Prior to joining the Stanford ICE program, I served as the Executive Director of a non-governmental organization which works to expand access to education, health, and economic opportunity for marginalized communities in India and Cambodia. While my background covered the broad spectrum of development interventions—ranging from microfinance to water access—I was always particularly drawn to education given its demonstrable ‘multiplier effect’ in combatting extreme poverty.
My experience working in international development solidified my commitment to the field, but I also found myself frustrated with the slow march toward systemic change. Confounding the shortage of resources and political will is the dearth of evidence on best practices for improving education access and outcomes. The Stanford ICE program afforded an excellent opportunity to explore these issues in-depth as well as obtain the practical skills needed to contribute to the burgeoning field of research on effective education policy in developing contexts.
The ICE program offers an ideal balance between theory and practice which is manifested in the MA paper. Students learn how to situate their research within existing theoretical frameworks as well as apply practical quantitative and/or qualitative skills in answering their research question(s). I also appreciated the opportunity to shape my own program, and regularly ventured beyond the GSE for classes (including in the School of Medicine and Department of Economics). In addition to gaining practical research skills and experience, students have the opportunity to study under some of the most prolific faculty in the world.
The ICE program was everything I had hoped for and more. Thanks to the skills acquired during my time at Stanford, I was offered a position as a field-based Research Manager for Innovations for Poverty Action—a pioneer in the field of impact evaluation in developing contexts. At my new job, I will oversee a portfolio of randomized control trials which will examine the effectiveness of development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. I feel well-prepared for this next exciting chapter in life.