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International and Comparative Education Alumni
With the nation's oldest graduate program in International and Comparative Education, Teachers College's International and Transcultural Education Department has long played a critical role in the formulation and development of international education policy and practice. The combined work of its distinguished faculty and innovative alumni make the impact of the program profound, though not always easily discernable. By offering both an International and Comparative Education and International Education Development track, the program can prepare students for future endeavors in either academia or a professional field of international education. Students have gone on to pursue careers at all levels of educational development, joining NGOs, international organizations, universities, and private and public educational institutions.
The International and Comparative Education program at Teachers College offers students a diverse and flexible means of garnering the knowledge and skills needed to enter the field as either an academic or a practitioner. It succeeds in combining classroom learning with real-world experience so that its graduates are prepared to grapple with the many challenges faced in work for educational equity and justice internationally. Graduates of the program continue to play a critical role in shaping how diverse institutions confront the mandate of Education for All and improve the educational opportunities for students at all levels both domestically and abroad.
International and Comparative Education Alumni, please reconnect with us by filling out our "Update Your Information" form: tc.edu/alumni/update.
Harold J. Noah Alumni Award in International and Comparative Education
Harold J. Noah (’64) is an internationally recognized authority in Comparative Education. He is Gardner Cowles Professor Emeritus in Economics and Education, and former Dean of Teachers College. He has given his name to the Harold J. Noah Alumni Award in International and Comparative Education for alumni within the program.
Dr. Peter Moock (2017)
Dr. Moock received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Teachers College. He studied with Professor Harold J. Noah and kept a close relationship with his former mentor. Later, he left his tenured Associate Professorship at Teachers College to begin a 23-year career at the World Bank. He also served on the editorial board over fifteen years for Teachers College Record and for twenty years for the Economics of Education Review.
Dr. David Post (2010)
Dr. Post received an M.A. from Teachers College and is currently Professor of Higher Education and of Human Development at Pennsylvania State University. His contributions to the field include his scholarship, with particular attention to student perceptions of social and economic returns to education and the relationship between education and child labor, and his notable service as Editor of the Comparative Education Review.
Dr. Miguel Pereyra (2009)
Dr. Pereyra received an M.A. and an M.Phil. from Teachers College. His contributions to the field range from scholarship on the cultural contexts of schooling to service as president of the Comparative Education Society of Europe and chair in Comparative Education at the University of Granada, Spain.
Teachers College Office of Alumni Relations Award Recipients
Distinguished Award Recipients
Harold J. Noah, 1964, 2012 Award.
Noah is an internationally recognized authority in Comparative Education. He is Gardner Cowles Professor Emeritus in Economics and Education, and former Dean of Teachers College. He has given his name to the Harold J. Noah Alumni Award in International and Comparative Education for alumni within the program.
The Reverend Lesley George Anderson, Ed.D., 1987, International Education Development, President of the United Theological Seminary of the West Indies, 2010 Award.
Jill Wilkinson Sheffield, M.A., 1963, 2003 Award.
Amelia Augustus, Ed.D., 1970, 1997 Award.
Early Career Award Recipients
Monisha Bajaj, Ed.D, 2005, was awarded the Early Career Award by the Alumni Association and the College at the 2015 Academic Festival.
Masters Degree Alumni Profiles
M.A., Class of 2014
Current Position: Literacy Coordinator for Economic Empowerment Program, Sanctuary for Families
Before TC: As an undergrad pursuing a degree in East Asian Politics, Anushri worked with the Migrant Outreach Education Initiative along the Thai-Burma border, delivering cultural orientation and English instruction to Burmese refugees and migrant workers seeking resettlement in the border region. Consequently, this led her to co-found Burma Connect (now known as Connecting Myanmar) to fund educational initiatives along the border. This experience strengthened her belief that the right kind of education plays a key role in altering the trajectory of a person’s life, especially when in a vulnerable position. Hence, she pursued the Teach for India fellowship in Pune, India, where she taught a class of fourth-graders. Having 45 students ranging from the ages of 7 to 16 crammed into one classroom, in a community where gender-based violence was compounded by structural violence and debilitating poverty, she began questioning the relationship between education, social mobility, and empowerment. During her fellowship she also developed an interest in the impact of arts on trauma and co-developed an arts-integrated curriculum for her school.
While at TC: While at Teachers College, Anushri became keenly interested in the idea of structural privilege and poverty, exploring the impact of caste identities on Indian education, drawing on the discourse around race in the US and the idea of civic disengagement and schooling. For her Master’s thesis, she conducted field research in the state of Jammu and Kashmir on the “Perceptions of Kashmiri Youth towards the Value of a Higher Education.” She served as the Coordinator of the Working Group on Peace, Conflict, and Education at TC and established a partnership with the Human Rights and Education Colloquium at NYU that she also co-chaired for a year. Teachers College was a space where she believes she was truly allowed to engage with the questions that plagued her around education’s role in society and left her with new questions to explore and deconstruct in her career ahead.
After TC: Anushri is currently the Literacy Coordinator for the Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) at Sanctuary for Families in NYC, an organization that is dedicated to serving survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other forms of gender based violence. The Economic Empowerment Program is a pioneering living wage, career readiness, and technology training initiative that helps program participants break the cycle of poverty, homelessness, and abuse. Participants come from citywide domestic violence shelters. Anushri handles the educational needs of the participants and has developed structured programming that not only enables participants to develop critical thinking skills essential for a living-wage, career-track job, but also helps unpack trauma and address their feelings of isolation, loss of power, and civic disaffection. She also works with the After School Enrichment Program that serves adolescents who have survived gender-based violence. This job has been particularly eye opening for her as it takes on a very integrated and holistic approach, where a survivor’s needs of economic empowerment are understood and addressed in the context of gender-based violence and structural inequalities. Working with social workers, clinicians, and public policy experts, this job balances the micro with the macro and has given her a lot of perspective on poverty alleviation in her home country of India.
Advice for Students: Teachers College is a great place because it attracts a wide variety of people from many different schools of thought. Use grad school to meet people who challenge you and disagree with you—this definitely enabled me to have some truly difficult but perspective-altering conversations. Take classes that make you uncomfortable—because that’s where you’ll really push yourself to think differently and consider different perspectives. Leverage the fact that you are in New York City, and reach out to people who do work that excites you.
M.A., Class of 2011
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Current position: IB Economics Teacher, Robinson Secondary School (Fairfax, VA)
Before TC: I majored in Economics and International Transactions at George Mason University. I served as an International Marketing and Business Management teacher for 9 years in the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. During that time I mentored early career teachers and formed multiple business partnerships to enhance the learning experiences of my students.
While at TC: I studied International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace Education. In addition to learning from TC’s dynamic faculty, I had the opportunity to learn so much from my fellow graduate students. The friendships that I formed with my peace education cohort were one of the most memorable parts of my experience at TC. We formed strong connections over weekly discussion groups and long hours of research and studying together. Teachers College enabled me to gain an understanding of a wide range of topics from effective pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, to education policy at the national and international levels. The focus of my Integrative Project was on Social Justice Leadership, and role of school leaders in fostering more equitable education outcomes for students. I conducted interviews with school district leaders, principals and teachers for my research. While at TC, I had the opportunity to present at the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) Conference in Cartagena, Colombia (2010) and at the CIES Conference in Montreal, Canada (2011). I am grateful to my professors at TC, particularly my Advisor Dr. Steiner-Khamsi, as well as Dr. Mendenhall, Dr. Bajaj, Dr. Zakharia, Dr. Arjmand, Dr. Abdenur, Dr. Huerta, Dr. Broughton, Dr. Brazaitis, Dr. Hansen, and Dr. Alhadeff-Jones. Each one of them challenged me to grow intellectually, influenced my philosophy of education, and inspired me to become a better teacher.
After TC: After completing my degree I made the decision to return to teaching to apply the new skills and knowledge gained to the classroom. For the past 4 years, I have been teaching in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program in the Fairfax County Public Schools. The mission of the IB program “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” is a great match with my concentration in Peace Education and degree in International Educational Development. In 2013, I started an IB Economics program at Robinson Secondary School, the largest public school in Virginia. I currently serve as a lead teacher with an aim to foster financial literacy education. Furthermore, I am an adviser for the Business Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organizations at Robinson, as well as an Extended Essay adviser for IB diploma candidates. I was selected to participate in two teacher fellowships: Goethe Institute Fellowship to Germany (2013) and the Keizai Koho Center Fellowship to Japan (2014). These fellowships have enabled me to expand upon the foundation I had developed at TC, and gain comparative understanding of the opportunities and challenges of achieving education goals in the 21st Century.
Advice for Students: Have the courage to follow your passion and dreams. TC is a very special place and community, enjoy every moment of your time there. Make the most of all the opportunities available at TC, Columbia University and New York City. Build strong relationships with fellow students and professors. Attend as many conferences and professional networking opportunities that are available. Be proactive, and challenge yourself to learn new skills. When you need a break from the long hours of studying and research go for a long walk/ run in Central Park. I wish you all the best with your studies at Teachers College and your professional endeavors.
M.A., Class of 2014
Current Position: Consultant, Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO
Before TC: Emeline did her undergraduate studies in France, in pedagogy and ICTs, where she specifically looked at alternative pedagogy and studied the use of media to develop a culture of intercultural education within the school. Meanwhile, she was involved with a middle school, volunteer work, and worked as a summer camp counselor with youth in foster care and with youth with disabilities. However, the youth she worked with were dropping out if they were not already excluded from school or socially segregated. She realized how policies often reinforce discrimination at school, instead of creating an enabling and safe space for these young people.
While at TC: Emeline came to TC for an MA in International Educational Development and graduated in May 2014. During her time at TC, she explored how policies and curriculum reinforce structural violence or can enable and shape a culture of contextualized inclusion. She unofficially combined two majors, international educational policy and peace and human rights education, and took methods classes and courses on policy and peace education. Then, she completed her degree with courses outside of the department, focusing on the youth audience she had worked with previously. These courses presented an opportunity to reflect the diverse issues related to educational policy for marginalized children and youth in the field of international educational development. Emeline also attended many conferences and roundtables and got involved in student organizations; these activities gave her the chance to interact with different students, professors and researchers and to be exposed to diverse perspectives. She was also involved in a research project with Professor Pizmony-Levy; was a mentor for youth in foster care at New Alternatives for Children; and over the summer break conducted an internship in Tunisia with the international peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground.
After TC: Right after graduation, Emeline joined the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR) team at UNESCO – Paris for an internship. This summer experience was a perfect bridge between her MA and working at an institution. She worked with a team of researchers from whom she learnt a lot and was able to contribute in her field of expertise to draft research about marginalized populations and inclusive educational policies. For four months, she supported research and monitoring on a range of topics such as language of instruction, access to education, teachers, and quality of education. Following the summer internship, she became a consultant for the team to support the finalization of the 2015 report that will be launched in April 2015. With colleagues, she took on additional tasks and responsibilities, including putting together a youth version of the GMR report. She will have spent 10 months with the EFA GMR by April 2015 and has learnt a tremendous amount on how international organizations work and the challenge of doing research for institutions rather than academia. In April 2015, Emeline joined the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) in Geneva to specifically support curriculum design and development on the question of inclusion and Global Citizenship Education.
Advice for Students: New York is an incredible city that you should take full advantage of. Learning happens inside and outside of the university. Take advantage of Teachers College’s life and engage with students and professors both from your feld and outside of your field. Volunteer work, internships, and research projects with professors are opportunities to apply learning, expand your knowledge, and reflect on your work at TC.
Ed.M., Class of 2008
Current Position: Director of Curriculum and Content, Sesame Workshop
Before TC: Abby completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Harvard University, with a language citation in Spanish. When Abby applied to the Masters program at Teachers College, she was particularly interested in how language learning and language status could impact educational outcomes, and how schools could build on the strengths of bilingualism and multilingualism rather than penalizing children who were learning their country’s official or majority language after beginning school. As Abby’s professional path directed her towards public health interventions and preventative care, she began to explore the symmetries and synergies in the health and education fields. Graduate study at Teachers College offered Abby an interdisciplinary training that would continue to underpin and propel her future professional work.
While at TC: At Teachers College, Abby pursued a Masters degree in International Education Development with a concentration in International Humanitarian Issues, and followed this with a doctorate in Health Education. Reflecting on her time at Teachers College, Abby appreciates the encouragement she received from professors to consider education and learning from an interdisciplinary perspective. Her academic study fostered more critical thought about how various political and environmental factors could impact a child’s opportunity to learn and grow. Abby built on this platform, focusing on public health and health education during her doctoral studies. At Teachers College, Abby benefited from advisors and professors who greatly influenced her thinking about health education, health decision making, and international health and education program planning. In particular, she credits Chuck Basch, her dissertation advisor in the Health & Behavior Studies department, and recalls courses that she took with Lesley Bartlett, Monisha Bajaj and others. Overall, Abby shares that her time at Teachers College provided the opportunity to bridge international perspectives on education, schooling and learning with health issues, and set her in good stead for her career addressing the relationships between learning outcomes and health and wellness. During her time at TC, Abby also served as a Senior Editor for the Contemporary Issues in Comparative Education (CICE) journal.
After TC: While at Teachers College, Abby worked for the Global Education department at Sesame Workshop, first in an internship position supporting project development and outreach projects in Latin America and Europe. She was hired as a Senior Educational Content Specialist, where she managed the development of a teacher training project in Ghana and Nigeria and oversaw the content review for a publishing project for the South African co-production Takalani Sesame. As Assistant Director at Sesame Workshop, Abby managed the education, research and outreach activities for Sesame Workshop’s Nigerian co-production Sesame Square, along with other programs around the world. Abby now serves as Director of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop. In this role, she leads curriculum and content planning, development and distribution in diverse settings and across various media platforms, and is responsible for the development of the educational strategy for Sesame Workshop’s global health initiative. Abby is excited about Sesame Workshop’s new global health initiative. “It’s very exciting and challenging to think about how the Muppets and Sesame’s experience with multimedia programming may have the capacity to impact children’s health and wellness outcomes,” she says. Abby notes that in many contexts, in-country Sesame teams work primarily in pre-schools and elementary schools, and reminds us that “school-based health service delivery and health education programs are critical for community health and development.”
Advice for Students: “Set up informational interviews and seek internships at organizations that interest you! It’s very difficult to predict the kind of work experience that you’ll enjoy without spending time within different types of workplaces. And, you’ll learn just as much – and probably more – from any negative experiences.”
M.A., Class of 2010
Current Position: Program and Product Developer, LeapEd Services
Before TC: Coming from a family of Mexican agricultural laborers, Brian was taught at an early age the power of education in overcoming socio-economic obstacles. It was because of his family’s story that Brian decided to join Teach For America in 2006. Inspired by the resilience he saw in his students, he decided to fuse together his passion for education with his interests in international affairs. Prior to teaching, Brian received a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Pepperdine University. During his undergraduate studies, Brian studied abroad in France and interned at the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C. and the Consulate General of Belgium in Los Angeles.
While at TC: At Teachers College, Brian explored the role of language policies in education. As a former Spanish teacher who worked at a Native Hawaiian homestead on the island of O’ahu, Brian was particularly interested in linguistic diversity issues. While pursuing his Master’s in International Education Development, Brian had the opportunity to intern at the United Nations. Through the internship, Brian served as a rapporteur at a conference hosted by UNICEF on the rights of indigenous children. He also served as an editor for the journal published by the Society for International Education at Teachers College.
After TC: Since graduating from Teachers College, Brian has helped to build teacher training and leadership development programs in India and Malaysia, with an additional focus on literacy. Currently, Brian is working with LeapEd Services, Malaysia’s first education services provider. Contracted with the Ministry of Education, LeapEd is involved in multiple nationwide school transformation initiatives. Brian is currently the lead designer of a capacity building program that aims to cultivate future school transformation experts.
Advice for Students: “Think outside of the box! Be entrepreneurial and find ways to leverage your connections at TC. While working in India, I contacted my friends at the Society for International Education and they helped me set up a scholarship competition for the students at my schools. It was a big deal for the competition winner to receive recognition from a US-based entity, especially one at Columbia University! The money we raised was hardly a large amount in U.S. figures, but for his family it was able to cover tuition for the entire year."
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: Education Policy Consultant, World Bank
Before TC: Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from George Washington University. Immediately following her undergraduate degree, Rachel worked for several years in fundraising, development, and programming for an array of non-profit organizations based in New York City. Her deep-rooted interest in international relations, love of travel to all corners of the world, and passion for education eventually led her to apply for a Master’s degree at Teachers College.
While at TC: Rachel pursued a Master’s in International Educational Development with a concentration in International Policy and Planning and a focus on the South Asia region. During her first semester at TC, Rachel served as a graduate assistant at the State University of New York Global Center in Manhattan, working on a needs and merit-based scholarship program for undergraduate women interested in pursuing internationally-focused careers, a position she maintained for two semesters. During her last semester at TC, Rachel was hired to manage the scholarship program. During the summer following her first year at TC, Rachel travelled to India to serve as a Research and Program Fellow for an education foundation, where she helped design a college scholarship program for rural female students and conducted independent research that she used for her IP in her last semester at TC.
After TC: Immediately following the completion of her Master’s degree, Rachel stayed on at the SUNY Global Center to continue as a program manager and to jointly work with SUNY’s Confucius Institute for Business. A little less than a year later, Rachel moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as a consultant to the Education Global Practice at the World Bank, where she is currently working. Rachel works on a team as part of the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), exploring private education markets for poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Rachel’s work focuses primarily on the South Asia region, for which she conducts policy research and implementation analysis, oversees data collection in the region, and contributes to country-level and regional reports on the role of the private sector in education delivery.
Advice for Students: Build relationships with professors and practitioners whose research interests align with your academic and professional interests – their advice can be invaluable. Take courses that both interest you and challenge you. The skills I gained in Gita Steiner-Khamsi’s Comparative Education Policy course I utilize every day at the World Bank. Likewise, taking Henry Levin’s Economics of Education course in EPSA has helped me understand concepts I would struggle with otherwise. The research methodology I learned from Amra Sabic El-Rayess was crucial for my IP as well for my consulting work. If you are interested in pursuing a career in education policy, it is a good idea to try to develop an understanding of qualitative and quantitative/statistical methodology. Explore internship opportunities both in New York City and in developing contexts. The relationships you build in New York City while in graduate school can be important as you pursue career options. At the same time, having work experience in a developing country can be important for your CV. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to design and conduct independent research, seize it! I advise using your IP as an opportunity to add to your portfolio, and not just as another paper you need to write to obtain your degree.
Xiaotong (Sherry Duan
M.A., Class of 2015
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Policy and Planning
Current Position: Program Officer, International Centre for Higher Education Innovation, UNESCO
Before TC: Sherry completed her undergraduate studies in Hong Kong, majoring in English education and literature. While she enjoyed teaching and interacting with students, she was also an active participant of various international academic exchanges and activities, through which she realized how international and intercultural exchange has reshaped her world views and transformed her into a global citizen. These experiences also led her to reflect on her overseas experiences and critically examine the pros and cons of international education. As the world becomes more interconnected than ever, education transcends the borders between countries, boundaries of cultures, and Babel of languages. Out of this passion and belief for international education, and her love for travel, she applied for a Master’s degree at Teachers College (TC).
While at TC:She started her Master’s program in the fall of 2013, with a concentration on International Policy and Planning under the supervision of Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi. She explored a variety of on- and off-campus activities such as TEDxTeachersCollege, Institute of International Education, and Global Poverty Project. The summer after her first year at TC, Sherry interned at the Mayor’s Office of New York, developing global curriculum for students from member cities of NYC Global Partners, Inc. During her last year at TC, she served as a graduate assistant at the Office of International Services, where she worked closely with other international students and scholars at the TC community. These activities all presented an opportunity to reflect on the trend of global student mobility through interaction with different students, professors and researchers, which eventually led to her IP project.
After TC: Right before graduation, Sherry decided to explore the world outside of education, and --to everyone’s surprise-- joined the brand Ivanka Drumpf as a creative marketing intern where she worked on some editorial projects focusing on female college students. This summer experience, while seemingly unrelated to education, strengthened her determination to work in international education. She later worked at the Global Poverty Project and the Education Development Center in New York before returning to China. Since then, Sherry has been working as a Program Officer at a UNESCO Category II Institute focusing on higher education development and innovation. As part of research team, she is able to contribute in her field of expertise to draft research and develop projects on capacity building within higher education in Asian and African countries.
Advice for Students: New York is an amazing place for you to meet and make friends with wonderful people from all over the world. Especially for international students like me: don’t be afraid or nervous about reaching out to people! Build lasting relationships – you never know what you can learn from them. Lastly, take advantage of the TC and Columbia communities to explore internship, volunteer work, research, and job opportunities both in New York and other places you might be interested in.
Rosa M. Fernández
M.A., Class of 2015
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Policy and Planning
Current Position: Senior Project Specialist, Division of Career and College Access, The College Board
Before TC: Rosa moved to New York City as a high schooler from the Dominican Republic. She's been interested in issues related to educational access since she was a student at Manhattan International High School (MIHS), a specialized public school for new English learners. After earning her Bachelor's degree in history from Wellesley College, Rosa worked as a research assistant at the Columbia School of Social Work. Months into that job, she realized she craved more action outside of the world of research, more work in policy and operations. She then began her first of a five-year trajectory at the New York City Department of Education. Rosa treasured her time with the DoE, as it gave her the freedom to undertake various roles within the department. First, within the Division of Portfolio Planning, Rosa worked with schools, their superintendents, and the media on a data and accountability team that aimed to create access to quality schools. Their method? Literally creating new schools throughout the five boroughs. Later, she worked in the Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs), as part of a team dedicated to creating access to general education classrooms for students with special needs and ELLs. Rosa's last position in the DoE was that of Community Relations Manager as part of the NYC School Construction Authority. In this role, she helped monitor capital projects across schools to create new libraries, gyms, science labs, etc. in schools that did not already have those spaces. A running thread throughout Rosa's work in education has been the goal of creating equitable educational facilities and increased high quality educational access. It is partly at the advice of DoE colleagues that Rosa soon found herself at Teachers College.
During TC: Rosa worked full-time at the DoE as she sought her M.A. in international educational development, where she honed her skills as a practitioner and researcher and met a host of people from different backgrounds who she says continue to enrich her career and her life. For these reasons and many others, Rosa reflects upon her time at TC fondly. After taking one of his courses —which she considered the most challenging in her time at TC— she had the opportunity to work with Dr. Pizmony-Levy on a variety of projects, including a spell as his graduate assistant. Having taken the initiative to cultivate a professional relationship with her professor, Rosa was able to undertake an independent study that Dr. Pizmony-Levy ultimately made into a larger project so that other students could contribute to and learn from it. "The professors at TC are amazing," Rosa says, "and the caliber of the student body is fantastic." One of the highlights of Rosa's time at TC was doing group projects with her classmates. While they were challenging for her logistically as a part-time student, she always found a way to make it work, and they were worth it. Group projects gave her the chance to get to know her classmates better, to learn about how they think differently about the same problems. Rosa stresses that being able to work with others to put together a project is an invaluable skill that makes one more successful in the long run. In fact, she thinks more TC courses should incorporate group projects and opportunities for experiential learning, because it is a model of what one does in the workplace.
In many ways, during her time at TC, Rosa was in transition mode. As she took various courses inside and outside of IED, attended educational and cultural events in TC and Columbia University, and worked full-time at the DoE, she continued to ask herself what it was she really wanted to do, and whether she was ready to take on a new challenge and learn new things. In her last semester at TC, Rosa felt she was ready for this change. For her, the DoE was fertile learning ground, an amazing experience that she credits for helping expose her to a host of leaders doing incredible work across the country as chancellors and superintendents. Rosa says that it is a job in which you meet a lot of people and learn a lot about what is going on in education beyond your particular jurisdiction.
After TC: After five years in K-12 education at the DoE, Rosa found herself wanting to learn more about higher education and what happens to students once they graduate from high school. This is how she came to be at the College Board. As part of the Access to Opportunity team, Rosa helps create pilot projects intended to help low-to-moderate income, first-generation and minority students take more rigorous courses while in high school, support them through the college application and financial aid processes, and, ultimately, to achieve better educational outcomes. As is unfortunately too commonly known, just because a student gets into college doesn't mean that they necessarily graduate. Rosa's job is to ask, How do we fix that? How do we help students graduate from college, and, on top of that, to graduate without a considerable debt burden?
In addition to her job at College Board, Rosa has also become a board member of the New York Wellesley Club. As the Board's Career Co-Chair, she creates events that bring professional women (from Wellesley and the rest of the Seven Sisters in particular) together. She recently hosted a negotiation workshop for Wellesley alumni at Teachers College, thanks in part to a connection she has with a professor in a different department.
Advice for Students: Rosa has a plethora of advice for TC students, not just as scholars, but as professionals and as human beings. "Get to know other students/colleagues within the department and outside of it and stay in touch with those people! They will move on to do great things in their fields." Rosa still goes to her friends from TC for advice, and they come to her for advice. She also encourages students to "learn more about your professors. Find out what they do outside of the classroom and get involved in the work they do, because it's amazing work! Go to their office hours and ask them if you can do an independent study. This independent study can also be incorporated as part of your IP."
Rosa stresses the importance of taking courses outside of the department, to meet professors outside of IED and others studying something different from you. "Diversify your portfolio and your learning at TC," Rosa says. "And take risks when you're learning. Be challenged. The challenges you face will be crucial when you encounter similar situations in the workplace — they will be invaluable experience when you're in the field. A letter grade doesn't mean much in the end — what counts is what you get out of a course. Be open to constructive learning and criticism."
The people you meet, says Rosa, and their advice and connections, are the most important wealth of knowledge you can receive in graduate school, but students have to do that for themselves. "You have to be outgoing and proactive — introduce yourself to people, ask them about the work they're doing, buy them coffee, work on projects with people. Learn about what people do on a day-to-day basis, what they like and don't like. Build relationships!" Learn about different organizations in the fields within education. Don't wait until the last minute to do this!
"Do not graduate from TC without taking a quantitative research course," Rosa asserts. The skills you learn doing quantitative research are necessary anywhere you go in education. Graduates have to be able to understand how to read and collect data. "Go to events offered by other schools at the university: Columbia University is so big! It's also another way to meet people and learn about other issues." Rosa had a great system in place: she would dedicate at least one Thursday every month for attending cultural or educational events on campus. “Ground yourself in an activity that you love. For me that is yoga. NYC is a playground for learning and discovering. Take this opportunity to challenge yourself and discover, and TC is a perfect place for that.”
Last but not least, Rosa recommends that one always start a sentence with a YES. "It's an attitude, it's a frame of mind and I think it also motivates other people. I'm a busy person who has time for everything. I never say no.”
M.A., Class of 2005
Advisors: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Dr. Dana Burde
Integrative Project Title: IGO versus INGO: A Comparative Study of Higher Education Programs in Russia
Current Position: I currently work as a Program Coordinator at the American Councils for International Education in Moscow. In this position, I am in charge of secondary school educational programs for Russian students.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: TC helped me to believe in myself, helped me to realize that I can learn, achieve, and succeed. TC became a real home for me - whether it was Gottesman Libraries allowing quietness and solitude, the TC Cafeteria for group meetings, or a cozy home-like ceramics studio allowing distraction from classes and everyday worries.
M.A., Class of 2012
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: Latin American and Latino Education
Current Position: Associate Director, The DREAM Project
Before TC: Molly received dual degrees in Secondary Education and English with a secondary major in International Studies from Kansas State University. During her undergraduate studies, Molly was highly committed to education and community engagement. She worked in the Office of Civic Leadership where she encouraged students to pursue careers in the nonprofit sector and helped plan for the university’s first volunteer center. She participated in a summer internship with the United Nations Foundation to organize the inaugural Youth Leadership Summit on climate change for 150 high school students from 10 countries, and served on the planning committee and national advisory board of the IMPACT National Conference on Service, Advocacy, and Social Action. Her commitment to public service was honored as the national recipient of the Campus Compact Frank Newman Leadership Award as well as a Truman Scholarship Finalist. She was a member of the university’s Teacher Education Advisory Council, worked at a bilingual preschool, and completed more than 750 hours as a teaching assistant in Title I schools through the AmeriCorps program. As an intern in the Kansas House of Representatives, she followed House Education Committee meetings and authored a policy proposal on Adult ESL Education. She was inspired to pursue graduate study after studying teacher education in Guatemala and completing capstone research projects on literacy in Cuba and Nicaragua as well as the perceptions of future teachers on how to foster student creativity.
While at TC: At Teachers College, Molly worked for two years in the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs and as a Student Ambassador for the Department of International and Transcultural Studies in the Office of Admissions. She served as President of the Society for International Education, an Executive Board member of the Association for Latin American Students, and was on the editorial board of Current Issues in Comparative Education journal. She also helped launch the first TEDxTeachersCollege event with a focus on international education. In the local community, she worked as an English conversation teacher with Columbia University’s Community Impact Adult ESL program and also designed an evaluation of the East Harlem Bilingual Head Start early childhood program. Molly was selected as an Education Policy Fellow with the Institute for Educational Leadership and as a graduate intern to the Education Advisor at UNESCO. Molly had the opportunity to work on various projects as a student, including with the New York City Department of Education, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee. As a researcher, Molly focused on teacher education and preparation, teacher policies, literacy, bilingual education and language policy. She completed a two-week field research project on pre-service teacher education in Cuba and developed her integrative project around the topic of teacher policies in the Dominican Republic.
After TC: Upon graduation, Molly was hired as the first Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator of The DREAM Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides educational opportunities to more than 7,000 children and youth in the Dominican Republic each year. She designed and manages a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system for 14 diverse educational programs and has led 12 research and evaluation projects with external researchers. Molly managed the USAID grant, Alerta Joven, reaching 1,100 youth in the areas of school retention, sexual health, and workforce development. She also managed grants with the US Embassy to deliver creative arts programming with Groundswell and People’s Theatre Project, and to train 20 public school English teachers in collaboration with World Learning. She works closely to develop relationships with key partners including the Ministry of Education and Peace Corps. Additionally, Molly served as a member of the Brookings Institution’s Learning Metrics Task Force, a global initiative to define educational learning standards that focus on improving learning outcomes for students worldwide. She is a Co-Chair of the Teacher Motivation Working Group, which compiles and distributes research on teacher motivation globally in collaboration with the UNESCO Teacher Task Force. She is an active member of the American Evaluation Association, European Evaluation Association, and Comparative International Education Society, as well as a board member of Caribbean Evaluators International. In fall 2017, Molly will begin a doctoral program in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity at the University of Colorado-Boulder where her research interests will focus on literacy development in Spanish, language practices in the classroom, bilingual teacher preparation, and bilingual education models in diverse contexts (curriculum, instruction and assessment).
Advice for Students: “Be focused, but also be open to new interests and opportunities. The Master’s level programs go by especially quickly and it is important to get the most out of your time and investment, while also fueling your own intellectual curiosity and growth. Use your networks at TC and the other graduate schools at Columbia to take advantage of trainings, especially related to methods which you may not have time to learn as deeply once you leave. Collect primary data for one of your projects or papers, and develop a strong relationship with at least one faculty member to support your current and future work. Get involved in professional associations in your field early on by attending conferences, delivering presentations, and attending business meetings of relevant special interest groups. Connect with other students both inside your program cohort and in other disciplines. You will develop lifelong friendships and professional connections!”
Brooke K. Harris
M.A., Class of 2005
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: Peace and Human Rights Education
Advisor: Peter Lucas
Integrative Project Title: "Human Rights Education for Youth: The Human Rights Activist Project in Focus"
Current Position: I presently serve as an International Educator for Africa (IEFA) in Djibouti with the International Foundation for Self-Help (IFESH). As a Pedagogical Advisor at the national teacher training center, I help teachers throughout the country create student-centered and interactive classrooms. My community initiative is a youth-led environmental education and community art project called the Recycled Arts Project. It has inspired hundreds of students to recycle and use found objects for art.
Something special about your TC experience: As an international scholar, I am always searching for meaningful international work. Taking the intensive week-long course "Human Rights and Peace Education in Turkey" afforded me the opportunity to travel and work with local scholars to address critical issues around women's rights, minority rights, and security in a country working toward inclusion into the European Union.
M.A., Class of 2005
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Integrative Project Title: Waging the War for Mutual Understanding: The Role of International Educational Exchange in the U.S. Government's Post-September 11th Public Diplomacy Campaign
Current Position: I'm Assistant Director of iEARN-USA (http://us.iearn.org/), the U.S. center of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network, http://www.iearn.org). We are a global network, started in 1988, that uses technology to enable teachers and young people to reach across political, cultural, and linguistic differences to design and collaborate on projects together.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and visit OSI-Uzbekistan as part of policy and evaluation courses taught by Professors Steiner-Khamsi, Valerio, and Magno. Spending time with our OSI colleagues gave me an immense appreciation for their ongoing efforts to support open regional and international education networks.
M.A., Class of 2011
Current Position: Immigration and Mobility Specialist for the Americas Region, Arup (Engineering Consulting Firm)
Current Work: I currently work with immigrant and non-immigrant employees obtaining visas for those coming in and out of the US to work in our offices from 26 different countries. I work closely with governmental agencies such as USCIS (Department of Homeland Security), SEVIS and the Department of State. In my previous roles, I also worked with students and employees working/studying a university specifically focusing on STEM fields, all of this giving me well-rounded range of experiences in my field of international education and global mobility. In the current political atmosphere, I find my work particularly relevant and interesting, as the world of immigration is ever-changing.
Before TC: I was an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware studying Spanish Language and Literature with a Minor in Educational Studies. At the time, I was planning on becoming a Spanish teacher but I wanted to see a different side of education and have since ended up on the administrative side of things.
While at TC: I really had a specific focus when enrolling into TC and that was to work in a study abroad office at a university. While studying for my Master’s, I learned about a whole different world of NGOs, non-profits, schooling systems abroad; much of which changed my tunnel vision and opened me up to different post-grad school career options. The program was much more theoretical than I anticipated which was great for learning but was tough when I was trying to apply this to the job market. I wish I involved myself in more networking opportunities to meet people outside of my specific graduate program and to prepare myself for the working world.
After TC: During my second and last year at TC, I started an internship with the International YMCA in NYC, working with immigrant populations helping them to get visas to come to the US as well as working with inner city teens, sending them on short trips abroad. During my internship, I learned a lot about immigration but also, it was my first real office job. Luckily, they offered me a full-time position right after I finished my Master’s degree. After that job, I did find it a bit difficult to find work outside of the field of nonprofits but eventually, I was able to secure a university position and now have just started in the corporate immigration world.
Advice for Students: Two things: 1. If you can work with a couple of internships during your time here to test out different career options, I think this is the best path to success. Even if these internships do not pay a salary, it allows you to see what you like and do not like about jobs available to us. I took an unpaid internship at a nonprofit and I learned about a career path in immigration that I never knew about before. I am still in this field 6 years later! 2. When you are searching for jobs after graduation, be open to many different types of jobs and experiences. The degree from Columbia opens some eyes but it’s up to you personally to open the door to success!
M.A., Class of 2006
Current Position: Senior Early Child Development Specialist, ChildFund International
Before TC: I majored in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Afterwards, I taught in the US and Brazil for a few years. I had been looking at international affairs schools but none really seemed to be a good fit. I found TC’s IED program on a graduate school website and it seemed the right next step to build upon my focus on international issues and languages and my experience as a teacher.
While at TC: I pursued an MA in International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace Education. I made so many friends in the TC community and have been continually impressed by others’ experiences and passions from my time at TC. In my coursework, Dr. Bartlett’s Ethnography in Education course helped me build skills that I use in personal and professional life. I also worked with Dr. Monisha Bajaj on a curriculum companion to a film, which was very helpful to further building my skills in curriculum design. I was a Portuguese tutor at SIPA and also took advantage of being in NYC for conferences, brown bags, and talks at the other Columbia graduate schools, NYU, Hunter College, the UN, etc.
After TC: While concluding my studies at TC, I was selected as an intern at UNICEF for the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). During that time, I attended an Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Emergencies conference and was fascinated with the focus on education with linkages to so many other issues. After INEE, I became a research consultant at the NYC Department of Education while pursuing opportunities to gain field experience. I had many informational interviews with professionals in the field and they all said the same thing: pick a place and go to the field. So I saved and reached out to international organizations in Mozambique for a volunteer position. Save the Children offered me a Technical Coordinator position with a small stipend with an ECD program that was just starting up. That position turned into the program manager of the project, which focused on community-based preschools with parenting education and linkages to health in the highest HIV prevalence areas of the country. I returned to the US in late 2010 and moved to Washington, D.C. for a consultancy with Care International and Save the Children to design the Essential Package for Children and Caregivers affected by HIV and AIDS and moved back to Mozambique for two months in early 2011 to start up the validation of the package. This turned into a permanent position with Save the Children in DC, focusing on Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Haiti, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Indonesia over the next two years. I traveled about 50% of the year to these countries for trainings, evaluations, curriculum design, and overall program guidance, including preparing for a national pilot to scale-up the ECD program in Mozambique, led by the Government of Mozambique and financed by the World Bank. In June 2013, I moved to ChildFund International as the Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development, also located in Washington, D.C. Use grad school to meet people who challenge you and disagree with you. In my current work, I get to work on a bit of everything, including proposals, curricula, training, project management, leadership/representation, and technical and strategic guidance. I have some direct assistance with countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Guatemala, and Afghanistan, and then more light-touch support with many others and on regional ECD networks. I sit on a multi-sectoral team with health, nutrition, education, livelihoods, and child protection colleagues focusing on issues for children from conception to age five and their parents/caregivers, including children’s transition to primary school. In this role, I am building on my curriculum design skills, conflict resolution, and the ethnographic work to contextualize interventions.
Advice for Students: During your time at TC, join groups at TC (CUPID, ALAS, etc.) and take advantage of events around the city to complement your studies and learn more about the issues affecting education. During your time at TC, connect with alumni and others in the field for informational interviews. I really benefited from talking with many doctoral students and technical advisors to better understand how I could use my skillsets and plan my next steps after TC. Finally, field experience is essential to working in international development programs. I know that we come out of TC with a lot of debt but deferring loan payments and finding a volunteer position with a small stipend or a training scheme will allow you to apply your studies to real contexts to better understand all of the complexities of programs.
Shannon H. Lee
M.A., Class of 2015
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Policy and Planning under the advisorship of Dr. Mary Mendenhall
Current Position: Assistant Director, Center for Global Business Programs, Pace University Lubin School of Business
Before TC: Prior to attending TC, Shannon worked for five years as a teacher in East Asia. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she joined the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) as an Assistant Language Teacher in rural Kumamoto, Japan. Shannon taught at seven elementary and middle schools delivering English conversation classes and developing international exchange programs in her district with the aim of fostering cultural awareness and internationalization. Through these initiatives, Shannon’s passion for cross-cultural communication through education was strengthened. After three years in Japan, Shannon transitioned to teaching returnee students in Seoul, Korea focusing in English Literature and Competitive Debate. Teaching students dealing with reverse culture shock and expatriation/repatriation concerns developed Shannon’s interest in student mobility, the development of relevant curriculum, and education policy.
While at TC: Shannon focused on International Policy and Planning while pursuing her M.A. in International Educational Development. Despite lacking traditional development or humanitarian experience, Shannon found courses in strategic/educational planning and topics-based courses (such as Education in Emergencies or Globalization, Mobility, and Education) particularly valuable to gain a current lens into the field. Through hands-on projects with actual organizations and the invaluable mentorship of Mary Mendenhall, Shannon grew deeply passionate about Education in Emergencies (EiE) programming. She interned with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) to develop the Journal on Education in Emergencies and also researched the landscape of EiE career pathways for young practitioners, considering the recent influx of M.A. graduates and dearth of entry-level development positions. By speaking with both professors and practitioners in the field, Shannon explored the key skills, challenges and structures within both hiring organizations and academia that affect the success and career entry points for emerging EiE practitioners. Shannon served for one year as the co-chair of the Human Rights and Education Colloquium in partnership with NYU to facilitate opportunities for students to present research and explore the intersection between human rights and education. She also served as the Student Activities leader for TC’s Society for International Education.
After TC: While concluding her Integrative Project (IP), Shannon joined the Center for Global Business Program’s team at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University. As Assistant Director, Shannon builds international partnerships with higher education institutions around the world to enhance student mobility for both outgoing and incoming students. She facilitates semester and year-long programs to provide experiential custom programs for international business students and manages the program cycle from application to program finish. Though she works in the field of higher education, Shannon attempts to remain active in the EiE field by serving as a volunteer mentor for TC’s Teachers for Teachers Initiative. As a mobile mentor, Shannon remotely supports and builds relationships with refugee teachers in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
Advice for Students: My advice for current students is to actively build relationships with mentors. Through my time at TC, I learned the values of mentor relationships that are built and maintained rather than assigned or given. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and find someone to model your own growth on. Both Mary Mendenhall and Amra Sabic-El- Rayess were transformative in my development at TC as a researcher and emerging professional. Seek out these relationships and engage often. Their willingness to invest in me pushed me to build new skills, network with professionals, and explore new areas of coursework. In that vein, take courses that are analytical and challenging for you even if you are not sure you will utilize that course in your professional life—chances are you will. Build a wide breadth of technical courses to enhance your skills and framework, including courses outside of the department such as the Craft of Policy Analysis (EPSA). Lastly, time goes by so quickly so take advantage of the summer semester and audit courses if possible.
Kellie C. Leeson
M.A., Class of 2003
Advisor: Francisco Rivera-Batiz
Integrative Project Title: Evaluation of the International Rescue Committee Ingushetia Program: Innovative and Unique EducationProgramming
Current Position: Managing Director, Development Research Institute, New York University
Before TC: I majored in International Relations at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and studied abroad in Morocco with the School for International Training. Following my studies I joined the Peace Corps where I served in the Central African Republic before being evacuated. I finished my service in Burkina Faso. I then spent time working in Kenya for the International Rescue Committee focusing on humanitarian assistance in South Sudan. It was at that time, working in a place where children had so little access to education that I became interested in understanding the role education could play in improving the lives of the poor and those affected by conflict.
While at TC: I pursued an MA in International Education Development. The program at Teachers College provided an academic framework for my experiences up to that point. My classes helped to highlight just how political education is. Education as a technical exercise is complex and demanding but learning how education fits within a political and cultural context was by far the most enlightening and interesting part of my studies.
After TC: After graduating from Teachers College I jumped right back into humanitarian work and one of my first roles was as the Education Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the Ivory Coast during the civil war. My experience was heartbreaking. Parents desperately wanted their children to be able to go to school, something that had been taken for granted as part of a normal childhood. It was a clear reminder about the role education provides to create a sense of hope for an entire family and community. I then spent ten years in Kenya focused on programming in both South Sudan and later Kenya. During my time as Country Director for the IRC in Kenya, I was very interested in exploring alternative approaches to working with refugees especially refugees living in urban settings and we developed new relationships and found ways for refugees to become part of the city fabric to contribute to and be served by the city, rather than exploited by it. I recently moved to the Development Research Institute at NYU and am exploring questions around meaningful development in 2015. That said, I remain passionate about refugee issues and continue to work with the Women’s Refugee Commission on new tools to measure refugee well-being.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The highlight of my time at TC was taking the Qualitative Research & Evaluation in International Education course. The course provided an innovative learning environment, hands on evaluation experience, expert instructors, and engaged fellow students. The quality of the course was unparalleled.
Advice for Students: I would recommend students move out of their comfort zones. TC provides so many excellent opportunities to explore and I would encourage students to take advantage of every club, lecture, and interaction to learn about something new.
M.A., Class of 2005
Program: International Educational Development
Advisor: Peter Lucas
Integrative Project Title: Local Governance in Cambodia: Commitment to Women's and Children's Issues?
Current Position: As a consultant with the World Bank I'm involved in community-driven development projects in eastern Indonesia. My focus is a Community Conditional Cash Transfer that provides funds to communities on the condition that they work towards improving indicators in maternal and infant health and primary and junior secondary education. I'm based in Jakarta where I assist in the preparation of implementing the Cash Transfer in five provinces throughout Indonesia. Monitoring activities also involves regular fieldwork.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Outstanding and supportive professors who made time to meet and discuss outside the classroom. My coursework was often flexible enough that I could pursue my own academic interests within the structures of any course I was taking. After TC I reflected upon the issues in international education development that surfaced in our core courses which I later confronted in my own professional work experiences.
M.A., Class of 2014
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: Latin America and Latino Education
Current Position: Junior Fellow, UNESCO International Bureau of Education
Before TC: My passion for foreign languages pushed me to study a first degree in Interpreting and Translation at the University of Bologna, Italy, where I also started to cultivate my interest in Latin America. The deeply rewarding experiences acquired during different travels and stays in the region, influenced my future decision to move to Mexico. There, I taught Italian for more than three years at the Language Department of the University of Guanajuato. At the same time, I enrolled in the university’s B.A. program in TESOL to learn more about language pedagogy. My academic, working and research experiences in Mexico informed my decision to pursue my graduate studies in the field of educational development with the hope to build a foundation for future educational work and pedagogical research with marginalized communities in Latin America.
While at TC: I graduated from the Master’s degree in International Educational Development with a concentration in Latin American and Latino Education. The two years I spent at TC were full of great experiences. For instance, together with a group of classmates, we spent a week in the Dominican Republic carrying out field research for the DREAM Project, with whom we developed a teachers’ manual to teach literacy skills to at-risk youth. Additionally, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant on two very interesting projects: the first with Professor Regina Cortina, focusing on intercultural bilingual education policies in Latin America and the second with Professor Maria Ghiso from the Curriculum and Teaching Department, on the impact of first graders’ funds of knowledge and literacy development in a dual-language classrooms. These invaluable experiences increased my understanding of education policies and systems in Latin America as well as of the education of migrant children in New York City. At TC, I was also actively involved in two student associations: the Society of International Education and the Association of Latin American Students. Sharing experiences with other students and spending time organizing events for the students in our department was definitely very rewarding.
After TC: I spent the summer in Peru working for a project supporting the education of indigenous girls living in rural communities. I was involved in research activities aiming at understanding the professional development opportunities for indigenous girls graduating from secondary school. After this experience, I started an internship, which eventually led to a consultant position, in Paris with the Global Education Monitoring Report (formerly known as EFA-GMR), UNESCO’s leading publication in the area of education monitoring. During my experience with the team, I carried out a variety of tasks ranging from collecting and analyzing data to drafting documents and carrying out research on different topics. Specifically, I led the research and drafted a chapter of the 2015 report on countries lacking sufficient institutional education data and I wrote a background paper for the 2016 report focusing on the link between indigenous knowledge and sustainable development. Soon after finishing the consultancy with the Global Education Monitoring Report, I was hired by the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) in Geneva. At the IBE, where I currently work as a junior fellow, I am involved in publications and projects related to different topics, such as inclusive education, Global Citizenship Education and youth disengagement from schooling in Latin America. These experiences with UNESCO not only have given me the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how international organizations work, but they have also allowed me to keep cultivating some of my passions while learning more about new topics.
Advice for Students: Be proactive! Take part in students’ associations. Look for activities, research projects, organizations, both inside and outside of TC, which relate to your passions and try to get involved with them as much as you can. Also, do not underestimate the importance of building solid relationships with your classmates as well as with your professors as these relationships will support you during and after TC.
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: Academic Director, THE DREAM Project
Before TC: My first experience in the international education field was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. I taught English to students from 2nd grade through high school and the experience convinced me of the importance of educational opportunity. After Peace Corps, I joined the Denver Teaching Fellows program to earn my teacher certification and gain experience as a public school teacher. I taught 3rd grade for two years in Denver before beginning my Masters program at TC.
During TC: I knew from the beginning of my career at TC that I was most interested in pursuing opportunities in Latin America and with Spanish speaking populations. I joined ALAS as a way to meet other students who shared my interest. It was through a connection at ALAS that I first learned about DREAM, the non-profit in the Dominican Republic where I now work, and had the opportunity to work as a teacher trainer with DREAM over the summer. What I most enjoyed about my experience at TC, however, were my fellow students. I developed many close friendship during my time at TC and was continually impressed by the intellectual curiosity and wide-range of experiences that my classmates demonstrated.
After TC: I moved to the Dominican Republic in 2013 to work for the DREAM Project and am still there now working as the Academic Director. My job includes a wide-range of responsibilities including program management, conducting teacher training, and collaborating with other international and local organizations to implement reading and writing projects. I love working for a smaller NGO because I have the opportunity to really explore areas of interest and to develop the skills I want to have. It’s also allowed me to meet one of my professional goals which was to use my Spanish in a professional setting.
Advice for Students: The master’s program goes by quickly so it’s important to have concrete ideas of what you want to do with your degree afterwards. Research the organizations and positions you would like to pursue after graduation and determine the specific skill sets you will need and choose the classes that will best help you develop those abilities. Networking is challenging but a great way to start is by contacting alumni who work at organizations you are interested in and seeing if you can set up an informational interview, this can be a great way to get your name out there.
M.A., Class of 2005
Program: International Educational Development
Advisor: George Bond
Integrative Project title: "Multi-Disciplinary Development Approaches for Haiti: A Case Study of PROGRESA and its Transferability"
Current Position: I am a research consultant and PhD student at the University of London Institute of Education.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The two courses that took me abroad, to Tanzania and Armenia, were the definitive highlights of my TC experience. In both cases I was able to apply the theories and knowledge gained from my coursework in a direct and meaningful way to working with counterparts from both countries. TC would benefit from prioritizing international learning opportunities for the IED program.
M.A., Class of 2011
Current Position: Program Specialist, Peace and Resilience through Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE)
Before TC: Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, specializing in African Peacebuilding and Development, from American University. During his time there, he studied in Nairobi where he worked with a community pre-primary school in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest urban slum. While he had always focused on education in development, this experience solidified his track towards education. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Togo after he graduated, where he worked on youth and gender issues, especially education. He came to Teachers College looking to learn more about education policy for development and to use his studies to continue to explore human rights and peace education.
While at TC: At TC, Matt pursued his Master’s degree in International Education Development, intending to focus on education policy, particularly bridging systemic educational development work with community and school-based work. In his first semester, however, he took Professor Monisha Bajaj’s International Perspectives on Peace and Human Rights Education course and quickly adopted the additional focus on peace education. The following semester, in Professor Lou Cristillo’s Education for Global Security course, he was grouped with fve classmates for a group project, tasked with developing an education model to promote human security through education. Drawing on their diverse set of strengths and experiences, the group formulated a conflict resolution program for youth in South Sudan. Following the course, Matt and two group mates, Meghan Hausdorf and Maysoon Malik, undertook to expand on the model and form an organization to promote community-driven youth peace education programs. Following months of visioning and planning, they founded PRYDE (prydeforpeace.org) in November 2011. Matt credits his time at TC, particularly his exposure to the Peace Education field and continued learning about education in emergencies and post-conflict settings, with reshaping the direction of his career. He now is an ardent proponent of a more comprehensive understanding of peace and its integral role in facilitating development. Matt’s learning experiences at TC strongly influence his work with PRYDE and all his professional undertakings.
After TC: Since graduating, Matt, with his colleagues, has worked tirelessly to build up PRYDE as a professional organization with a model for peace education that works and is sustainable. Drawing on their experiences overseas and at TC, the team has developed a peace education model that prioritizes the role of communities in choosing the direction their own social development follows, engages youth in nonviolent, restorative approaches to conflict, and offers them the skills they seek to be leaders in the peaceful social development of their communities. As a Program Specialist for PRYDE, Matt is responsible for coordinating program development, building partnerships, conducting outreach to grow a community of peace education advocates, and overseeing organizational operations. He also consults with UNICEF’s Child Protection Section on developing graduate-level programs in Child Protection and supporting advocacy and communication efforts for children’s rights.
Advice for Students: Never stop believing you can change the world; you do through every action you take. Choose to make a positive change and to achieve great things. The world will tell you to follow the set of guidelines it sets out for you. If you believe in them, follow them; but if you think there is another way, a better way, pursue that. Dare to be an innovator, and try new ideas. That, and network, network, network! There are a lot of really great people out there with whom you can synergize. You never know where a professional relationship will take you or what doors one will open.
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: Livelihood Education Program Officer, Aide et Action Cambodia
Before TC: Before receiving her MA in International Educational Development at Teachers College, Jesse majored in English Literature with a focus on postcolonial and Native American literature at Earlham College. It was during her time at Earlham that Jesse studied abroad in India and Ghana and encountered the field of development. Following graduation, Jesse taught both in the United States and in South Korea before beginning an internship at a local NGO in Rajasthan, India. While working for this NGO, Jesse’s belief in the positive impact of quality development and interest in research was sparked.
While at TC: Interested in working in monitoring and evaluation in emergency contexts, Jesse’s studies in the International and Transcultural Studies Department at Teachers College focused humanitarian issues. In an effort to prepare for work in international development, Jesse focused on the development of practical skills, taking classes such as qualitative research methodologies and statistical analysis. Jesse also took advantage of the internship opportunities facilitated by Teachers College, and interned at Human Rights Watch for the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) and at Sesame Workshop in their Global Education Department. These internships afforded Jesse the opportunity for practical experience and industry exposure. Additionally, Jesse took advantage of opportunities for research experience. First, she worked as a consultant research assistant for FHI360 with Dr. Mark Ginsburg, performing statistical analysis for an ICT teacher-training project in Rwanda. Then, later, she conducted primary research while working with Where Rainbows Meet, a local non-profit in the Vryground Township in Cape Town, South Africa. This research consisted of a program evaluation of a computer and life-skills training program for young adults, the findings of which she was asked to present at the Comparative and International Education Society Conference in New Orleans in 2013.
After TC: Immediately after graduating from Teachers College, Jesse began consulting on educational development projects for various institutions including Columbia Business School and Development and Training Services Later that year, Jesse accepted a position as the Livelihood Education Program Officer at Aide et Action Cambodia, where she was responsible for conducting a market assessment in preparation for the implementation of a livelihood education program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Following the successful completion of the market assessment, Aide et Action appointed Jesse to implement an manage the iLEAD Employment and Entrepreneurship Program, which offers technical training and supports job placement for vulnerable youth in Phnom Penh. The program is currently enjoying a successful pilot in Phnom Penh and is expected to expand throughout Cambodia in the near future.
Advice for Students: "My advice for current students is while in the supportive environment offered by TC, take classes that expand your practical skillset and challenge you to work outside of your comfort zone. If you are interested in research, take classes in statistics, survey design and research methodologies. When possible, expand your perspective by taking classes at other schools within Columbia. Additionally, look for opportunities to work or intern outside of class. Often organizations in New York City have internships available for graduate students but students often have to be proactive in order to access these opportunities. Also, actively build connections with your classmates, TC alumni, and your professors--they are incredible resources!"
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: Strategic Data Facilitator, New Visions for Public Schools
Before TC: Before coming to TC, I worked as an ESL teacher, first in France as an English Teaching Assistant to high school students, and then in a private language school in TriBeCa.
During TC: I specialized in Language, Literacy, and Technology, and in my second semester got an internship at the Earth Insitute, just down the street from TC!. At EI, I worked on a project in Haiti, and later in Ghana, that used mobile phones to record the results of short literacy assessments.
After TC: I continued working at the Earth Institute for another 6 months, focusing on a teacher training project in India. In 2014-2015, I completed a Fulbright-Clinton fellowship in Haiti, where I worked at the Haitian Ministry of Education. After the fellowship, I knew I wanted to be back in New York, close to my family, so I expanded my job search to include domestic education work. I started working at New Visions for Public Schools in the fall of 2015. It’s a great organization, and while I sometimes miss the international work, I love working in and serving people in my home city.
Advice for Students: Take more than the required amount of research methods courses. Take statistics! Case studies and literature reviews are very important and give you necessary contextual information, but use the IED/CIE Master’s Program as an opportunity to practice conducting research under the guidance of faculty members, to build skills that you wouldn’t be able to develop on your own.
M.A., Class of 2007
Program: International Educational Development
Current Position: Program in International Education, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Before TC: Natia is from the republic of Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism, and soon after graduating, she worked for a non-governmental organization that served marginalized youth. Sunny House was an NGO that aimed to provide “educational opportunities to youth who had the potential but limited opportunities to prosper and achieve success.” A collaboration between the Georgian government and the Open Society Institute provided Natia with the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to pursue a Masters degree. It was at this point that Natia applied and was accepted to the IED/CIE program at Teachers College.
While at TC: Natia considers herself lucky to have had the opportunity to study IED at TC: “I was really fortunate because in countries like Georgia it’s very hard to work in international education.” Natia recounts her time at TC as a transformative experience that enabled her to gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. In fact, she remembers specific courses that changed the way she thought about education and gave her the tools to apply this learning in the field. According to Natia, Comparative Education, Finance and Planning, Resource Allocation, and Economic Development were the courses that had the greatest impact on her. One of the recurring assignments among these courses was the sector report, which helped Natia develop a skill that is essential to international educational development work. In addition to report-writing skills, Natia gained valuable research skills. For one of the culminating projects for International Educational Policy, a course taught by Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Natia conducted extensive research and developed a report on the national examinations in Georgia. Though she was not aware of it at the time, this specific project would prepare her for her future work with the Georgian National Examination Center. Ultimately, Natia would return to Georgia with a new way of thinking about education in her home country: “[The program in IED/CIE] gave me a more global perspective on educational issues. After TC courses, I viewed Georgian education system as part of global system of education.”
After TC: After getting her MA in IED, Natia joined the team at the National Examination Center in Georgia. She was thrilled to be a part of the growing movement to improve education—a sector that was experiencing wide-scale and fast-developing reforms. She assumed the role of National Project Manager for PISA (Program in International Student Assessment.) Natia managed the translation, verification and adaptation of test instruments into Georgian, administered the study and created international and national reports in addition to working on other international studies at the center. However, the results of the PISA study, which suggested a need for improvement in many areas, were not fully embraced by political authorities. However as the circumstances keep changing, the hope that Georgia would return to international studies is valid. Supported once again by the Open Society Institute, Natia is now pursuing a doctoral degree in International Education at the Center of International Education at the Department of Policy, Research and Administration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her research interests are in post-soviet educational seetings.
Advice for Students: “When I think about my TC experience, I think about my relationships with my peers, the sharing of perspectives and ideas was very valuable. This helped me not only as a professional, but also as a person. I kept in contact with Henry Levin because I translated his book, Cost Effectiveness, into Georgian. I am also in touch with Fenot Aklog, who has provided great emotional support for me.”
“I would definitely keep in touch with professors. Because TC professors are the people that are really active in the field. Of course, going to the [CIES] conferences. And think of ways to reconnect with TC and the resources and the people who are still there.”
M.A., Class of 2002
Before TC: I came to TC after graduating from the University of Virginia, with a BA in English Language and Literature, Peace Corps Service in Zimbabwe, and I worked as an Assistant Editor for Disney Publishing Worldwide.
During TC: My time a TC was extraordinary. I received a MA in Comparative Education from TC, a Certificate in African Studies at SIPA, and ultimately a M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology from TC. I completed my dissertation, The Goffal Speaks: Coloured Ideology and the Perpetuation of a Category in Postcolonial Zimbabwe, in May 2013 under the direction of the great George Clement Bond. An ethnography of Coloured or mixed race peoples in Zimbabwe, my book project draws upon the social, legal and political histories of racial hierarchy and the ways in which Coloureds seek to perpetuate their racial classification within the familiar boundaries of their community in a postcolonial context via residential, social and cultural enclaves. In the colonial context, Coloureds occupied an intermediate place within a three-tier racial hierarchy. In the postcolonial context, significant changes for the Coloured community occur as a result of an ever-changing political landscape. These changes reveal a group consciousness or ideology that often translates into daily practices of methods of inclusion and exclusion based on racial organization—from endogamous kinship practices to a self-styling that appropriates mainstream American fashion and hip hop cultures.
Based on fieldwork conducted in Bulawayo, my study demonstrates that race was a paramount paradigm of identity in Rhodesia and despite changes in heads of state, ideologies, social practices and meanings that define identity, it continues to remain paramount in Zimbabwe today. Further, I argue that Coloureds themselves are the primary perpetuators of racial difference in the postcolonial context and value Coloured identity above either a national Zimbabwean identity or a continental African identity, inviting us engage with how and why Coloureds choose to racially self segregate and the consequences of such self segregation. Extending the anthropologist’s gaze in Africa to settler communities and the racist rhetoric that pervades, the question of race for Coloureds becomes synonymous with culture first and foremost as it dominates most aspects of socio- political life from the very mundane to the larger issues of land distribution. My research also challenges the long standing belief that Coloured identity is an invented or so-called identity. Coloureds in this sense are often conflated with blacks, as there is no real difference between them other than the fact that Coloureds were given privileges within the colonial structure to make up for European moral failings. With this in mind, I focus on how Coloureds have been historically defined, and how they themselves define their social identity by revealing how Coloureds have agency in constructing their own image. My work has found receptive audiences at numerous conferences, at the Center for African Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and at the African Studies Association. I am in the process of contributing an essay on Coloured identity to a forthcoming collection on African auto/biography.
After TC: While at TC, I was an adjunct instructor in the CUNY system and upon graduation, I continued to teach at Hunter and I have taught at TC as well. My classes at Hunter are interdisciplinary, merging African Studies, Anthropology, History and Literature and I taught the College’s first seminar devoted to Zora Neale Hurston, which I now teach regularly. This semester I am teaching courses on International Black Women Writers, Black Aesthetics, an undergraduate and graduate section on Zora Neale Hurston, as well as directing a Master’s Thesis and the Creative Writing Program.
Advice for Students: Apply for everything—every grant and scholarship available and be diligent and foster relationships with your professors and colleagues early as it will help when applying for employment.
M.A., Class of 2010
TC Program: International Educational Development
Integrative Project Title: The Challenges and Opportunities of Street Education
Before TC: Zohra was born and raised in Pakistan. She came to the United States for her undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. During her third year, she developed an interest in the concept of healthy environments for learning and began taking classes at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Zohra completed all the requirements for a Pennsylvania State teaching certification but unfortunately could not obtain certification because she is not a US citizen. Throughout this time, she coupled her academic coursework with international fieldwork experience during the four-month long summer breaks. She travelled to Sri Lanka to volunteer after the tsunami, worked in Kashmir after the earthquake and represented Pakistan in a conference about nuclear disarmament in Japan. She eventually applied to the Curriculum and Teaching program at Teachers College. However, upon arrival at Teachers College she transferred to IED after meeting an incoming student who told her about the program. She immediately decided that it was a program that fit her interests and passions perfectly: “I didn’t even know what International Educational Development meant, but I knew it was the program for me!"
While at TC: The IED/CIE program at TC exceeded all of Zohra’s expectations. She credits the program with providing her with a broad understanding of global issues in education and, more specifically, peace education. IED coursework helped Zohra make connections between academic concepts and theories and her past experiences in developing countries. She found her professors to be inspiring researcher practitioners who drew on their own projects as examples of applied work in IED. The knowledge she gained reached beyond the academic, as they offered critical “life skills and life lessons.” Zohra built on her exposure to Latin America at TC by working in Ecuador over the summer break. In addition to her work with professors, Zohra highlights the role that her peers played in her learning and growth at TC. The diversity of the student body in the IED/CIE program was unique to her experiences in higher education - providing her with a multiplicity of perspectives on education and development.
After TC: After graduating from TC, Zohra traveled to the Dominican Republic for the summer to work with the DREAM (Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring) project. As a teacher coach, she collaborated with local Dominican teachers to help them develop more active learning methodologies. She then transitioned into a more permanent position with Escuela Nueva in Bogotá, Colombia. She was drawn to the Escuela Nueva model, which aims to transform traditional schooling by introducing participatory and collaborative learning pedagogies. As the International Educational Specialist, Zohra was part of the teacher training team. After two years with Escuela Nueva in Bogotá, Zohra returned to Pakistan to work with the Teach for Pakistan program. Zohra directed the pre-service training program. She describes the position in Pakistan as an “extremely challenging” one that further developed her leadership, program management and problem-solving capabilities. Upon her return to Colombia, Zohra decided to move in a direction that allowed her to stay connected to where learning happens. She took up a post as a teacher at a school, teaching fourth-grade English to second language learners. She is now in her second year of teaching, a job that constantly keeps her on her toes, and one that she urges all education professionals to do from time to time to ensure that they keep up-to-date with the challenges and realities of children and of our education system.
Advice for Students: “Take a variety of classes. Be open to new experiences. Choose one professor and build a strong relationship with him/her. Build a strong network, a community of practice. Join a student organization. The Peace Education Network was an important part of my TC experience. It gave us a platform for organizing events and having greater, more diverse opportunities for learning. Look out for travel grants and internships. For the Integrated Project (IP), I recommend getting out of the classroom, doing a hands-on project and then writing about it (through action research or participant observation, for example). Designing your IP by way of a critical reflection about a project that you were a part of makes the writing process very enjoyable."
M.A., Class of 2006
Current position: Senior Advocate, Southern Poverty Law Center
Before TC: During his college years, Jed went to post-apartheid South Africa as a study abroad student and immediately saw similar issues to post- Civil Rights Movement United States. After his undergraduate years he went back to the African continent to work in Ghana as a teacher of English. These experiences made Jed question how post-colonial education systems were structured and he felt the need to go back to school and gain more legitimate skills. He also wanted an international and national focus on education issues and Teachers College’s dynamic programs and New York location was the right fit.
While at TC: As a student in the Comparative and International Education Program, Jed focused his studies on education in emergencies. He greatly benefited from the knowledgeable faculty -who were both practitioners and academics; the TC classes related to economics of education; the challenging and dynamic group work; the skills sets gained for grant writing; and the insights of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed focusing on “learner-centered” pedagogy. He also worked with the School of Public Health on a child and family health care assessment in post-Katrina Louisiana and Mississippi. Moreover, Jed took advantage of the opportunity to take classes at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and of the uncountable intellectual, cultural, networking, entertainment and social resources New York City has to offer. With his strengthened analytical, critical and practical skills, Jed was ready to go back to work!
After TC: Once he completed his studies Jed went to post-conflict Rwanda as a teacher and program manager for a local, non-governmental organization, and on to post-tsunami Indonesia to implement rights-based education programs with educators, government officials and parents. While his international experiences were making him a more skilled, sensitive and analytical practitioner, in 2008 the US was in its election year, and Jed felt it was time to go back home and contribute to educational transformation in America. Jed recently completed five years as a Senior Advocate for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society (http:// www.splcenter.org/). He believes in advocating for reform systems in crisis; increased access to equitable and quality education; the fight against racial disparities; and continued provision of access to resources and opportunities for all. His work at SPLC - especially as it relates to ending the school to prison pipeline and supporting students with disabilities - led to his 2014 appointment to the Jackson Public School (JPS) Board of Trustees, where he has recently begun a five-year term. JPS has 30,000+ students, 90% of whom are low income. Through this appointment he will be able to address the systemic issues facing our youth by contributing to district-level policy, budgetary and other large-scale decisions while using a human rights framework. He is also the new advocacy coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.
M.A., Class of 2002
Current position: Chief of Education, UNICEF Sri Lanka
Before TC: Sara has been interested in international and education related issues since a young age and this was accentuated through her study abroad experiences in France and Russia and her service in AmeriCorps. This together with her community based work and her appeal for understanding and doing curricular reform brought her to pursue her Masters of Arts in Peace Education at Teachers College (TC).
While at TC: Faculty members and peers in the Peace Education Program helped Sara articulate her experiences in the field. She greatly benefited from the knowledge and skills she gained from technical curriculum development classes taken at TC's Curriculum and Teaching Department, group work activities, analytical frameworks, alternate assessment methods, peace pedagogy and learning about issues of equity in education. Moreover, Sara greatly took advantage of TC's New York location and became an intern at the United Nations women's peace organization. The work done in the internship allowed her to base her integrative project (IP) on this experience and once she graduated to continue to work on peace promotion and technical assistance in education.
After TC: Sara's numerous skills together with Columbia University's prestige and TC's coursework, faculty, location, peers and networking opportunities helped her get the foot in the door; to work with different NGOs, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNICEF's education and peace building related programs. For almost ten years she worked for UNICEF supporting West African countries; and India's national education programs and education policy development. Today Sara is Chief of Education for UNICEF Sri Lanka. One of her tasks is to serve as an education advisor to the government while other work responsibilities include providing technical support to the government to strategize innovative programs and prevent school drop-outs; promoting children's rights, particularly in conflict affected areas; attending advocacy events; and producing education knowledge and data on Sri Lanka. As Education Chief she also performs administrative tasks such as preparing donor reports, fundraising, managing the large program budget, and supervising office and team staff.
Advice for Students: Sara recommends students to not only focus on knowledge, but also on process. She greatly encourages TC students to take risks, benefit from New York, get connected and network at events and forums, to enhance technical skills and to think outside of the box. Sara definitely walks the talk!
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: Doctoral Candidate, International and Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Before TC: After graduating from college, I packed my bags and moved to rural Malawi in 2007, where I lived and worked for two and a half years as a Biology, Chemistry, and English teacher and curriculum specialist at an all boys’ secondary school. Working with limited resources in a remote village, I learned so much about the profound importance of a quality education. It was an incredible experience that led me to make a major career change, from public health and occupational therapy to international educational development. After leaving Malawi, I moved to rural Gujarat, India for one year, where I trained government primary school teachers in English and child-centered instructional methods. This experience confirmed my newfound career and passion, and I subsequently applied to graduate school. Teachers College was my first choice school; I was enamored by its longstanding reputation in the field and its professors with rich experience and expertise all over the world.
While at TC: I joined Teachers College in Fall 2011. Soon after, I became the Co-President of the Society for International Education, enrolled in several wonderful courses and settled into my first year as a Masters student. I took a plethora of classes on youth, education, and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, strengthened my mixed methods skills, and learned so much from my fellow students and professors. I also became interested in international education policy and planning, with a special focus on teacher policies- a perfection combination that married my practical experience with my academic interests.
A year and a half later, I decided to take my IP research to Islamabad, Pakistan, where I accepted a position working on a USAID-funded project aimed at strengthening teacher education policies. Not only was I able to apply the skills I gained at Teachers College, but I also learned a lot about the policy-making process in a challenging new context. Several months later, I decided that I wanted to return to academia, so I applied to the doctoral program in International and Comparative Education at Teachers College, where I hoped to advance my studies on policy and planning. In the fall of 2013, I returned from Pakistan and began my doctoral studies with my advisor, Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi. I was fortunate to serve as a Doctoral Fellow, which allowed me to be a Teaching Assistant and a Peer Advisor to incoming Masters students. Happily back at Teachers College, I sought to continue strengthening my mixed methods skills, as well as learn about policy and planning in the United States. As such, I enrolled in several courses in the Education Policy and Social Analysis Department where I was able to expand my theoretical understanding of domestic education policy and its relevance to educational systems abroad.
Throughout the doctoral program, I strived to simultaneously stay involved in research and projects with a variety of organizations, including Brookings Institution, Save the Children, Institute of International Education, Global Partnership for Education and many others. Once again, I was able to apply my academic skills to the practice of conducting research to better inform the development and strengthening of educational programs and policies. After completing all of my coursework, I moved to Bangladesh where I conducted my dissertation field research. I explored the burgeoning low-fee private education sector in urban Dhaka City. Now, in my final semester as a doctoral candidate I am preparing to defend my recently completed dissertation and prepare to enter the job market.
Advice for Students: Leave your comfort zone as often as you can. Take classes on a variety of topics related to international and comparative education and study countries you may know little about. Take advantage of all that Teachers College has to offer, attend interesting events, and capitalize on the many opportunities that come with living in New York. Graduate school goes fast, so make the most of your time, meet everyone you can, and enjoy the experience!
M.A., Class of 1999
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Current Position: Senior Advisor, World Vision International
Before TC: During her undergraduate studies, Wendy became interested in development studies and worked on a research project on understanding the implications of tourism development on boy’s school retention in Kenya. Then, she decided to work as a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Benin, where she worked in rural classrooms and with local officials. Her time as a Peace Corps volunteer allowed her to get involved in many projects ranging from crop rotation to water preservation; this wide range of development experience prompted her to pursue a systemic view towards development.
While at TC: Joining TC as part of the Peace Corps Fellows program, Wendy worked with Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi for her master’s degree in International Education Development. She particularly benefitted from the mixture of theoretical, methods, and practical work that TC has to offer. For Wendy, her understanding of education also opened up with these courses; she continues to draw on many of the discussions she had with faculty and classmates. Besides coursework, she considers the TC community a unique experience to work with both academic scholars and practitioners in the field. In 1999, TC was the host of the Comparative International Education Society annual conference. Wendy had the opportunity to present her work at the conference, and she greatly enjoyed the research presentations and discussions that followed. That was a time when many people with different interests came together and gathered at TC with a shared passion to improve education. The same is true for Wendy’s fellow ICE students. As it was a diverse cohort, many of them are working on projects and doing consulting work in diverse areas of the broader international and comparative education field. Among her cohort, there was a strong commitment to building both research and project management skills and expertise. Many of Wendy’s classmates at TC became close colleagues and lifelong friends.
After TC: After graduating from TC, Wendy worked for four years as an education advisor at the International Rescue Committee, where she engaged with the field of education in emergencies. She is now the Director of Early Childhood Education, Basic Education, and Education in Emergencies at World Vision International, where she oversees the development of models, standards and education programming in various country offices.
Advice for Students: Wendy’s advice to students is “don’t be in a hurry,” look broadly across disciplines and utilize your time at TC to the fullest. There is so much to learn at TC, so it is important not to waste this wonderful resource. Instead, take your time and absorb every moment. She also advises new students to consider building skills that are specific and technical, but also use your time wisely to build bigger picture visions. She says to cast your net widely, build your interest, and gain perspective from all angles. The variety of courses at TC prepares you both in the theoretical and practical realms, so be sure get a good mixture of both.
M.A., Class of 2014
Degree Obtained:Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Policy and Planning
Current Position: Academic Advisor, New York University Shanghai
Before TC: I did my undergraduate studies in Spanish Language and Culture and spent my junior year studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, where I developed my interest in international education. The education system in Cuba is successful in addressing access and equality. However, I found that young people were not happy and some of them even dropped out of school. I started to question the role of education in the Cuban society. After graduating from college, I worked in the Spanish Chamber of Commerce as an associate and also worked as a part-time Spanish/Chinese teacher.
While at TC: I pursued my Master’s degree in International Educational Development with a concentration in International Policy and Planning. During my first semester at TC, I had a hard time adapting to the rigor of classes due to the theoretical approach as well as the lack of field experience. I often went to my peer advisor’s office hours and spent a lot of time reading and preparing for classes. I took many courses offered by various departments at TC, trying my best to gain knowledge from different educational aspects. I also interned in the United Nations Visitor Center and the State University of New York Global Center.
After TC: Right after graduation, I came back to my hometown and joined New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai) as an academic advisor. NYU Shanghai was founded in 2013 and is the third degree-granting campus in NYU’s global network. The student body represents over 60 countries, with half Chinese and half international students. I currently advise a caseload of approximately 180 students. I guide students through academic policies and procedures to ensure successful academic planning and course registration. I advise students on studying abroad, graduate school, and American medical school applications and decisions. I also provide support to students on academic probation and warning and lead the Peer Advising Program to help the first-year students transition into college.
Advice for Students: New York is an amazing city but sometimes it’s also easy to get distracted or even lost. Be proud of yourself and embrace this journey. You also need to get out of your comfort zone to make connections and find opportunities. You will gain knowledge as well as skills that will be transferrable to your career.
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: MSW/PhD student and Graduate Assistant, Center on Violence Against Women and Children, School of Social Work, Rutgers University
Before TC: Prior to TC, I graduated from UC Berkeley in International Peace and Conflict Studies, and several months after graduating, joined the Peace Corps. In the Peace Corps, I was a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language Teacher) in secondary schools in Benin, West Africa, where I was also actively involved in girl’s education and empowerment activities. My experience in Benin began to drive my interest and passion for girl’s education and gender based violence in schools, particularly in the African context, Following the Peace Corps, I worked in case management and ESL education with West African and other immigrant communities in Harlem. I was then hired by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) headquarters in NYC to write and implement a citizenship curriculum for immigrants nationally. During my time at IRC HQ, I simultaneously began my studies at TC in IED. During TC I continued to work full time at the IRC in New York while pursuing my studies at TC.
While at TC: I specialized in International Humanitarian Issues, and received a Certificate in African Education because of my continued focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, I was a teaching and graduate assistant for Professor Lesley Bartlett, with classes and projects focused on literacy. I concluded my education at TC while managing a program in Cote d’Ivoire in Child Youth Protection and Development, and wrote my Master’s Thesis on West African women’s experiences of language and literacy in New York.
After TC: After graduating from TC, I worked briefly at HIAS, a refugee resettlement organization, managing refugee programs with a focus on LGBTQI refugees and refugees with specialized medical needs, and consulted with the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) on school related gender based violence. I then worked in Jordan managing a humanitarian program for Syrian refugees. After my time in Jordan, I returned to the United States to pursue an MSW/PhD at Rutgers University in Social Work, with the goal of focusing and specializing on policy and community based responses to gender based violence in schools, within the Beninese context. I am currently in this PhD program in my second year, where I also work as a Graduate Assistant at the Rutgers School of Social Work Center on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC).
Advice for Students: Do not let supposed disciplinary limits stop your passion and interests. I have learned that my interests are cross-disciplinary and I have made it my goal to attempt to break down those barriers in my academic and professional work. Also, remember, that your professional and academic life is fluid and ever changing. Finally, do not hesitate to seek out mentors in your academic and professional passions.
Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt
M.A., Class of 2016
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: Peace and Human Rights Education
Current Position: Media and Resource Coordinator, Refugee Assistance and Information Network International
Before TC: Alexandra studied Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, where she had focused on gender and sexuality studies and critical race theory. Her interest in education came from studying racial disparities within the U.S. education system, and conducting research into pedagogy in Japanese-Canadian and –American internment camp schools. Prior to applying to TC, she worked with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN, Sesame Workshop, Millennium Villages, and the International Rescue Committee.
While at TC: While at TC, Alexandra concentrated in Peace and Human Rights Education, and focused on gender and education, as well as environmental and sustainability education. She served as the Graduate Assistant for the TC Working Group on Environmental and Sustainability Education. She won the 2015 Best Student Paper Award from the CIES Environmental and Sustainability Education Special Interest Group, and founded the Teachers College Student Coalition for Environmental Education and Action. Her poster on Sesame Workshop’s approaches to environmental and sustainability education in three international contexts won the People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Teachers College Academic Festival. Alexandra conducted her IP research on women’s perceptions of gender and power in Timor-Leste as an AC4 and Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund Fellow, and won the Morton Deutsch Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper on Social Justice for her research. While in Timor-Leste, she also worked with Search for Common Ground on a UN Women project on gender equity in radio reporting. She also interned with the New York-based global education nonprofit World Savvy on their Global Competence Certificate for educators, and served as the Director of Professional Development for the Society for International Education.
After TC: Following her graduation from TC, Alexandra worked for a small family foundation in New York, where she gained insight into the world of philanthropy and the needs of different nonprofit and community-based organizations. In April 2017, she moved to Tokyo to teach and explore family history. She also works on communications and resource coordination for Refugee Assistance and Information Network (RAIN), a hub for refugee resettlement and response efforts. Developed as a grassroots movement of deeply experienced social workers, mental health therapists, and humanitarian workers, RAIN seeks to build sustainable, responsive programs that involve deep training and a respect for a common struggle for human rights.
Advice for Students: "Get involved—your time at TC is so much more than what happens in your classes. Spend time attending TC and non-TC events, and talking to faculty, classmates, and people in your area of interest about their experiences. Join a student group, volunteer, and/or intern to build your resume, skill set, and explore the work and issues you are passionate about. Try to attend at least one Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) conference, if you can, and join a Special Interest Group (SIG) to participate in the latest conversations about your areas of interest/specialty. Gain research and professional experience by talking to your advisor, professors, and classmates about any opportunities to conduct research or help out on a project, and apply for fellowships and grants, if applicable. Lastly, I met some incredible people (and one of my best friends!) in the department—don’t forget to enjoy your time at TC and take advantage of all the wonderful things New York has to offer."
M.A., Class of 2016
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: Higher Education
Current Position: Outreach and Selection Officer, Institute of International Education
Before TC: Christian earned a B.S. in Psychobiology with an Education Studies Minor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Upon graduation, he became a Student Affairs Officer in the Undergraduate Admissions department recruiting college freshman all over the United States and internationally for UCLA. In particular, his recruitment efforts in China sparked a new professional trajectory. With this experience in hand, he was compelled to explore international avenues further and took on a role as a college counselor based in Shanghai, China. For three years, he helped ambitious Chinese students reach for their dreams of studying in the U.S. Due to the constantly changing landscape of education in China, he was inspired to go to graduate school and applied to Teachers College (TC). TC and New York's long standing relationship and connections with China made it an especially appealing location for study. In August 2014, he returned back to the U.S. and moved to New York City to start the International Educational Development (IED) program.
While at TC: Christian was able to combine his passion for international education along with his higher education experience. Through the exploration of the curriculum, he was able to amass a variety of different frameworks to deepen his knowledge and develop his career. These two fields combined with his discovery of organizational psychology holistically enhanced his understanding of the Sino-American educational partnerships and higher education systems at both local & global levels. Upon starting the IED program, Christian applied and was selected as a Co-President for the Society for International Education. While in SIE, he collaborated with fellow students and faculty to offer a range of professional development and social programming for the cohort. As a member of the Student Development & Activities (SDA) Office, his networks were further enhanced by connecting with other student leaders and participating in activities held by other student organization, particularly QueerTC, the Higher Post-Secondary Education Association, and the First China Initiative.
Also while at TC, he interned at the Institute of International Education (IIE), working on an initiative called Generation Study Abroad. This special endeavor seeks to double the percentage of American students participating in study abroad, while promoting access and support to marginalized students and communities. After a year of full-time study and fresh off his internship experience, he gained full-time employment with IIE, and tapered off his master's degree as a part-time student working full-time. Under the guidance of Dr. Oren Pizmony-Levy, Christian completed the IED Integrative Project requirement through a qualitative study examining viewpoints of race and racism among undergraduate Chinese international students.
After TC: Christian was able to bring what he learned in the classroom and immediately apply it to his role recruiting graduate students for a prestigious international and leadership development fellowship. On top of a world-class education, he made countless connections with classmates and faculty in New York and at institutions across the country. With nearly two years of employment at the Institute of International Education, his drive for international collaboration and intercultural communication has grown significantly. TC served as a catalyst to Christian's career where it furthered his conviction for international education.
Advice for Students: Take risks and step out of the box. New York City is a glorious playground for you to experiment with different parts of your life. Take that class that builds off your curiosity. Go for that internship beyond your comfort zone. Run for that student org board position that extends into a new set of values. From my experience, it's a place that rewards challenge, hard work, and grit. Looking back at TC, I won't remember all the time spent in the library, but instead, I will remember the times I challenged myself and the network of people who helped me get there. Take advantage of being surrounded by like-minded people and at the end of it all, you might be surprised by everything the journey sparks in you.
M.A., Class of 2013
Current Position: J.D. Candidate, Class of 2018, University of Colorado Law School
Before TC: Before pursuing my Masters degree at TC, I graduated from Bates College in Maine with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. I had created my own major to tailor it towards my interest in international and refugee education by taking courses in the Education, Psychology, and Anthropology departments. I volunteered extensively in local schools, specifically working with Somali refugee students and parents. After graduation, I taught kindergarten for a year as a founding teaching fellow with the KIPP charter network – a great experience, during which I learned a great deal about teaching and the challenges inherent in opening a new school.
During TC: While at TC, I focused my studies primarily on education in emergency situations and education policy. I had fantastic professors and met amazing colleagues who inspired me to travel abroad to experience first-hand what I was reading about in the confines of the TC library in NYC. I had focused primarily on the refugee crisis along the Thai-Burma border and serendipitously, just a week into my second semester, I connected with a professor at Columbia who had started his own non-profit organization in Thailand serving Burmese migrants and stateless children (Kwah Dao) and was looking for interns. Within a few days, I had spoken to him and decided to accept a year-long internship to help develop curriculum for their after- school English program. During my time there, I collected data as part of my thesis and, upon my return, I finished my thesis and other credits over the summer.
After TC: After graduation, I returned to Kwah Dao in Thailand to become the Director of their kindergarten program. I worked there for two years, which was a fantastic experience and I learned a great deal about myself as well as the challenges that migrant and stateless families face. It was during this time that I was exposed specifically to the legal challenges that my students would experience, regardless of their level of education. I decided to pursue a law degree to become better equipped to support and guide migrants through complicated legal systems that often work to their detriment. I am now in my second year of law school at the University of Colorado and am focusing on immigration law. I believe that my prior experience in the field of education provides me with a unique perspective on immigration issues as well as an ability to adapt quickly, identify issues, and develop arguments. At this moment in history, it appears that immigration law is poised to be a very contentious and quickly changing field; I look forward to developing the skillset necessary to assist children and families navigate this daunting legal system.
Advice for Students: The experiences I gained and the support I received while at TC was invaluable and shaped my career and general life path. Reaching out to professors and seeking their guidance was critical in my growth as a student and as an educator. That support also led me to where I am now and I believe it will make me a better attorney in the future. I feel lucky to have been amidst such caring faculty and colleagues during a time when I was still trying to determine the best career and path for me. I urge you to take advantage of this support system and seek input from the people around you as you determine what to do next with the phenomenal education you will undoubtedly receive at TC.
Charles von Rosenberg
M.A., Class of 2011
Current Position: Program Officer, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA)
Before TC: Charles studied literature and linguistics at the Université de Paris VIII – Vincennes. He lived for three years in Paris studying, teaching English as a Second Language, and playing music. After college, Charles spent time at home in Denver and travelling around the world, eventually finding work as a teacher in South Korea. Charles applied to the Bilingual/Bicultural Education program with the goal of using his teaching and learning experiences to improve bilingual education programs and curricula in the United States.
While at TC: After learning that the Bilingual/Bicultural Education program was specifically geared towards teacher training, Charles switched to the International Educational Development program, with a focus on education policy. Combining these two strands, he continued to work on language education, but through the lenses of development and policy. Charles worked in the Office of Budget and Planning as a Graduate Assistant. In his final semester, he took an internship with the Institute of International Education (IIE) and compiled an historical database of programs within the Global Scholars and Leadership Programs division. This internship allowed him to interview IIE staff at all levels of the organization to find out specifics on the programs that they had worked on over the past ten years.
After TC/Current Work: The week prior to graduation Charles was offered a position with GCPEA, an international coalition of UN and non-governmental organizations advocating for an end to attacks on education in conflict situations. He has worked there for the past four years, seeing the Coalition grow dramatically in size and influence. His thematic focus within the Coalition’s work is on protecting higher education from attacks, working closely with IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund, the Scholars at Risk network, and the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA). As part of the GCPEA Secretariat, Charles works with GCPEA Director, Diya Nijhowne, to operationalize projects, campaigns, and ideas put forth by GCPEA Steering Committee members.
Advice to Students: Take advantage of the enormous opportunities to meet the brilliant people that surround you at TC. It may not come as a surprise, but there is a fantastic group of talented professors and students there that are doing and will do amazing work. Do not wait to be told what to do. It is your responsibility to develop your ideas, attend lectures and extracurricular activities, and dive deeply into your work. Remember that every class, every assignment, every potential connection, offers an opportunity that can bring you closer to achieving your goals. Take time to understand what you are looking for in your experience at TC and follow up on opportunities to gain skills, knowledge, and contacts that will help you on your way.
M.A., Class of 2016
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in Comparative International Education
Current Position: Global Young Innovation Fellow, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Before TC: Jingsui identifies as a global citizen – she was born and raised in China, has studied in six countries and speaks five languages. Early international exposure has given her deep appreciation for cultural diversity and a lifelong passion for international education. In 2012, Jingsui became an international volunteer, teaching at an underserved primary school in Cape Town, South Africa, where around 45% of students were HIV-positive. Jingsui worked with local volunteers and faculty to raise money and helped start a fund to support extra-curricular activities and improve access to computer education; the fund has been running successfully for four years. Coming back from South Africa, Jingsui launched another teaching initiative in the suburbs of Beijing, China with the purpose of connecting college students to teaching opportunities at demanding schools to solve the problem of teacher scarcity and improve educational quality.
While at TC: Jingsui carried on her passion for education and entrepreneurship to TC. Beyond the coursework required for her program, she also benefited from the variety of courses TC offers, from early childhood education to research and programming in games. Studying at TC prepared her with the knowledge and ability to stay on top of cutting-edge technologies in education, and even enabled her to lead a series of innovative initiatives at the UN, including introducing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality into daily work. During her studies, she also joined a startup company based in Silicon Valley with the goal of bringing quality robotics education to every child and family.
After TC: In June 2016, Jingsui was selected as part of the inaugural class of UNFPA Global Young Innovation Fellows, out of over 5,000 candidates worldwide. As one of the eight youth representatives globally, she is based in the UN’s New York Headquarters and works on UNFPA priorities: youth engagement, empowerment and innovation. She is dedicated to advancing the SDGs and leading Education 2030.
Advice for Students: TC has a world-class faculty and an amazing student body. Do not limit yourself to classroom studies but also open up to the people around you, sharing knowledge and inspiring each other to improve education through new and innovative ways. The world today faces unprecedented challenges as well as opportunities, and we are here to build a new era of education.
M.A., Class of 2015
Degree Obtained: Master of Arts in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Policy and Planning
Current Position: Staff Assistant, United Nations Headquarters in New York
Before TC: Growing up in Mainland China, Xunan was fascinated by the differences in education between Hong Kong and Mainland China as an exchange student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010. On behalf of Hunan University, she wrote an essay about the comparison of college education between the two regions. Despite the challenge of analyzing the causes and effects of educational policies through a comparative perspective, her article scrutinized the diverse perspectives and was published. This exploration at CUHK tapped her interest in comparative education, especially comparative studies of policies. During her undergraduate years, owing to the interdisciplinary training in Lida Top Student Class at Hunan University, she exposed herself to wide-ranging knowledges on different disciplines that affect policymaking. With a strong desire to learn, she undertook several research projects and devoted herself to empowering children in India by implementing awareness programmes and examining related problems through a cross-cultural perspective. Her experiences in China and India made her realize the true value of educational equality and efficient policies to the dreams of both children and their parents.
While at TC: Xunan pursued a Master’s Degree in International Educational Development with a concentration in International Policy and Planning, where she acquired an in-depth grasp of policy formulation in an international context as well as necessary skills in quantitative analysis and qualitative evaluation. For example, she participated in the research project for International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). In collaboration with her classmates, she developed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, conducted interviews and questionnaires, and generated a global consultation report to help INEE identify and prioritize key challenges and opportunities. She also worked as a coordination intern at Jumpstart and helped implement community and on-campus initiatives that served pre-school children in low-income neighbourhoods and supported children’s language, literacy, and socio-emotional development. Equally important in her career development was her internship with the United Nations, where she had the opportunity to glean first-hand insights into international issues and was positively involved in making the world a safer and better place.
After TC: Immediately following the completion of her Master’s degree, Xunan received several offers and decided to join the Strategic Support Team in the Office of the Under- Secretary-General of the Department Field Support of the United Nations (UN). Having served at the UN for one and a half years, across three departments at UN Headquarters (DFS, DPKO and DM), she has gained rich experience in liaising with colleagues in both HQ, missions and diplomatic personnel inside and outside the office. Working with colleagues from 193 Member States, she also found herself working in multicultural teams with people from all backgrounds who have wide perspectives, experiences, and approaches. Combining her theoretical foundation and practical experiences, she has deepened her understanding of international development and that political and operational gaps, if properly bridged, could potentially make a difference in emergency situations.
Advice for Students: First, it is very helpful to take research methodology courses, especially for those who are interested in research. Furthermore, be prepared to take advantage of career development opportunities. Active involvement in class discussion, academic conferences and activities will allow you to learn from and build connections with people. In addition, determine what you want and know the specific skills you need to progress. Enhance your technical skills by doing internships, volunteer work, and research projects with professors. Finally, the graduate school experience goes by fast. So enjoy every moment in New York City and utilize the time here to the fullest. Challenge yourself and be bold as a lion.
Doctoral Degree Alumni Profiles
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education, Concentration: Language, Literacy and Technology
Advisor: Dr. Hervé Varenne
Geographical Focus: South Asia
Previous Graduate Education: Ed.M., International Education Policy, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Dissertation Title: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas
Research and Scholarly Interests: New technologies and social practice, user-interfacing, education, communication and social change, ethnography of learning with new technologies and its implication on development policy and practice
Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications/ Book Chapters:
(Forth). Copycats of the Central Himalayas: Learning in the Age of Information. Chapter in forthcoming book, Cases 'n' Places: Global Cases in Educational Technology.
(2008). Perspectives of Schooling through Karaoke. Education Philosophy and Theory Journal. (Blackwell Synergy).
(2008). Evaluating online dialogue on "security." Electronic Journal of e-Learning.
(2008). Instant messaging Shiva, flying taxis, Bil Klinton and more: Children's narratives from rural India. International Journal of Cultural Studies (Sage Publications).
(2006a).The ICT Laboratory: An analysis of computers in schools in rural India. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal, 15(1).
(2006b). Karaoke for social and cultural change. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 4(3) (Emerald Publishing).
(2005). Profiting from empowerment? Critique on dissemination avenues of educational technology content within an emerging market. International Journal of Education & Development using ICT, 1(4).
Awards/Grants: Multi-year Minority Scholarship, Teachers College 2005-2009, Kellogg Tuition Grant 2005-2007
Ed.D., Class of 2011
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development
Advisor: Monisha Bajaj
Geographical Focus: Sub-Saharan Africa
Previous Graduate Education: MPhil, International Perspectives on Special and Inclusive Education, University of Cambridge
Current Position: Research Scholar, Wittgenstein Centre
Research and scholarly interests: Inclusive education in Sub-Saharan Africa; humanitarian aid and development assistance; emergency education; education and fragile states; positive and negative outcomes of education; relationship between global and local forces in educational settings; understanding educational discourse.
Bengtsson, S. (2011). Fragile States, Fragile Concepts: A Critical Reflection on the Terminology of Fragility in the Field of Education in Emergencies. In J. Paulson (ed.), Education, conflict & development. Oxford Studies in comparative and international development. Oxford: Symposium Press.
Bengtsson, S. & Bartlett, L. (2011). From Child-Friendly Schools to Child-Friendly Research Methods: Lessons learned from UNICEF’s “Learning Plus Initiative”. In K. Mundy & S. Dryden-Peterson (eds.), Education in conflict: A tribute to Jackie Kirk. New York: Teachers College Press.
Bengtsson, S. (2010, March). Fragile States and Fragility in Global Education Aid Policy: Understanding the Discourse Construction Process. Presentation given at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 54th Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.
Bengtsson, S. (2009, April). Towards a Strategic Research Agenda for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises, Early Recovery and Fragile Contexts. Presentation (Session Chair) given at the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Global Consultation 2009, Istanbul, Turkey.
Bengtsson, S. (2009, April). Exploring the Research Process behind UNICEF’s Learning Plus Initiative. Presentation (Session Chair) given at the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Global Consultation 2009, Istanbul, Turkey.
Bengtsson, S. (2009, March). Fragile States and Fragility in Global Education Aid Policy: The Need for a Critical Analysis of the Discourse. Presentation given at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 53rd Annual Conference, Charleston, South Carolina.
Teachers College: Betty Fairfax Professional Development Grant (March 2009); University of Cambridge: Cambridge European Trust Bursary (2005–2006); shortlisted for Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2005)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: "Definitely the people. The faculty work hard to simultaneously support and challenge us. As for the students -- it's a privilege to be surrounded by such bright and brilliant colleagues who share a passion for education."
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Program: International Educational Development
Advisor: Dr. Ofelia García, Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Dissertation Title: English Language Teaching Education in Post-Revolutionary Iran (1979-2008): The Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending
Current Position: I currently teach graduate courses of TESOL/Applied Linguistics and Bilingual Education in the School of Education at City University of New York.
Previous Graduate Education: M.A., Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Hunter College (CUNY), 2004;
M.A., Comparative Historical Linguistics, University of Tehran, 1998
Professional or Scholarly Specialization: TESOL/Applied Linguistics, Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Language Policy and Planning, World Englishes, Globalization, and International Education
Ph.D., Class of 2006
Program: Comparative and International Education, specialization in Sociology
Advisors: Aaron Pallas (Sociology) and Frances Vavrus (ITS)
Dissertation Title: A place called home: An analysis of discourses on nationalism, supranationalism and multiculturalism in the formal and informal curriculum in the Republic of Ireland
Current Position: I recently started a faculty position in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at University College Dublin. I am teaching courses on the relationship between education and development and development education, with a view to enabling pre-service and in-service secondary teachers implement a global ethical perspective in their classrooms.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The depth and breadth of thematic and research-based course offerings, combined with research opportunities at TC, enabled my research interests to develop organically. The IED/CIE program structure, with its combined emphasis on core courses in the field, and substantive coursework in an academic specialization, provides a solid foundation for the development of robust, yet not overly prescriptive, intellectual identities.
Ph.D., Class of 2001
Program: Comparative and International Education, specialization in Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Dissertation Title: Creating Community? PTAs in (Post) Conflict Zones
Current Position: I am an Assistant Professor of International Education at NYU. I have an affiliation with Columbia University's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. My research, teaching and consulting focus on education in emergencies, NGOs, community schools and on education as a tool for post-conflict reconstruction. The Spencer Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, and the Weikart Foundation fund my research.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Four things: colleagues, CICE, dissertation and academic advisor capture my TC experience. My advisor cultivated strong intellectual and social bonds among her students. Long discussions, whether in class or over dinner, wine, or exam preparation, honed our analytical thinking and motivation. Collectively starting CICE and individually completing the dissertation are the concrete results of these remarkable times.
Christal G. Burnett
Ed.D., Class of 2008
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Family and Community and Bilingual/Bicultural Education
Advisors: Dr. Hope Leichter, Dr. Maria Torres-Guzmán
Geographical Focus: United States and Latin America
Previous Graduate Experience: M.A. in Languages, Literacy and Culture from Stanford University
Research and Scholarly Interests: I am interested in the education of Latino students. My main foci are bilingual education, L1 maintenance, education within the family, and parental involvement. Other interests include sociolinguistic issues faced by speakers of non-standard language varieties. My dissertation examines ways in which Latino immigrant parents participate in their child’s education.
Presenter. Do Latino parents care about their child’s education? National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), San Jose, CA, February 2007
Presenter. Overlooked Treasures: Identifying Latino Immigrant Parents’ Desire to Educate Their Children. Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), New York, NY, 30 March 2007
Co-author. (2006). Language Maintenance and the Role of the Family amongst Immigrant Groups in the United States: Persian-speaking Bahais, Cantonese, Urdu, Spanish and Japanese: An exploratory study. Center for Multiple Languages and Literacies (CMLL).
Awards/Grants: Betty Fairfax Professional Development Fund Grant; Deborah Partridge Wolfe Multicultural Doctoral Education Scholarship.
Ed.D., Class of 1988
Current Position: Director, Program in Teacher Preparation, Princeton University
Before TC: After graduating from college with a History major Christopher became a Social Studies public high school teacher for 3 years. His interest in wanting to teach at the college level and to further understand the critical role of education on nation building and economic and social development brought him to pursue his doctoral degree in education at Teachers College (TC).
While at TC: As a student in the Comparative and International Education Program, Christopher’s academic concentration was on Cultural Anthropology and his region of focus was Latin America. He greatly enjoyed being part of New York City’s international setting and taking classes with renowned TC faculty such as Harold Noah, Maxine Greene and Lawrence Cremin, amongst others. These inspiring classroom experiences together with the immense cultural diversity of the student body allowed Christopher to become more analytical and critical and to gain perspectives on education from people from all over the globe. As he mentioned “TC shrinks the world into one place” and students should take advantage of this by learning as much from their classes as from their classmates.
After TC: After completing his dissertation on the history of the Comparative Education Society (now CIES) by using the Comparative Education Review (CER) journal, Christopher held various academic positions in New Jersey, New York and Hawaii. In 1998 he joined the New Jersey State Department of Education and for 13 years participated in programs related to monitoring, evaluation, training and curriculum development in school districts across the state and with institutions of higher education. Christopher greatly enjoys his current job as the Director for the Program in Teacher Preparation at Princeton University since he has the opportunity to work, again, with students and with future teachers. His TC experience helped him achieve this successful career path since it provided him with multiple philosophical, cultural, political and economic perspectives of educational issues. This broad view and understanding of schools allows Christopher to share his knowledge and further contribute to the enhancement of teacher preparation and school administration.
Ed.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Education Policy
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Geographical Focus: United States, Japan, Former Soviet Union, Central and Southeast Asia
Previous Graduate Experience: Ed.M., International Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Research and Scholarly Interests: Education Policy, Statistics & Quantitative Research Methods, School Design, Comparative & International Development Education, School Violence, and Nonviolence
Chemsak, S. (2008). Henry M. Levin. Cieclopedia.org: Who’s Who in Comparative and International Education Studies. Available at: http://cieclopedia.org/Entry.aspx?id=96
Chemsak, S. (2008). A Comprehensive Non-Partisan Analysis of Arizona's Charter School Plan. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, Paper 158. Available at: http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/OP158.pdf
Chemsak, S. (2007). Thich Nhat Hanh: Peace Activist, Poet & Buddhist Monk. Gratefulness.org. Available at: http://www.gratefulness.org/giftpeople/thich_nhat_hanh.htm
Chemsak, S.& Kuriakose, K.K. (2008). "Education, Equity, and Non-Violence." Comparative and International Education Society 2008 Conference (March 17-21). Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.
Chemsak, S. (2007). "Probing the Relationship between Architecture and Education across Cultures: The Cases of Japan, Russia, and the United States." Comparative and International Education Society 2007 Conference (February 25-March 1).
Awards/Grants: New Scholar, Comparative and International Education Society, Comparative and International Education Society 2007 Conference; Department of International and Transcultural Studies Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2005.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The opportunity to work with a supportive and brilliant advisor, and to collaborate with diverse and thoughtful colleagues from around the world.
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Family and Community Education
Advisor: Dr. Hope Leichter
Geographical Focus: Africa, indigenous, minority, and immigrant communities
Previous Graduate Education: Masters in Law and Diplomacy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Nonformal education, particularly of women and girls; transmission of knowledge through oral and written histories and nonformal channels such as cooking and mass media; immigrant experiences and the influences and impact of culture; role of the Phelps Stokes Fund and other philanthropic organizations in international educational development; communication and public diplomacy; collaborative network building
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The people: fellow students and faculty. They come from all walks of life, with different experiences, interests and philosophies. Yet everyone is passionate about their work and contributions: how to make this world a more inclusive place and to eliminate social injustices. And the best thing is: they are extremely down-to-earth individuals.
Ed.D., Class of 2008
Current Position: Education Office Deputy Director, USAID, Indonesia
Before TC: Immediately after college, Pete worked in investment banking in Boston, something he soon realized was not his true calling. Having attended a Jesuit college for undergrad, he was familiar with Jesuit Volunteers International (JVI), which, like Peace Corps, assigns volunteers to countries for two years to work on social justice issues. Pete served in the islands of Chuuk, Micronesia, in the western Pacific Ocean, where he taught English literature and skills to high school students. He learned from a fellow TC alum, who also volunteered with JVI in Chuuk, that Teachers College offered a degree in International Educational Development.
While at TC: Pete began as an MA student, but quickly realized that he wanted to learn more about the field and explore various global education challenges, leading him to the Ed.D. program. During his graduate work at TC, he took advantage of a variety of opportunities, including interning with an LGBT rights organization in Romania to help develop a sexual education curriculum, performing a situational analysis on the education system in Sierra Leone, conducting an evaluation of a new educational policy in a Russian global province as a part of Dr. Steiner-Khamsi’s policy evaluation course, and living in Bangladesh for a year to work for BRAC. During that year, he conducted an onsite evaluation of the organization’s new Master’s of Public Health program. He used the experience as a springboard into his doctoral research and explored BRAC’s scaleup and global reach to other developing countries as a form of South-South transfer.
After TC: After graduating, Pete worked briefly with UNICEF on a school-fee abolition project, before joining CARE as a technical education advisor in the Basic and Girls’ Education Unit. He co-managed a program to develop leadership skills of adolescent girls in Egypt, Honduras, India, Malawi, Mali and Tanzania. The work helped him learn a great deal about both the similarities and unique challenges that adolescent girls face in their struggle to not only complete their education, but also become empowered actors in their communities. He left CARE in 2010 to become a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He served in South Africa for two years, where he helped restart the education program with a focus on early grade reading development. Afterward, Pete went to South Sudan to manage the Agency’s third-largest basic education project. However, due to a civil conflict that erupted in December 2013, he and most of his colleagues were evacuated. Pete finished his tour in Washington, DC. Pete serves as Deputy Director of the Education Office of USAID’s Indonesia Mission. He oversees the higher education portfolio, focusing on developing institutional capacity of Indonesian universities, providing scholarships for students to complete Master’s degrees in the U.S. and Indonesia, and developing science and technology programming to increase research capabilities of Indonesian individuals and institutions. His current role affords him the opportunity to work with key players in science and technology in the private sector and the Government of Indonesia.
Advice to Students: "Explore a wide variety of opportunities with different organizations, especially if they are overseas. It’s a fantastic way to bridge what you read about with actual practice, and often you’ll notice that what we study doesn’t actually play out the same way in reality. Either way, it’s a great learning experience. Most importantly, listen and observe before speaking. Learning the dynamics of a situation is paramount to offering ideas on how to move forward."
Ivania de la Cruz Orozco
Ed.D., Class of 2013
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development
Current Position: Professor, Cátedra CONACYT-CIDE, Programa Interdisciplinario sobre Política y Prácticas Educativas, CIDE (Centro de Investigaciones y Docencia Económicas)
Before TC: Prior to her time at Teachers College, Dr. de la Cruz Orozco obtained her Masters of Public Administration at the School of International and Public Affairs, at Columbia University. Before SIPA, she was professor at the Universidad José Vasconcelos in Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr. de la Cruz Orozco has also worked as an external consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank.
While at TC: Dr. de la Cruz Orozco obtained her Ed.D. in International Educational Development with a focus on Latin America and Latino Studies. At TC, she served as the co-chair of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and was a teacher’s assistant for Professor Regina Cortina. After defending her dissertation proposal, Dr. de la Cruz Orozco conducted field-work for a year in three rural communities in Oaxaca, México.
After TC: Since graduating from Teachers College, Dr. de la Cruz Orozco has worked as a professor at the Universidad de la Sierra Sur in Oaxaca. Currently, she is a professor and researcher at the National Council for Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, CONACYT) at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (Centro de Investigaciones y Docencia Económicas, CIDE).
Advice for Students: “Encourage your advisor to hold seminars every two weeks so you and other advisees can present preliminary drafts of your research. This exercise creates a routine that encourages you (or rather, forces you) to make constant progress towards your dissertation. I am thankful to Professor Regina Cortina for regularly meeting with all her advisees, creating a space to share progress of my research and get valuable feedback from her and my peers. Enroll for classes not only in your department, but in other departments at TC and schools at Columbia. There are also amazing courses offered through the CUNY system, the New School, and New York University.”
Michelle Morais de Sa e Silva
Ph.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education, Concentration: Political Science
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Geographical Focus: Africa and Latin America
Previous Graduate Education: M.A., Development Studies, Major in Politics of Alternative Development from Institute of Social Studies at The Hague, Netherlands
Research and Scholarly Interests: Policy studies; politics and economics of educational borrowing and lending; South-South cooperation, South-South transfer; conditional cash transfer programs; adult literacy policies, especially in African and Latin American countries.
Morais de Sa e Silva, M. (forthcoming). South-South cooperation: Past and present of its conceptualization and practice. In G. Steiner-Khamsi and L. Chisholm (eds), South-South transfer: Cooperation and unequal development in education.
Morais de Sa e Silva, M. (forthcoming). NYC: a performance-based conditional cash transfer programme. A qualitative analysis. International Poverty Centre Working Paper.
Jules, T., Morais de Sa e Silva, M. (2008). How different disciplines have approached South-South cooperation and transfer. Journal of the Society for International Education, 6.
Morais de Sa e Silva, M. (2008). NYC: A controversial cash transfer in the North. In Poverty in Focus, vol. 15.
Morais de Sa e Silva, M. (2008). New York’s brand-new conditional cash transfer programme: What if it succeeds? International Poverty Centre One Pager, n. 60.
Morais, M. (2005). Cooperação Sul-Sul em Alfabetização: rumo ao Desenvolvimento Humano. In Revista da Alfabetização Solidária, vol. 5 (5).
Morais, M. (2005). South-South cooperation, policy transfer and best-practice reasoning: The transfer of the Solidarity in Literacy Program from to , ISS Working Paper Series, n. 406. The Hague: ISS.
Awards/Grants: M.A. full scholarship from Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) (2003-2004); Best research paper award, Institute of Social Studies (2004); Ph.D. scholarship, Fulbright/ Brazilian Ministry of Education (CAPES) (2006-2010)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Teachers College offers a very friendly environment, where I have received individualized attention from faculty and staff. At the same time, as an affiliate of Columbia University, TC offers me the large diversity of courses and activities at the main campus. This combination has been very helpful and motivating for my PhD studies. Additionally, working with Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi and her Ph.D./Ed.D. advisees has given me the real possibility of deepening my studies and research on topics such as South-South cooperation and transfer.
Mercedes del Rosario
Ed.D., Class of 2007
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Educational Policy Studies
Geographical Focus: Southeast Asia, Central Asia
Advisors: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Dr. Frank Moretti
Previous Graduate Education: Ed.M. in IED/Language, Literacy and Technology, Teachers College, Columbia University; MA in Instructional Technology, San Francisco State University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Educational innovation and ICT in education: policies, strategies and practices; teacher education and technology integration and preparedness in pre-service and in-service education; web-based video online course development. Educational reform: Monitoring the drop out problem in post-socialist countries.
Del Rosario, M. (2010) Leveling the Playing Field with ePortfolios; Global Virtual Symposium, Global Development Learning Network of the World Bank, Drexel University, Weinhouse Research, March 2010. (Videotaped presentation available at: http://mobile.goodwin.drexel.edu/govirtual/?p=498
Del Rosario, M. (2008). Technology Integration in Teacher Preparation Programs in the Philippines: An International Development Perspective. ICT for Development Special Interest Group, 52nd Annual Conference, Comparative and International Education Society. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, March 17-21, 2008.
Del Rosario, M. (2006). A Case Study on Kaleidoscope: A Film-Based Curriculum for Language Instruction. International Conference on Teacher Education (2006). Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology. University of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines. July 20-22, 2006.
Del Rosario, M (2006). The Drop Out Study: Perspectives, Experiences and Calls for Action from Post-Socialist Countries: Albania, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Slovakia, and Tajikistan. 50th Anniversary Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). Hawaii, March 14-18, 2006.
Del Rosario, M., and Frates, L. (2005). Face to Face with Moving Voices’ Students: Video Conferencing from Botswana, New Hampshire and New York. National Educational Computing Conference, Philadelphia, PA. Jun 27-30, 2005.
Del Rosario, M., Gragert, E., and Dugan, W. (2005): Moving Voices: The Project, The Course, The Videos. CoSN K-12 School Networking Conference, Washington D.C. March 22-23, 2005.
Del Rosario, M. and Dugan, W. (2004). Moving Voices: Teachers’ Learning Experiences, International Education Resource Network Annual Conference, Kosice, Slovakia, July 2004.
Del Rosario, M. (Upcoming Book Chapter). ICT in Education Policies and National Development: Why the Twain Should Meet (But Could Not) . Post-secondary education and technology: a global perspective on opportunities and obstacles to development. International and Development Education Series. Palgrave Macmillan Publishing. See: http://us.macmillan.com/series/InternationalandDevelopmentEducation
Budiene,V, Dedze,I. and del Rosario, M. (Eds) (2007) Monitoring School Drop Outs. Available at:
Del Rosario, M. and Warren, N. (2003) Response to Aurolyn Luykx : "Whose Language Is It Anyway? Historical Fetishism and the Language of Expertise in Bolivian Language Planning", Current Issues in Comparative Education [Online], 5(2). Available at: http://www.tc.edu/cice/Issues/05.02/52delrosario_warren.pdf
Benton, P., Shen, Y., and Del Rosario, M. (2002). Using immersive 360 degree images to enhance active involvement and comprehension in the learning process. Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference. (1).1508-1509.
Benton, P., Shen, Y., and Del Rosario, M. (2002). Handheld technology in field-based reporting.Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference. (1). 1759-1760.
Del Rosario, Mercedes, (2005) Moving Voices: Digital Filmmaking in the Global Classroom. Available at: http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=161500510.
Del Rosario, M., et.al., (2005) The Mongolian Drop Out Study, Mongolian
Educational Alliance, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Available at: http://pdc.ceu.hu/archive/00002501/01/DropOut_eng.pdf
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for the New Student Orientation, LAGCC, March 2011.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for the New Faculty Colloquium, LAGCC, February 2010 and February 2011.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, LAGCC, November, 2010.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for ACE IHEP Walmart, LAGCC, November, 2010.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for J. F. Oberlin University Faculty, Tokyo, Japan, LAGCC, August 2010.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for the China Education Association for International Exchange Delegation, LAGCC, June 2010.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for the New Faculty Colloquium, LAGCC, February 2010 and March 2011.
ePortfolio Platform Selection, College of Staten Island, November 2009.
Web-Design and ePortfolio Search Meeting, Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA, July 2009.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for the New York Board of Education, LAGCC, June 2009.
Peer Teaching, Teaching, Learning and Technology, Innovations in Education Summer 2009 Colloquium, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, May 2009.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for University of Florida Faculty, LAGCC, March 2009.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for Fundamentals of Professional Advancement and Education and Language Acquisition Faculty, LAGCC, April 2009.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for First Year Academy Faculty, LAGCC, March 2009.
ePortfolios at LaGuardia for Physical Therapy and Applied Health Faculty, LAGCC, March 2009.
Integrating ePortfolios in the Curriculum, Norwalk Community College, Connecticut, November 2008.
Awards/Grants: Teachers College Minority Scholarship Award (2003-2004); Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Academic Excellence and Achievement at San Francisco State University (May 2001);
California Pre-Doctoral Program Scholar (2001-2002)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere…
Ph.D., Class of 2012
Degree Obtained: Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education, with a specialization in economics
Current Position: Officer and Director, Outreach & Education, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Before TC: Before I enrolled in TC, I studied a master in international affairs at Columbia’s SIPA. I focused on international economics and law, but I had the opportunity of taking classes at TC. Courses like Economics of Education with Hank Levin and Education and Economic Development with Francisco Rivera-Batiz were not only insightful, but truly inspiring. At the same time, I was volunteering with community-based organizations serving Latino immigrants and I realized the urgency of addressing the educational needs of this group. In particular, I became aware of their lack of knowledge of the financial system in the US and how this affected their asset-building capabilities and household financial security.
While at TC: While I was at TC, I spent many hours discussing complex problems in education and development with professors and fellow students. I attended lectures by world-known educators, researchers and policymakers. I enjoyed reading the work by classic authors as well as the ideas of innovators who challenged the status quo. I also had the opportunity of spending a lot of time in the field gathering data for my dissertation and understanding the context of my study on financial education and access to financial services. As many other educators, I felt the need of taking my research to practice so I became a founding member of a nonprofit organization serving Latinos in New York City.
After TC: I started working at the Federal Reserve right after finishing my doctorate. I was hired to oversee a portfolio of economic education programs including enrichment programs and academic competitions for high school students, and clinics for economics professors and teachers of finance education. My role expanded to incorporate initiatives in regional economic development including community development finance and financial inclusion. I also became involved in efforts to engage business schools to address ethical behavior in banks, strategies to implement fintech solutions and programs to increase participation of women and people of color in the financial services industry. Besides my work at the New York Fed, I am active in boards of community organizations and education institutions such as La Colmena Community Job Center in Staten Island, CUNY’s Institute of Mexican Studies and the New Jersey City University Business School.
Advice for Students: My advice for TC students is not to be afraid to address complex problems, admit when legacy solutions don’t work and propose disruptive ideas. I advise learning skills such as data analysis, quantitative methods and program evaluation.
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Docot of Education in International Educational Development
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Previous Graduate Education: M.A., Educational Technology, Concordia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Forced Displacement, Humanitarian Assistance, Provision of Education in Refugee Settings, Education of Minorities, Identity and Displacement
Schooling experience of Afghan refugees in Iran (1980-2001) at the CIES 2005 annual meeting at Stanford University
Living on the Margins: A Case Study of Afghan Refugees in Iran at the 8th Conference of International Association for the Study of Forced Migration in Chiang Mai, Thailand ( 2003) and 4thCentral Eurasian Studies Conference at Harvard University (2003)
Use of Educational Technology for Learning at the Institute of Research and Planning in Higher Education, Teheran, Iran and Teheran University Department of Psychology and Education (2002)
Awards/Grants: Le Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide la Recherche (Fonds FCAR) Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (2000-2002); Teachers College (1999-2001)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: A unique opportunity to take part in many formal and informal activities and learning events within TC and wider academic community of Columbia University.
Ed.D., Class of 2008
Before TC: Maria worked with New York City youth in a variety of capacities. At Aspira, an NYC-based non-profit, Maria coordinated the leadership development programs for youth to pursue educational and employment opportunities, as well as social change. She transitioned to being a full-time high school teacher at Humanities Prep, which she saw as “part of a wave of small public schools opening up that were doing things a bit differently.” The school was democratically run and based on consensus decision-making. As a social studies teacher, she coordinated international trips for students to Cuba and France. During this time, she worked on peace-building dialogue programs with Seeds of Peace.
While at TC: Maria “stumbled upon” the department of International and Transcultural Studies in 2002 and was immediately attracted to the International Educational Development program and its concentration in Peace Education. The doctoral program in IED provided Maria with a “broader, more global perspective in [her] training.” She speaks highly of the theoretical knowledge she gained, which allowed her to make meaningful connections between the local and the global. According to Maria, one of the best aspects of her TC experience was the people she met: “The colleagues I’ve met and bonds that I formed helped me become a better scholar.”
After TC: After receiving her Doctorate in Education, Maria obtained a position as Assistant Professor in the Education Department at Vassar College. Working at a small liberal arts college is “the best of many worlds” as Maria is able to coordinate the secondary education program as well as teach in multidisciplinary departments such as international, urban and women’s studies. She also has the opportunity to focus her research and teaching efforts in domestic and international education issues. Maria’s research to date has focused on the small school movement in New York City. She co-edited a book on “critical small schools” which presents empirical case studies of some of the original schools that aimed to “create socially just spaces for NYC youth.” She is now working on a project related to this earlier study, but specifically focusing on schools that are transitioning away from the Regents tests to Project-Based Assessment. Additionally, Maria is working on starting a project that examines immigration and education in Greece. She envisions this project as part of a broader shift in her research agenda on global patterns of migration and schooling and the privatization of education.
Advice for Students: Maria encourages IED/CIE students to “be open to changing your trajectory a little bit—through learning from other people and cultivating a good network of friends and colleagues.” She also recommends that students maintain their relationships with faculty, students, and the program after graduating. Maria has stayed connected through many events, class visits, and publication collaborations with faculty members. Most recently, she won a grant from the British Council and the Social Science Research Council to collaborate with fellow TC alumni and faculty. They conducted a textbook analysis of the depiction of the Middle East in US World History textbooks and wrote an intervening curriculum in response to those findings, which can be found at www.teach-mena.org.
Christine Harris-Van Keuren
Ph.D., Class of 2016
Current Position: Senior Research Scientist, Educational Policy Institute
Before TC: Dr. Harris-Van Keuren was born in Iowa and raised on a horse racing farm outside of Des Moines. After high school, she graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in English Literature with the intent to go on to law school. However, after interviewing attorneys, she discovered that most of them didn’t like their jobs very much and it wouldn’t allow her to make the kind of impact that she wanted. After a period of time “finding herself,” which included consulting with Microsoft, selling diamonds, and booking bands in Seattle during the grunge era, she moved to Vietnam where she researched education to workforce links. It was during this time that she realized that she’d rather work to improve literacy or attendance rates than increase a company’s bottom line. After returning to the United States, she was accepted into the Harvard Graduate School of Education and received a master’s degree in International Education Policy with an emphasis in statistics.
While at TC: Dr. Harris-Van Keuren wrote and published teaching notes and cases for Harvard Business School, was a teaching assistant for Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi, published with the Inter-American Development Bank, and presented on numerous occasions at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) national conferences. Because of her work with Professor Steiner-Khamsi, Dr. Harris-Van Keuren has researched teachers’ salaries in post-Soviet states and the status of the teaching profession globally. This work has been published with USAID and a UNESCO Background Paper for the Global Monitoring Report. Due to her focus in economics, she was selected to attend the inaugural cost analysis training hosted by Henry Levin at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College and the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. This intensive training is designed to enable researchers and evaluators to apply cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis (CEA/BCA) to policy issues.
After TC: While writing her dissertation, Dr. Harris-Van Keuren secured a Senior Research Scientist position with the Educational Policy Institute based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her work focuses on international education and economics issues and she conducts analyses on projects and programs to help inform policy and practice. She is currently working on multiple cost analysis evaluation projects across five different countries and a handful of domestic evaluation projects. She published a second Background Paper for UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report with Iveta Silova and assisted in co-authoring an OECD report on the status of the teaching profession with Carina Omoeva. She served as an adjunct professor for Lehigh University for several years and led master’s level students abroad to collect data in low income countries. Dr. Harris-Van Keuren was recently invited to attend the International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) 2016 in Berlin, Germany and has a few more papers and book chapters due for publication this year. Dr. Harris-Van Keuren currently lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, and a well-loved but spoiled Golden Retriever.
Advice for Students: Dr. Harris-Van Keuren’s advice to TC students is to not become generalists. Students should have a general foundation in international and comparative education but they should then acquire a strong geographical area of expertise, topical focus, and/or methodological specialty. Dr. Harris-Van Keuren also encourages students, especially doctoral students, to join a writing group. She believes that a small and dedicated group is a safe space to try new ideas and help push you toward completion.
Elizabeth Sumida Huaman
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development
Geographical Focus: North and South America
Advisor: Dr. Ofelia García, Dr. Hope Leichter
Previous Graduate Experience: B.A., Dartmouth College; Ed.M., Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Research and Scholarly Interests: Rural and place-based education, Indigenous education and language policy, Indigenous nonformal education (culturally-based and community-based education), Indigenous language revitalization and Native-language teacher training, Indigenous epistemologies and Indigenous research methodologies
"Rethinking Indigenous learning spaces: At the cross-roads of formal and nonformal education in the Americas," co-presenter, Laura A. Valdiviezo (UMass at Amherst), World Indigenous People's Conference on Education (WIPC:E), 2008
"Tuki Allpa: A comparative study of Indigenous ecological traditions and Native language teachings to youth in Huanca and Pueblo Indian communities," Poster Session, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2008
Awards/Grants: AERA/IES Dissertation Grant, Spencer RTG, Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS, Columbia) grant, Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Intriguing faculty, coursework and peers, a network of fast-paced, driven and connected individuals
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development
Advisor: Maria Torres-Guzmán
Geographical Focus: United States, multilingual school age populations
Previous Graduate Experience: M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Bilingual education programs within the US context, educational leadership in the K-12 setting, dual language programs.
Hunt, V. (2006). Book Review: Bilingual Education, From Compensatory to Quality Schooling, 2nd Edition in Language Learner, Spring 2006.
Torres-Guzman, M.; Hunt, V. et al. (2006) Teacher Study Groups: In Search of Teaching Freedom in The New Educator. 2(3), 207-226.
Awards/grants: Spencer Fellow Training Grant for Doctoral Research (2006-2007); Dean’s Award for Excellence in Instruction, Teachers College, CU (Fall 2005).
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The opportunity to collaborate with other students and support and guidance from wonderful professors.
Ed.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Language, Literacy and Technology
Advisor: Jo Anne Kleifgen
Geographical Focus: NYC Schools, Tanzania, the globe via the World Wide Web
Previous Graduate Education: M.A. in International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Language, literacy, technology, English Language Learners, writing, education, peace, www.peacediaries.org, human rights, development, knowledge management, OLAP cubes, discourse analysis, indexing, semantic mapping.
ICT and Development in Tanzania: A Matter of Priorities. Following a full double-blind refereeing process, the World Bank WCCD Scientific Committee accepted my paper for presentation and sponsored my participation at the World Congress on Communication and Development, Rome, Italy (10/2006).
Designing and evaluating peer-mediated CSCL environments for collaborative problem solving and assessment in the middle school classroom. Presented at Tech to Go, Fordham University (4/1/06).
Awards/Grants: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, W.T. Grant Foundation, New York State Department of Education Technology and Learning Grant -- for www.peacediaries.org. W.K. Kellogg Foundation for STEPS to Literacy.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: "The friends I've made."
Ed.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Early Childhood Education Policy
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Geographical Focus: Eastern Europe
Previous Graduate Education: Ed. M., Curriculum and Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Educational policy borrowing and lending; how educational policies are implemented in other countries; the role that INGOs play in the educational transference process. My dissertation focuses on the adaptation of the Head Start program (implemented in Eastern Europe as Step by Step) by OSI.
Awards/Grants: Spencer Grant (2004-2005)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: I have taken advantage of the flexibility that TC offers in working towards my Ed.D. I work part-time and have a two year old (expecting #2 in April). TC has provided me the opportunities to work towards attaining my degree, as well as a great deal of support within the IED cohort.
Ph.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education, Concentration: Political Science
Advisor(s): Dr. Gita Steiner Khamsi (CIE), Dr. Jeff Henig (Political Science) and Dr. Barbara Levy Simon (Social Work)
Geographical Focus: Latin America
Previous Graduate Education:
M.A. in Public Policy in Latin America (Concentration: Problems of Government), University of Oxford, St. Antony's College (UK, 2003) (Supervisor: Professor Alan Angel)
M.A. in Non-Governmental Organizations from the University of San Andres, Di Tella and Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), Buenos Aires, Argentina (2002). (Supervisor: Professor Gabriel Berger)
Research and Scholarly Interests: The role of civil society organizations (CSOs) and international organizations in educational development; the politics of educational reform in Latin America; equity and education; partnerships between corporations, schools and civil society organizations; growth of educational CSOs; tradeoffs between political advocacy and service delivery in educational CSOs. Dissertation title: "The Scaling Up of Educational Civil Society Organizations: The Balance between Service Delivery and Advocacy."
Lafuente, C. (2007) The Scaling Up of Educational Civil Society Organizations. Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University.
Lafuente, C. (2005) Social Entrepreneurs and Education, 8 (1). Editorial Introduction: Why an Issue on Social Entrepreneurs.
Lafuente, C. (2005), "Social Entrepreneurship and Education in Argentina: How are they Changing Education?." Valor Sostenible: Buenos Aires.
Lafuente, C. (2004), "Corporate Social Responsibility and Education in Latin America": Buenos Aires.
Bianco, Lazzaro, Lafuente, et. al (1999), "Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil: Desafios de Gestion y Desarrollo de Capital Social." Fundacion Sophia: Buenos Aires.
Lafuente, C. (2001) "Fundacion Junior Achievement": Bs.As. (Teaching case for UDESA, UTDT and CEDES Program for Civil Society).
Awards/Grants: ILAS Summer Field Research Travel Grant, Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University (2006); Fulbright Scholarship (2003/2005); Teachers College Partners in International Education grant (2003/5); Shell Foundation Grant (United Kingdom, 2002/3); Inter American Development Bank Grant (Corporate Social Responsibility, Miami, 2002)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: "TC gave me the chance to meet so many interesting colleagues and professors. Thanks to TC, I have worked in various projects in the US and abroad, such as participating in the CICE journal, or working with other students to improve a teacher training program in Tajikistan and a Roma educational project in Slovakia. I learn so much from TC's professors and students, most of whom come from all over the world! As well, students and professors have been always so cooperative since the first day. Finally, the program is very flexible and therefore you can focus on your topic of interest. TC is like a big family and I would say it is the perfect environment to study international comparative education."
Antonia D. Mandry
Ed.D., Class of 2012
Current Position: Education Specialist, UNICEF
Before TC: I received my undergraduate degree in English and History from the College of Wooster in 1997. Thereafter, I received my Master of Education in Curriculum Instruction and Educational Psychology from Loyola University Chicago (2001), in addition to a teaching certificate. From 2002 to 2003, I worked as a consultant for a computer software company in Chicago on the National Study of School Evaluation. In 2003, I moved to Turkey to teach 6th and 9th grade, and then university English Prep for 3 years. At the same time, I completed an internship with UNHCR in Turkey.
While at TC: I entered TC in 2007, and completed my coursework, certification exam and specialization exam in 2009. Later that year, I was able to apply some of what I learned in an internship and a consultancy in the Education division of UNESCO in Paris. In 2010, I started my data collection in Istanbul, Turkey where I focused my research on perceptions of human rights of Turkish university students within a framework of Peace Education. During my studies in TC, I particularly benefited from interesting and stimulating courses, scholarly opportunities, guidance from professors and the support of other doctoral and master’s students. My time on campus was one of the most stimulating and interesting times of my academic career.
After TC: Life after TC actually started just before graduation. My final semester of my doctorate was extremely stimulating. At the same time I was finalizing my dissertation for the defense, I was also writing articles and book chapters for publication and beginning my job search. In the same week that I defended my dissertation, I had an interview for a job with UNICEF in Chad. Two weeks later while I was in Puerto Rico presenting my research at CIES, I received the job offer for UNICEF. Soon after, I attended my TC graduation ceremony and my 15 year undergraduate reunion and two days later ended up on a plane for Chad to start my new position with UNICEF. Since then I have remained working with UNICEF and am currently working in the education section of UNICEF Turkey in Ankara, focusing on teacher training and curriculum and standards for the Turkish education system. With more than 2.9 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, the challenge is to ensure that the education system of Turkey is inclusive for all students.
Advice for Students: My advice for students is four-fold: 1) Rely on your graduate student network in every way (emotionally, professionally, and academically). 2) Maximize your course load if possible while pursuing consultancies (in order to be able to balance work and your studies) because completing your degree with several relevant work experiences under your belt is an immeasurable benefit; 3) Pursue funding as if it were another course! and 4) Throughout your studies, keep your eye on your professional goals and tailor your doctoral experience to that end.
Ed.D., Class of 2005
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in nternational Educational Development, Concentration: Bilingual/Bicultural Education
Advisor: Dr. Ofelia García
Dissertation Title: When the Test is What Counts: How High-Stakes Testing Affects Language Policy and the Education of English LanguageLearners in High School
Current Position: I am an Assistant Professor of Linguistics, and currently hold a joint position at the CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College. At Queens College, I teach courses about pedagogy, practices and policy in the education of English learners. I am also a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in an Urban Society of the CUNY Graduate Center, where I engage in research about language minority students in publics schools (http://web.gc.cuny.edu/Linguistics/people/menken/index.html).
Something Special About Your TC Experience: The things that immediately come to mind are:
- Individualized course of study with few required courses -- this flexibility was wonderful as my interests straddle the worlds of international education, bilingual education, and U.S. public education reforms;
- Excellent dissertation committee and sponsor -- there are many outstanding professors at TC; and,
- Other students in the department -- great, supportive, collegial, and knowledgeable.
Sung Bin (Bina) Moon
Ph.D., Class of 2008
Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education, Concentration: Economics of Education
Advisor: Dr. Francisco Rivera-Batiz
Geographical Focus: Asia
Previous Graduate Education: Ed.M., International Education Policy, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Research and Scholarly Interests: Asian population of the United States; immigrants and education; race and ethnicity in the labor market; education policy; college choice; community colleges; cost-effectiveness analysis.
Recent Presentation(s): A comparative study of transfer students and native university students on transfer effects on Bachelor's degree attainment rate, CIES annual meeting, Stanford University (2005).
Awards/Grants: Minority Scholarship from Teachers College (2004-2005)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: "I'm grateful to my fellow graduate students and advisors for their friendship, encouragement, advice, and prayers. Their support immeasurably enriched my life at TC and helped me to be more focused in my doctoral studies, especially in very difficult times."
Sina McCants Mossayeb
Ph.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education
Advisors: Dr. Gita Steiner Khamsi, Charles Tilly, Mirjam Kuenkler (Princeton University)
Geographical Focus: Middle East
Previous Graduate Education: M.A., Near Eastern Studies, University of Arizona
Research and Scholarly Interests: Contentious politics of education equity, minority education, social movement theories in relation to educational movements, educational equity, globalization and education, education policy
Co-Author with R. Shirazi. "Education and Emigration: The case of the Iranian-American community," CICE 9(1) 2006
"Cosmetic Nationalism: The Pahlavi Dynasty," Zeitun: A Journal for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, 1 (2002)
"Educational Ethnocide: extreme repressive education policy, its intent and impact" (seminar on political identities, Columbia University)
Awards/Grants: Departmental Scholarship from Teachers College (2006-2007); Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer 2006 Scholarship (offered); Minority Student Scholarship from Teachers College (2005-2006)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: "In addition to its rich history in comparative educational studies, Teachers College has maintained a receptive and encouraging environment for learning. The faculty here are exceptionally supportive and interaction, a trait which any school of merit manifests."
Ph.D., Class of 1999
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative International Education and Economics of Education, Concentration: Economics of Education, Education Finance, Education Policy and Planning
Advisor(s): Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Thomas Bailey
Dissertation Title: Education Policies and Economic Efficiency: The Case of Indonesia
Previous Graduate Education:
M.Phil., Comparative International Education and Economics of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University (1997)
M.A., Economics of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University (1997)
Ed.M., Comparative International Education and Economics of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University (1995)
M.A. International Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco School of Education (1993)
Current Position: My current position is Full Professor in the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies at Kobe University, Japan. I also serve as Advisor to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and Consultant to UNESCO and World Bank (where I was formerly an Education Economist).
Something Special About Your TC Experience: For me, TC embodies diversity and comprehensiveness in its range of programs. I was very fortunate to have studied under the pupilage of academic advisors who were extremely supportive when I was working on my doctoral studies, especially during my dissertation process.
Ph.D., Class of 2010
Program: Comparative and International Education, concentration in Political Science
Advisor: Fran Vavrus
Geographical Focus: Conflict/post-conflict areas, specifically southern Sudan
Previous Graduate Education: M.Phil., CIE/Political Science, Columbia University; M.A., IED, Teachers College, Columbia University; M.A., Humanities, University of Chicago
Research and Scholarly Interests: The political impact of humanitarian aid; democracy, human rights, and development; research methods in conflict and crisis situations.
Annan, J., and Pagen, C. (2005, November). A local approach to peace in Torit, South Sudan. Forced Migration Review, 24. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre.
Pagen, C. (forthcoming in 2008). Implications of associations between INGOs and academic researchers: Reflections from southern Sudan. Paper accepted for workshop entitled Field Research and Ethics in Post-Conflict Environments. Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York, NY.
Pagen, C. (forthcoming in 2008). Choices after conflict: Aid policy, programming, and political attitudes in southern Sudan. Presentation in panel entitled Academic Visions of Social Movements and Law. African Studies Association, Chicago, IL.
Pagen, C. (2008). Learning in conflict: Aid policy, programming, and political attitudes in southern Sudan. Presentation in panel entitled Rethinking Education: Learning after Civil War in Northern and Southern Sudan. Comparative and International Education Society conference, New York, NY.
Pagen, C. (2005). Education during humanitarian crises: A course proposal for graduate study. Unpublished Masters Thesis. Teachers College, Columbia University.
Pagen, C. (2004). Towards freedom: Educational policy reform in Kazakhstan. Presentation. International Conference on Education Practice, Policy & Law. New Haven, CT.
Pagen, C. (2004). Arm of the government? Security and civilian staff in conflict and post-conflict situations. In Arnstein, T., Pagen, C., and Zakharia, Z. (Eds.), Education in emergencies and post-conflict situations: Problems, responses, and possibilities. New York: Society for International Education.
Pagen, C. (2002). Coexistence education: Securing the future. The Coexistence Chronicle, 2(2).
Awards/Grants: Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, Arabic (2006-2007); Spencer Foundation Research Training Grant, Dissertation Fellowship (2007); National Security Education Program, David L. Boren Fellowship (2006-2008); Teachers College Policy Research Fellowship (2007-2008); CIES New Scholars Workshop (2008)
Ed.D, Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: International Educational Policy
Advisor: Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Geographical Focus: Middle East
Previous Graduate Education: M.A., International and Community Development, Deakin University, Australia
Research and Scholarly Interests: Boys education and the issues and challenges surrounding this, in particular the situation for boys in the Middle East and the impact of the West on the policy choices made by governments with respect to gender and education.
Recent Presentation: "Boys Education in the United Arab Emirates" presentation in Comparative Education class
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Meeting wonderful people from all around the world and having the opportunity to take so many interesting classes with such a wide array of excellent professors.
Ph.D., Class of 2009
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education, Concentation: Political Science
Geographical focus: Jordan, Iran, Middle East
Advisors: Dr. Ofelia García and Charles Tilly
Previous Graduate Experience: M.A., Comparative and International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: Educational Issues in the Middle East; Political Identity Formation; Politicization of Humanitarian Assistance; Diaspora Communities; Participatory Politics; Schools as Public Space; Contemporary Iranian Politics; Political Reform in the Middle East; Social Movements; Immigration and Education.
Shirazi, R. (2007). The pen, sword, and blindfold: US support for Islamic Education in Afghanistan from World War II to Post-Taliban Reconstruction. The New Centennial Review Volume 7, Issue 2.Michigan State University Press. (forthcoming)
Shirazi, R. (2007). Chapter 4-Afghanistan in Gupta, A. Ed. “Going to School in South Asia: The Global School Room”, Volume 4 in Semel, S. and Sadovnik, A. Eds. Schooling Around the World Series. Greenwood Press.
Shirazi, R. & Mossayeb, S. (2006). Education and emigration: the case of the Iranian-American community. Current Issues in Comparative Education: 9:1. http://www.tc.columbia.edu/cice
Shirazi, R. (2006, March). Pluralism of Identities, Exclusion, or National Unity? A Comparison of Muslim Communities and State Education in France and Germany. Conference Paper. Steinhardt School of Education. New York University. New York, NY. http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/international/states/shirazi.pdf
Shirazi, R. (2007, April).Going to School In South Asia: The Global School Room. Ed. Amita Gupta. Greenwood Press. 2007. Book Talk. Teachers College, Columbia University. New York.
Shirazi, R. (2006, December). Education and emigration: The case of the Iranian-American Community. Invited Presentation on article in issue dedicated to immigration and education. Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE): Journal Launch for Volume 9, Issue 1. Teachers College, Columbia University New York.
Shirazi, R. (2005, October). Islamic Education in Afghanistan: Revisiting America’s Role. Paper Presented at the 29eme Colloque International de l’AFEC: Éducation, Religion, Laicité. Association Francophone d’Éducation Comparée (AFEC). Paris, France.
Shirazi, R. (2005, March). Iranians and the Persian Speaking Community in New York: A Socio-Linguistic Survey. Paper Presented at the 2nd Annual Conference on the Iranian Diaspora organized by Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) at College Park, MD.
Awards/Grants: Spencer Dissertation Research Training Grant (2007-2008); Teachers College OPR Fellowship (2007-2008); Teachers College Minority Scholarship (2005-2006); Elihu Rose Fellowship (2004-2005).
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Teachers College attracts brilliant and dynamic students and faculty. As part of the community, we supplement learning in classes with access to leading scholars, policy makers, and world leaders. There is a spirit of camaraderie and support among students that eases the occasionally turbulent passage through graduate school.
Ed.D., Class of 2011
Program: International Educational Development, concentration in African Education
Advisor: Dr. Monisha Bajaj
Geographical focus: Africa
Previous Graduate Experience: M.A. in Education Policy from the University of California at Davis.
Research and Scholarly Interests: Education in emergencies and post-conflict reconstruction, international humanitarian issues, peace education, HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, secondary education.
Smiley, A. “Issues in African Education: Case Studies from Emergency Contexts.” Lecture given to B.Ed. Honors students in Educational Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (April 2010).
Smiley, A. & Letsatsi, S. “Schooling for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Lesotho’s Secondary Education Bursary Scheme.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern African Comparative and Historical Education Society, Stellenbosch, South Africa. (November 2009).
Smiley, A. “Schooling for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Evaluating the Implementation of Lesotho’s Secondary Education Bursary Scheme.” Paper Presented at the Annual Comparative and International Education Society Meeting, Charleston, SC. (March 2009).
Smiley, A. “Inclusive Education as a Quality Reform: New Models of Care and Support in African Schools.” Paper Presented at the Student Symposium on African Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. (February 2009).
Smiley, A. “Women’s Literacy in Southern Sudan: Examining the Links Between Discourse and Practice.” Paper Presented at the Annual Comparative and International Education Society Meeting, Teachers College, New York. (March 2008).
Awards/Grants: U.S. Student Fulbright for study in Lesotho (2009-2010); Teachers College Office of Policy and Research Fellowship (2009-2010); Teachers College President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity (2009)
Something Special About Your TC Experience: Interning at the International Rescue Committee in 2007 in their refugee resettlement office was a great way to get involved with educational issues in New York. I've also had the opportunity to work on a large-scale UNICEF study led by TC faculty. Most importantly, a great community of students and faculty make TC a very supportive and dynamic environment for the study of international educational development.
Ed.D., Class of 2010
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Education in International Educational Development, Concentration: Finance & Planning
Advisor: Henry Levin
Geographical Focus: Africa, with a special focus on Tanzania
Previous Graduate Education: M.B.A., International Business, Bentley Graduate School of Business; Ed.M., International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research and Scholarly Interests: The purpose of my research is first to identify the most significant barriers of entry to secondary school that Tanzanian families face in enrolling their children, including both financial and non-financial variables that may impact access, and second, to evaluate how current educational policy in Tanzania is addressing these barriers and impacting enrollment growth.
Tonini, D. (Summer 2010, Forthcoming). The Impact of Access Investments on Quality: Evaluating Costs and Constituencies in Tanzania. Society for International Education, 7.
Tonini, D. (June 2, 2010). Don't Whitewash History. Letter to the Editor, The Lowell Sun.
Tonini, D. (May 2010). At the Intersection of Indigenous Knowledge and
Underrepresentation: Spotlight on the work of Lesley Graybeal. CIES Perspectives, 153.
Tonini, D. (March 2010). The Wide Divide between Policies and Impacts:
Examining Influences on Policy Implementation in Tanzania. Paper presented at the 54th Annual CIES Conference. Chicago, Illinois.
Tonini, D. (January 2010). Perspectives of Paradigms ? A Personal Exploration of Mixed Methods. CIES Perspectives, 152.
Tonini, D. (July 2009). Secondary Schooling in Tanzania: Boon or Burden? Examining Government Policy Influence over Parental Choice in Education. Paper presented at the Summer Institute for the Languages of the Muslim World Speaker Series. Champaign, Illinois.
Tonini, D. (March 2009). The Growing Focus on Secondary Education: Cases and Comparative Studies. Panel Chair at the 53rd Annual CIES Conference. Charleston, South Carolina.
Tonini, D. (March 2009). The Secondary Education Development Plan in Tanzania: International Influences, Policy Choices and Impacts. Paper presented at the 53rd Annual CIES Conference. Charleston, South Carolina.
Tonini, D. (February, 2009). Policy Choices and Impacts: The Secondary Education Development Plan in Tanzania. Poster presented at the Student Symposium on African Education. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.
Tonini, D. (August 2008). Secondary Education Development Plan: Policy Choices and Impacts. Paper presented at the MS-Training Center for Development Cooperation, Arusha, Tanzania.
Tonini, D. (March 2008). Challenges of Education for Tanzanian Youth. Panel Chair at the 52nd Annual CIES Conference. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (March 2008). The Wide Divide between Primary and Secondary Education in Tanzania: Policy Choices and Impacts. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual CIES Conference. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (March 2008). The Wide Divide between Primary and Secondary Education in Tanzania: Policy Choices and Impacts. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Graduate Research Conference. Boston University, Boston, MA.
Tonini, D. (October 2007). The Wide Divide between Primary & Secondary Education in Tanzania: Do Development Policies Help Promote Human Rights to Education, or Hinder Them? Paper presented at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting. New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (March 2007). The Wide Divide between Primary and Secondary Education in Tanzania: A Look at the Intersection of International Educational Policy with Domestic Educational Problems. Paper presented at Beyond Borders: Global Change and Education in Action. New York University, New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (March 2007). Critical Awareness and Discourse Analysis: An Analysis of Tanzania's Secondary Education Development Plan. Paper presented at the Education, Politics and Social Policy Conference. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (February 2007). The Wide Divide between Primary and Secondary Education: Tanzania's Other Great Rift Valley. Paper presented at the 51st Annual CIES Conference. University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.
Tonini, D. (March 2006). To Establish School Fees, or to Abolish School Fees? Provision and Poverty Reduction. Paper presented at the 50th Annual CIES Conference. University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI.
Tonini, D. (May 2005). The Abuja Agreement: Policy or Pretext? A Program of "Land Reform" in Zimbabwe. Paper presented at the Human Rights in Africa: Policy, Pedagogy & Practice Public Symposium. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Tonini, D. (Fall 2005). The Breadbasket Goes Empty: Zimbabwe - A Country in Crisis. In D. Burde, (Ed.) Education in Emergencies and Post-Conflict Situations: Problems, Responses and Possibilities, Vol. 2 (pp. 97-109). New York: Society for International Education, Teachers College.
Available at: http://www.columbia.edu/~dsb33/links.htm
Awards/Grants: The Underrepresented Radical, Ethnic and Ability Groups Travel Grant (March 2010); Teachers College, Columbia University Departmental Scholarship (Fall 2009); Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Summer 2009); Betty Fairfax Professional Development Fund Grant (Spring 2009); NSEP/Boren Fellowship for Academic Research (January 2008-September 2008); Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Fall Semester 2007); Betty Fairfax Professional Development Fund Grant (Fall 2007); Dean's Grant for Student Research (School Year 2007/2008); Office of Policy and Research Fellowship (School Year 2007/2008); Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Fellowship, Swahili Studies in Tanzania (Summer 2007); Comparative and International Education Society's New Scholars Travel Grant (Spring 2007); Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (School Year 2006/2007); Teachers College Departmental Scholarship (School Year 2006/2007); Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Summer 2006); Betty Fairfax Professional Development Fund Grant (Spring 2006).
Something Special About Your TC Experience: A highlight of my TC experience was Dr. Vavrus' 2005 policy class in Tanzania, where I conducted ethnographic field research on the neoliberal policy impact on school fees, and assessed the effects on educational access.
Ed.D., Class of 2006
Degree Obtained: Doctor of Edcuation in International Educational Development, Concentration: Policy Studies
Advisors: Dr. Lesley Bartlett and Dr. Ofelia García
Dissertation Title: The Construction of Interculturality: An Ethnography of Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices in Peruvian Quechua Schools
Current Position: I am an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I teach graduate and undergraduate students in the concentrations of language, literacy, and culture, and bilingual and multicultural education. My courses focus on ethnographic research in educational settings, multicultural policy and pedagogy with an emphasis on underrepresented populations.
Something Special About Your TC Experience: My advisors and peers in the program were fundamental to my experience and development as a scholar. The extraordinary and dedicated faculty in ITS allowed flexibility in the directions that my coursework and dissertation work took. I also found fundamental support among other students who had great area expertise and knowledge.
Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams
Ed.D., Class of 2012
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Africana Studies & Education, Gettysburg College, PA & Visiting Scholar (2015- 2016), AC4, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Before TC: Hakim was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago (TT). Growing up in a very poor community, he knew, from young, that he wanted to make a difference. He attended Morehouse College (Atlanta) and St. Francis College (Brooklyn), where he received a Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in Psychology. There he received a Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship which would pay for the rest of Bachelor’s and his first master’s degree at TC. He started working in after-school programs while in undergrad and would eventually end up directing them. He had been consuming all he could find about Gandhi and one day literally googled the words “education” and “peace”, and stumbled across the peace education program at TC; he knew right away that that was his calling.
While at TC: Receiving his doctorate at TC was a dream of his. The Bill Gates Scholarship would have paid fully for the doctoral studies, but Hakim was turned down 3 times from various doctoral programs at TC. In the meantime, he pursued an MA in International Educational Development (focus: Peace Education) and an M.Ed. in Comparative and International Education (focus: philosophy of education). After a third failed attempt at applying to doctoral programs, Hakim returned to directing after-school programs. It was when Dr. Bajaj was hired to run the peace education program, that she encouraged him to reapply. He got accepted to the Ed.D. program in IED (peace education) and hasn’t slowed down since. He received several tuition grants and was an Arthur Zankel Fellow, and supervised fellowship programs at the Advanced Consortium for Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) at the Earth Institute for 2 years after conducting 7 months of field research on school violence in Trinidad.
After TC: While writing his dissertation, Hakim secured a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Education at Gettysburg College. It was the only teaching job to which he had applied because it was a perfect fit. He later joined the Globalization Studies and Public Policy programs there as well. Working at a liberal arts college has been a dream come true and Hakim is having the time of his life. Hakim has taught peace pedagogy in Austria and practica in conflict resolution and mediation at TC. He is a reviewer for three journals: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Globalisation, Societies & Education, and Action, Criticism, and Theory in Music Education. He was elected to serve a two-year term as Co-chair of the CIES peace education SIG and is now a Visiting Scholar at AC4 where he spends his time writing, and planning a seven-month critical youth participatory action research project in Trinidad. Hakim is founder of Trinbago ChangeMakers, a small group of Trinbagonians which funds two contests at the secondary school in Trinidad where Hakim conducts his research, and he’s determined to help foster an educational revolution in TT.
Advice for Students: Hakim says “TC is where I met some of the smartest and big-hearted people. I cultivated relationships with faculty and other students there that extend to this very day. Students should become involved while at TC because while I had a great time at TC, it’s not perfect and as students, we should leave our imprint on that place of considerable influence.” Hakim encourages students to become research and teaching assistants, to make linkages with faculty, institutes etc. beyond TC because Columbia has so many resources. “This advice may seem hackneyed but don’t shy away from dreaming big and staying persistent in the face of daunting hindrances. Our world has many problems yes and we should continually be critiquing the development field, but in pushing the envelope, be bold, build coalitions and work so hard that we may one day become obsolete as developmentalists! I may be reached at email@example.com, if you wish to stay in touch or discuss anything mentioned above."
Victor Llanque Zonta
PhD, Comparative and International Education
Advisor: Regina Cortina
Previous graduate school education: M.A. in Social Studies Education
Research and scholarly interests: Intercultural and Bilingual Education, Identity Politics, Civic Education, Latin America