Dr. Ilive Peltier wants to change the world and is well poised to do so. Having earned a Ph.D. in Creative Leadership for Innovation and Change from the University of the Virgin Islands, the recent graduate and long-time educator is up for the challenge. As a Ph.D. student, Peltier studied the role of education, creativity and innovation in sustainability efforts with a focus on the effects of climate change in the Caribbean. Part of her research and ideas on what can be done to mitigate climate change will be published in a new book this year.
“The Caribbean needs more awareness, needs help, and needs to change the way we relate to and think about our environment,” urges Peltier, who lives on St. John. She remembers visiting the mangroves in Coral Bay after the 2017 hurricanes and being struck by the damage. “I just cried,” she recalled. For Peltier, the hurricanes, which hit both the Virgin Islands and her native Dominica, were another wake-up call to the climate crisis.
“I decided on this area of study, not for personal reasons, but for the benefit of our community, our islands, our region,” she said. Though Peltier initially enrolled in the Ph.D. program’s Education track, she switched to the Creativity track when she became intrigued with studying sustainability and climate change mitigation. “With the world changing and education being the catalyst for social change, I felt that the Creativity track was the better place for an educator like me who believes in the ‘revolution’ of education for sustainability, and the only place this can be done is in a space where the imagination can be sparked even more,” said Peltier.
“Dr. Mohomodou Boncana was my mentor in the program and became like family to me,” said Peltier. “He taught me how to do great research. When he passed away, I promised his family and myself I would be the best researcher I could be.”
In addition to her research and writing, Peltier is actively involved in local community outreach and collaborates with other global changemakers as the Island Innovation Ambassador for the USVI and Dominica. Island Innovation is an international organization whose mission is to drive sustainable change across islands and rural areas around the world. As a representative, Peltier attends workshops on sustainable development and receives networking support to develop her own initiatives locally.
Prior to enrolling in UVI’s Ph.D. program, Peltier taught at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School for eight years and taught at the elementary level for 16 years in Dominica. “Education has been my passion,” she said. In 2009, Peltier earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at UVI. After witnessing the change in demographics in VI public schools and the needs of non-English speakers, Peltier went on to earn a master’s degree in English as a Second Language from Ana G. Mendez University (formerly Universidad del Turabo) of Puerto Rico. In conjunction with the Ph.D. program at UVI, Peltier also earned a Graduate Certificate in Creativity and Change Leadership from State University of New York College at Buffalo.
Speaking about her experience at UVI, Peltier said, “It is the best educational experience any student can ask for. The University is small and provides for a very welcoming environment. I had some of the most supportive professors, and the staff is exceptional. My years at UVI left me with a network of great and helpful acquaintances.”