Before coming to Stanford, I worked as a teacher and curriculum developer in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Czech Republic, and Thailand. Working within these different education systems allowed me to develop an informed and critical perspective on how the interplay of numerous factors, both inside and outside the classroom, can strongly influence students’ academic opportunities and achievement. Most notably, while working in the Marshall Islands, I witnessed how the combination of limited access to quality educational resources, a lack of trained teachers, and various sociocultural factors strongly inhibited students’ ability to develop basic literacy skills.
My desire to augment my perspective on international education with a set of firm analytical research skills and a deep content knowledge of language and literacy within developing contexts quickly led me to Stanford’s International Comparative Education master’s program. Through studying with professors whose research focused on language and literacy, I was able to develop a much deeper understanding of literacy development and international literacy programs, as well as the ability to critically read and critique current research within the field. Through support of additional professors and alumni, I was able to directly apply the quantitative and qualitative research skills I developed through my coursework to research projects using data from Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program.
In this regard, perhaps the most invaluable aspect of my Stanford experience was becoming part of the very impressive and far-reaching GSE alumni network. Through the GSE network, I was able to secure a contracting position at Room to Read, working under another Stanford ICE/IEPA alum. This contracting work eventually led to a data analysis internship with Room to Read, and to my current position as Room to Read’s Associate Program Manager for curriculum in Southeast Asia. The analytical research skills and content knowledge surrounding literacy and educational development that I gained at Stanford have allowed me to be a meaningful and effective contributor at Room to Read.
My time at Stanford was truly life-changing, and I feel so fortunate to have been part of such a renowned and rigorous master’s program. I look forward to remaining an active and engaged member of the Stanford GSE alumni network, and am especially thankful for the relationships I developed with my professors and peers at Stanford.