You’re almost done with the first year as the inaugural cohort of EDS! What has it been like?
Challenging but rewarding. It has been a really good experience for defining my interests and seeking out opportunities (via classes, projects, conversations, etc.) to develop knowledge and skills in those areas. Because we are the first cohort, we’ve been able to give feedback on improvements, and I've been impressed with how the leadership team has responded and made changes to better our experience and the program for the future.
What is unique about the Education Data Science program?
It’s the only education data science program in the country (and maybe the world), so you can’t get this level of interdisciplinary education at the intersection of education and data science anywhere else. It’s also small, which allows deeper engagement among cohort members and with faculty. Stanford and Stanford GSE are also well known, accomplished, and well resourced, so I think this program in particular gives students better opportunities and bang-for-buck than other similar programs.
How have professors impressed you?
Their general willingness to engage with students (even if they aren’t your active professor) and talk about shared interests, their research, directions for students to pursue academically and professionally, and how to pursue skill development.
I was mostly drawn to the GSE because of its faculty (especially after seeing sean reardon talk at a conference) and their research. I also found serendipitously after coming here that Stanford is the ideal place for grad school because: (1) there are more grad students than undergrads, so there’s no shortage of people to meet, and it feels like a university catering to graduate education; (2) almost everyone lives on campus, which really lends to a huge, thriving graduate student community; and (3) there is no shortage of opportunities and interesting events going on at all times.
How would you describe the other students in your cohort?
Diverse in interests, skill sets, and backgrounds; passionate about learning; collaborative and helpful towards other cohort members and colleagues; really smart and proactive
What drew you to education data science?
I had always been interested in education policy, which led me to data, statistics, and analysis/measurement in upper level undergraduate courses. In industry I saw a huge need in K–12 education for more robust understanding and use of data. I struggled to find a program that would marry those two things. Education policy programs did not offer enough data training. Statistics programs didn’t offer much opportunity to apply data in the way I wanted to. It was really important to me to ground my understanding of data in ensuring it fairly represents students, educators, and K–12 issues.
What were you doing prior to applying to the GSE?
I was a Fullbright scholar in Madrid, Spain, where I taught English and history at a public high school. Before that I was a project manager of data and analytics at a Philadelphia education nonprofit on projects related to the charter school enrollment system and the Philadelphia school finder.
Any tips for incoming students to help them get the most from their time at Stanford?
Meet with professors outside of class, even just to talk about their research. Developing relationships with faculty is a really great way to learn about areas you’re interested in and get connected to resources and opportunities to further your research, studies, and career.
What do you do to relax and have fun?
Play soccer, read, do the NYT crossword, go to the beach
Photos by Rod Searcey