What drew you to the field of education?
I was drawn to teaching, as many are, through my love and respect for the brilliance of kids and passion to solve inequities. I was drawn to graduate school to hopefully expand my impact and continue my own learning.
What research do you hope to pursue at Stanford?
One of the things I’ve found most remarkable about the Graduate School of Education (GSE) is the flexibility to explore interdisciplinary lines of work. I am working on a project related to character development in youth with my advisor at the GSE’s Center on Adolescence. I am also working on a project helping youth transition back into schools from the juvenile justice system with a postdoc in the Stanford psychology department. Additionally I'm conducting research about the complex systems of youth incarceration with a professor at the law school. Education is such a widely relatable field, and others around Stanford are open and excited to collaborate.
How would you describe the other doctoral students in your program?
The other doctoral students in my program are inspirational. Not a day goes by that I’m not in awe of the work they’re doing, the lives they’re leading and the passion they continue to exude. Stanford’s clamoring toward diversity rings true with my cohort of unique and brilliant minds from varying backgrounds, and I’m humbled with every interaction. I’ve recently begun to focus on prioritizing interactions with other doctoral (and masters!) students because I sometimes learn more from them than from any class.
What have been some highlights so far of your time at Stanford?
This past year I’ve had two particularly memorable moments—one in a class and one during a weekend workshop. During GSE professor Ray McDermott’s “Culture, Learning and Poverty” class, I experienced a turning point in my research as we deeply explored the “why” question often forgotten as we doctoral students overwhelm ourselves with the “what” and the “how” of our research pursuits. The class challenged many of my previously unexamined beliefs and assumptions about the lens through which I hope to improve education in this country. The second memorable moment was a few weekends ago at a Digital Storytelling Workshop where I ended up spending the whole weekend reflecting on my identity and my personal narrative—a practice I think everyone should do at some point throughout their grad school experience!
What’s something fun that you do to relax?
I decided I'd learn how to surf this fall (which was a humbling experience…) and have found some amazing mountain bike and running trails in the South Bay. I moved to California from Colorado, and this winter I’ve found my way up to Tahoe for some skiing — almost comparable to the Rockies!
What advice would you give students considering Stanford GSE?
There’s truly no place on earth like it so I highly recommend a visit before making the decision. Then, go with your gut. (It’ll probably be screaming STANFORD since they feed us so well here!)
Any tips for incoming students to help them get the most from their time here?
Make use of other grad students! They are an underused resource here. There are a few amazing programs in the early stages of inception to help younger students connect with mentors. Take advantage of these programs, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your colleagues. Also, take advantage of all that Stanford has to offer. Go to the sports games, see a concert at Bing, listen to lectures in the med school, hit up Windhover to meditate. Find some time to explore!
This interview was conducted via email in February 2016.