Doctoral Student Spotlights

Heidi Whitford

Higher and Postsecondary Education

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
The program in Higher and Postsecondary Education allowed me to pursue my interests in global higher education, as well as policy and practice regarding diversity and equitable access to higher education. The program offers a multitude of learning and research opportunities that are at the crossroads of various disciplines and theoretical paradigms. Furthermore, the program has provided access to a learning community comprised of a talented pool of students and faculty who engage in frequent collaborations and conversations on many topics of interest in the field of higher education.
My academic passion is:
Finding out what truly engages and inspires college students.
In 5 or 10 years I hope to:
Have an administrative and/or faculty position in which I can have a positive and inspirational influence on college students.
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
Listening to music being played in Washington Square Park.
A hobby I have is:
My favorite place to get coffee or eat around NYU:
Focus of my research of scholarship:
Student activism, college student learning and development, globalization and higher education.
I'm interested in this topic because:
Activism is a form of student involvement that is unique in the way that it is organic and student-centered, and has a long history in the higher education landscape. It also takes place in many countries throughout the world in different forms, and brings up many relevant questions about the place and purpose of higher education in society.
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
As the first person in my family to go to college, I faced many challenges that later influenced my thinking about the importance of higher education and its place in society. My experience made me wonder how I could help others who also struggled to attain higher education, and in doing so, make the world a better place in some small way.
Research or scholar I most admire:
Arthur W. Astin
Professor who has influenced me the most:
Dr. Teboho Moja
Research project I've most enjoyed working on:
My dissertation work on student activism.
Scholarly presentation of my work I'm most proud of:
My first presentation at CIES (Comparative and International Educaiton Society) about a project that took place in Israel.
Favorite course as a doctoral student:
Qualitative Research
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
Having supportive friends and good conversations.

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Career Goals:
An academic or administrative position at a university.
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Steinhardt Graduate Student Travel Award
Other professional or service activities:
Taught class in Globalization and Higher Education Reform. Member of Social Action Exchange community service organization.