I came to Stanford and chose this program because I wanted to better understand education policies, economics, and mechanisms underlying education programs and reforms, by comparing different systems across the globe. My ambition was to become an enlightened advocate for equity and access to quality education, to give back what I received. Indeed, I am French and Cameroonian and grew up in Cameroon, where having access to quality education is not taken for granted. I decided to shift from strategy consulting to education to have a more positive impact on what matters to me!
Here at Stanford, I could measure how extremely fortunate I was to have access to this unique environment, full of opportunities, smart and generous people willing to « improve lives through learning ». This institution not only promotes excellence by pushing the students to develop their potential, but the Stanford Graduate School of Education also provides an exceptional academic framework to help students thrive intellectually and personally. More specifically, the research project that we develop throughout the year, from day one to the end, is one of the strongest assets of the program and reflects each student’s personal interests and involvement. Over the year, each of us, coming from countries around the globe, all learn to become education researchers, with rigor, resilience, and high standards.
I discovered both the education field and academic research, and it paved the way for new perspectives in my future. Curious about the influence of International Organizations’ interventions in sub-Saharan education programs, I decided to deep-dive into this topic for my master thesis. Enjoying the process of research, as well as the result, I realized that I could pursue my understanding of fascinating topics and contribute to academic knowledge. In this journey, our program director, my advisor, the teachers, and teaching assistants constantly supported me, providing me with the tools and methods needed to thrive as a researcher.
During this incredibly demanding year, I met colleagues who became friends, from my cohort and the faculty staff also. The IEPA provides international perspectives, not only in the academic courses and workshops but also in the way the cohort is recruited. It is a life-changing experience to be surrounded by such a diverse cohort, made of brilliant people who are all moved by their common passion for education and learning. Their experiences and cultural backgrounds brought so much to the table during discussions and debates, and it is both inspiring and enlightening to understand what international policies actually mean. Beyond research papers and theories, there are people, and you can discuss them with real-life stories and grounded analyses.
Now that my program is over, I am currently interning for an EdTech startup in India through the Stanford Seed Program (Stanford Graduate School of Business). My next chapter is still to be written, but I feel confident that my experience in the IEPA program will allow me to be a better mother and perhaps a fully dedicated Ph.D. student in education.