My journey to the International and Comparative Education MA program at Stanford GSE began when I was an undergraduate studying political science at UC Berkeley. At the beginning of my undergraduate career, I had not anticipated that I would pursue a career related to education; however, by my final year as an undergraduate, I was taking courses in the globalization of education, critical studies in education, and language education. I have a political science background and I come from a family of educators whose lives were transformed for the better by education; given my background, I wanted to attend a graduate program that would allow me to combine several of my research interests, which were at the intersection of education and public policy. I was interested in several education-related issues, such as educational inequality, language education, and the influence of education on identity building. The ICE MA program was the perfect fit for me, as it allowed me to explore all of these in both my MA paper research and in my classes and discussions with my cohort members.
The skills I have gained during my time in the ICE MA program have helped me immensely in opening doors for me and advancing my career as a researcher in education. While I entered the ICE MA program anticipating that I would primarily be a qualitative researcher, the program allowed me to explore research methods with which I was unfamiliar. With the support of my professors in my qualitative and quantitative research courses, I was able to become both a more competent producer of research, but also a more informed and analytical consumer of it.
After graduating from the program, I took a job as a research associate at the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, a nonprofit research organization based in Ras al Khaimah, a northern emirate of the United Arab Emirates. At the Foundation, I will support research on social and economic development in Ras al Khaimah and the broader UAE, especially as it relates to education and public health, and give policy recommendations to relevant stakeholders in the emirate. The classes I took at the MA program related to policy analysis and resource allocation have given me a solid background in approaching these problems, even in a vastly different geographical and cultural context than the one I am from.
The GSE has been instrumental both in opening my eyes to the most pressing issues affecting education around the globe today, and in giving me the tools and skills I need to approach analyzing them and giving suggestions to solve them. For that I am truly grateful, and I hope to put the lessons I have learned at the GSE to good use throughout my career as a researcher in education.