Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2015
I began my Ph.D. in the fall of 2010. I had been living in Guadalajara, Mexico for the previous five years and as I started the program I experienced a form of double culture shock: adjusting back to the U.S. culture and sense of time, and I was figuring out how to read four books a week and still sleep! Fortunately, I experienced strong mentorship from the very start of the program. I also quickly made friendships with fellow doctoral students. I still lean on these advisors and colleagues for support.
One of the best experiences I had while at UT Austin was collaborating on an ethnographic research project exploring dual language bilingual education program implementation. Over the course of three years, I worked with fellow doctoral students, faculty members, as well as faculty from other Universities. This research led to my dissertation research, multiple publications and was invaluable experience in my development as an academic.
UT Austin was an obvious choice for me because it was the perfect location to pursue my research agenda in bilingual education. Not only is UT Austin one of the best education schools in the country, it is one of the few universities with a program area specifically targeting bilingual/bicultural education.
Life After UT
I graduated in May 2015 and the first thing I did was go on a long trip to Mexico and Peru. I took advantage of the break because it would not last long. I accepted a tenure-track position at The University of Texas at San Antonio to start in the fall. I am currently thrilled to be a Roadrunner (sorry Bevo). While the transition from doctoral student to professor had its hiccups (who are you calling Dr.?), I felt prepared academically from my training at UT Austin. I am deeply grateful to all of the professors, teachers, colleagues, and students who I learned from along the way.
Advice for Students
A doctoral program is a large commitment and a journey. What makes it sustainable is taking breaks when you can. While at times it may feel that you absolutely must work over the holiday break- that’s not true. Trust me, the work will be there when you get back. I attended a talk during my time at UT Austin by Sonia Nieto and I will pass on her advice: A true social justice educator takes care of oneself and his or her life outside of education.