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ICE Graduation

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Lisa Overbey

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Lisa Overbey

Prior to coming to Stanford, I worked on international affairs for the World Bank in Berlin, Germany. Earlier in my career, I taught English in France and worked on education projects in sub-Saharan Africa at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. My interest in understanding the role education plays in shaping societies and its citizens grew through these experiences. 

It was a big decision to return to graduate school. I already had a Master’s degree in international relations and a fulfilling job. In the end, it was my passion for education and desire to acquire the technical skills to reorient the focus of my career to research that brought me to Stanford.

Stanford’s ICE program distinguishes itself from other programs by its focus on ensuring that its students acquire the quantitative and qualitative skills to engage in high-quality education research in addition to expanding students’ breadth of knowledge on topics in education. When deciding on an MA program, I knew I wanted to come away from it with concrete skills that I could immediately apply in a research job or PhD program. Stanford seemed like the best place for me to achieve these goals.  It’s a rigorous program, and completing a research project alongside the regular coursework is challenging but extremely rewarding. The small cohort size allows you to build strong, supportive relationships with other students in your program. Stanford also stands out for the access students have to courses and professors across all schools at the university. It’s a place where students can indulge their intellectual curiosity with unparalleled support and resources and where motivation and initiative are rewarded.

Honestly, the demands of the MA program and being a parent to a young child left little time for leisure activities. However, I spent most of the free time I had outside of classes enjoying the beach and wonderful hiking opportunities near the campus with my family. The Bay Area is such a unique place to explore with fantastic weather most of the year.

Deciding to do the ICE MA program was a big decision but one that I am very glad that I made. The Stanford GSE is an excellent place to pursue graduate study. After my year in the ICE MA program, I feel confident saying that I think that anyone that completes it will be well prepared for jobs in many education sectors, including education development, policy, or to continue graduate study in a PhD program. You will enjoy lots of California sunshine, maybe take up a new sport or hobby, and undoubtedly acquire new friends that will see you through life after Stanford.

I immediately began the PhD program in ICE at Stanford after completing the MA program. My year in the MA program assured me of my passion for education research, and it felt like the natural next step for me to pursue doctoral studies. I knew that if I wanted to focus more specifically on education research in an international context either as a professor or returning to work for an international organization, now was the time to continue my research training. My current research focuses on trends in the type/content of education reforms cross-nationally and the relationship between civic education and societal values.

ICE Doctoral Candidate
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