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Gabriela Fiore Bonicio

Photo of Gabriela Fiore Bonicio sitting on a green chair under a palm in Old Union square

Gabriela Fiore Bonicio

GSE Program: 
MA, Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS)
BA, International Relations, University of São Paulo
Year of GSE degree: 
São Paulo, Brazil

"We have a lot of liberty to choose courses, so try to find a balance between exploring and making a coherent learning journey."

You’ve arrived at spring quarter! How would you describe your experience so far?

It was truly great. It might feel busy some weeks—we are pursuing 45 credits in nine months—but the learning is enormous.

Please tell us a bit about your favorite course.

I loved Cognition and Learning with Professor Maria Ruiz-Primo. I gained an understanding of how people learn, the circumstances that enhance learning, and key aspects about memory and retrieval.

Why Stanford?

Stanford has the best graduate school of education. I was drawn to high-achieving professors who studied topics that I was very much interested in. Now that I'm here, I've also learned that Stanford's vibrant community sparks interests I did not have before, such as working with teachers.

How would you describe the other students in your cohort?

Amazing. We are a tight group, and our small cohort size allows us to have rich discussions in which everyone can have their voices heard. I very much enjoy seeing them every Friday.

What have you learned about leadership in POLS?

Leadership involves tough decisions, compromise, and building relationships. Also, there is no recipe for good leadership. Different contexts and environments require their own specific sets of routines, processes, and decisions. Ann Jaquith's Leading Change in Schools course is a rich opportunity to learn about leadership frameworks in educational settings. 

What were you doing prior to applying to the GSE?

Working at an educational nonprofit and teaching Portuguese as a second language to immigrants and refugees in São Paulo.

Photo of Gabriela Fiore Bonicio

What are your career plans and goals?

In the short term, I'd like to promote formative assessment by working with teachers as they learn to implement this practice in their classrooms. While I was always interested in how students self-regulate and make decisions, I only learned about formative assessment at Stanford, especially during my field project, partnering with an organization and school district that had been implementing the practice.

In the long term, I see myself deepening the connection between leadership and learning, strengthening the focus on the process of learning. For me, the future of education requires tackling questions of whether students are interested in their learning and whether students and teachers are psychologically and physically healthy. These questions might, in turn, require assessing and shifting what society values in education.

What advice do you have for students who are trying to decide whether to attend the POLS program?

We have a lot of liberty to choose courses, so try to find a balance between exploring and making a coherent learning journey. Also, the field project can be a great source of learning and expansion of abilities. Finally, have fun!

What do you do to relax and have fun?

I go running or swim. Exercise always calms me down. I also love to cook, especially with a bottle of beer by my side.

Photo of Gabriela Fiore Bonicio sitting on a fountain in Old Union square

Contact us

PhD students, please contact

Photo of Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Associate Director of Degree Programs

MA POLS and MA/PP students, please contact

Wesley Horng
Wesley Horng
Associate Director of Admissions & Academic Affairs

EDS, ICE/IEPA, Individually Designed, LDT, MA/JD, MA/MBA students, please contact

Photo of Caroline Stasulat
Caroline Stasulat
Associate Director of Degree Programs
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