Undergraduate University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Undergraduate Major: Psychology
Current Job: Survey Coordinator for the Tripod Student Survey, Office of Research and Data at NYC Department of Education
What is your favorite part of your job?
I am excited about being a part of the implementation of a large, new research initiative in NYC schools. The Tripod Student Survey is an instrument that captures student perceptions of the classroom and was developed by Harvard Education Professor, Ronald Ferguson. Because of the number of students served in the NYC school district, once implemented, it will become the largest annual survey in the United States. As with anything new, the environment is very fast-paced and entrepreneurial, and I am learning everyday what it takes to “bring research to life.” It has been very challenging –but that is one of the biggest reasons why I love the role.
What was your favorite part of the Sociology of Education program?
My favorite class was a Participatory Action Research class I took my last semester of graduate school. It is centered on popular education --a pedagogy for the liberation of oppressed peoples. That class forever changed me and I look up to Donna Nevel, the professor who facilitated the class.
How did NYU prepare you for your current job?
My graduate study in Sociology of Education has very well prepared me for my current role in educational research. For one, the program painted for me the “big-picture” in education --inclusive of processes that occur outside of the school setting. This allows me to contextualize and consciously reflect on how my role contributes to and/or resists the reproduction of inequalities in schools. Furthermore, it gave me the tools to make sense of, analyze, and critique research, especially ones that relate to education. It was very exciting on my first days on the job to read research studies informing my current position and truly understand what they were talking about!
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?
Current students: Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box in your search to understand education/schools. Look for classes outside of Steinhardt, even if you’re the only one from outside of your department. Look for outside resources to guide you through your thesis and don’t feel limited to discuss education as it occurs in a school setting.
Any last thoughts that you'd like to share with current or prospective students?
I joined the program with a background and mindset in social justice. I have always had a strong belief in the power of education (inside and outside of schools) as a tool for community and youth empowerment. Before attending NYU, I searched for a program that would nurture my understanding of the complex processes at play in society (e.g., religion, economics, race, power, etc.), and would not limit what I identify to be the root causes of inequalities in schools. NYU’s Sociology of Education granted me that intellectual freedom as well as equipped me with invaluable research skills that are applicable for many settings. For this, I’m forever grateful for having been a part. If you’re anything like me, I encourage you to learn more about the program and apply!