What were you doing prior to applying to Stanford Graduate School of Education?
Prior to applying to the GSE, I was living in Shanghai. I spent three years there working and traveling before returning to school for my master’s degree.
What drew you to study education?
Education is an incredible resource, if you are lucky enough to have access to a quality education system and determined enough to make use of it. Unfortunately, problems with access and quality exist in the States and all around the world that prevent people from reaping the full benefits of education. I feel compelled to make positive changes to this important field of so that everyone can have access.
The main things that drew me to Stanford were the small cohort size, the research requirement (the MA paper), and the weather!
What was your first job after completing the program?
Now that I have finished my master's degree, I am working for an education technology company in San Francisco. The work is interesting and fast-paced, and I get to apply my existing knowledge and experiences from the field of education to the new tech skills I am learning every day. Working in a start-up environment is exciting: I have the freedom to try a variety of different roles and take on significant responsibilities and challenges.
What’s unusual about the International Comparative Education & International Education Policy Analysis (ICE-IEPA) Master's Program?
The ICE-IEPA cohort is small and diverse. Most students have spent some time living and working abroad before starting their master’s program, and many students grew up outside of the United States. The range of experiences makes for incredibly interesting discussion in class and offers great exposure to other ways of thinking about issues. Additionally, the ICE-IEPA program offers students the opportunity to do research, which is rare in one-year master’s programs but very important.
What did you do to relax and have fun outside of school?
Cook, have picnics and potlucks, exercise (from weightlifting to badminton, I’m game), and watch documentaries.
What did you do for you master’s project?
My MA paper is called “Exploring the potential for sex education to change attitudes about sexual violence: A study of three programs in the United States.” I examined three sex ed curricula to determine how they adhere to a theoretical framework of attitude change supported by transformative learning theory and social meliorism. I feel strongly about the importance of teaching subjects such as sex education, financial literacy, and tech literacy in schools, and those interests are in part what led me to this project.
What advice do you have for prospective students on the application process?
Two of the most special features of the ICE-IEPA program are its small cohort size and the opportunity to do research. Consider how you will benefit from and contribute to the small cohort. Why is that preferable to you over the larger cohorts that many other programs have? As for the research component, while you do not necessarily need to have a specific project in mind, it is important to think about the value of research and why you want to undertake such a large project. How will it benefit you personally or professionally, and how will it benefit the field of education?
Any tips for incoming students?
Stanford is a fantastic place to spend a year. There are endless opportunities and resources to take advantage of, and one way to be in the know from the start is to sign up for listservs. Explore a range of different student groups, use the gyms and outdoor recreational facilities, visit campus museums, take advantage of student-price tickets (from sports to the arts), and enjoy the many open spaces around campus.
This interview was completed in November 2015.