research community, and works on communications. One of the big focuses she is going to concentrate on in the coming years is to connect global indigenous wisdom and issues of injustice to local indigenous communities’ wisdom and justice struggles in Michigan.

She is a mother to two beautiful children and loves her time camping, reading, watching movies, playing board games, and simply staying home laughing, cuddling, and resting. For her, love is an action, and to work towards communities that are ecologically, socially, and economically healthy, just, vibrant, diverse, sustainable, and democratic is a path worth living for.