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Julia Lerch

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Julia Lerch

I started focusing on education issues after completing my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom. I began by working on an education campaign for children in conflict-affected and fragile states at the International Save the Children Alliance and continued by researching issues of education and conflict in the Southern Philippines during my Master’s in International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Immediately prior to Stanford, I also spent a year working in higher education management at the University of London. My research agenda, developed at Stanford, is focused on institutional change in the international aid sector and across national education systems, triggered by powerful processes of socio-cultural globalization.

For a number of reasons, I believe that the Stanford ICE program provides an excellent platform for launching a career both in academia and the policy world. For one, the program is truly interdisciplinary at the same time as providing disciplinary grounding through a PhD minor or Master’s. While there are core requirements to anchor students in comparative education, we are free to take classes and seminars in other departments across the University, which gives a real breadth to our graduate training. The methodological preparation is outstanding, particularly in quantitative methods, which I think puts us in a strong position to pursue rigorous academic and policy work. Finally, and most importantly, I have been given a remarkable set of research and teaching opportunities. I was able to participate in a number of research projects led by Stanford faculty, leading to several publications. I was also able to get a range of teaching experience, including as primary instructor. My advisors and dissertation committee have just been incredibly generous with their time and feedback, and have been instrumental in the development of my personal research agenda. And I learned a tremendous amount working on projects and publications with my brilliant peers. In short, it has been a great privilege to learn and work at Stanford and I have no doubt that my experience in the ICE program will profoundly shape my future opportunities.

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