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ICE Graduation

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Idalia Rodriguez Morales

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Idalia Rodriguez Morales

After graduating from college and a working in the market research field, I decided to turn my interest for education into concrete efforts to improve educational access and opportunities for others in my home country, Mexico. Based in one of the most renowned public universities, I was responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of a publicly funded program that aimed to identify and support talented students from underprivileged backgrounds. As the program expanded, the challenges I faced became more complex and closely related to bigger issues of educational policies, which puzzled me and motivated my graduate studies. With the financial help of the Claudio X. Gonzalez Fellowship, I attended the IEPA program to strengthen my analytic skills and gain a deeper understanding of education and international development. 

The year I spent at Stanford was an invaluable experience that contributed to my growth both academically and personally. My formation as an economist skewed me toward quantitatively-oriented courses, which equipped me with top-notch skills to evaluate programs and policies. However, I believe the theoretical courses in international comparative education, along with the economics of education course, helped me develop a well-rounded researcher profile with a strong theoretical foundation, as they challenged my views of society and education on a daily basis.

The interdisciplinary nature of the GSE is one of its greatest strengths; it opened my eyes to the great value of qualitative analysis, enriched my experience with discussions, peers, and professors from diverse backgrounds, and allowed me to bridge education to different academic disciplines and perspectives. I found support, encouragement, and inspiration on the exceptional work of my program director, professors, teaching assistants, and peers. I am profoundly grateful for having met such a passionate network of friends, mentors, and colleagues.

I found the IEPA program to be full of opportunities to hone my research skills. From day one, I started working on my MA paper, the most valuable and challenging experience of the program. Under the supervision of Professor Martin Carnoy, I studied the effect of neighborhoods on education attainment using a quasi-experimental method. As part of our course assignments, I worked along with my teammates in research projects regarding early childhood education, teachers and education reform, and girls’ access to education in rural areas. With Professor Rie Kijima, I reviewed the proxies for education policy change to account for countries’ participation in cross-national assessments. I had the chance to intern at Save the Children’s Department of Education and Child Protection where I conducted an analysis of Uganda’s early childhood baseline data, and synthesized cross-country impact and equity results of Save the Children's early childhood education projects and interventions in developing countries.

I am currently working as a research consultant at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico and SRI International in the USA evaluating educational projects and contributing to a meta-analysis project on technology in post-secondary educational settings. I look forward to continue applying the knowledge and experience I gained at Stanford in new challenges and to promote educational development through applied research the best I can!