Candace Walkington

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Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning, Southern Methodist University


Ph.D. in Mathematics Education, 2010


Being part of the graduate program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction was a great experience.  As a doctoral student, I not only was able to collaborate on nationally-impactful research grants, I was able to produce my own research program with the support of my mentors and colleagues at UT. I received a grant that funded my dissertation, and the study I carried out has received national attention. My doctoral advisor was a wonderful role model and colleague, and supported me in learning to see myself as a professional in education. I also got to work with other faculty in multi-disciplinary contexts, and secured lasting collaborations that continue years after I’ve finished my doctoral work. Finally, I spent a lot of time developing my teaching by working with courses for pre-service teachers, and doing outreach in the community by mentoring in STEM after-school clubs.

Why UT?

I came from a mathematics program in a College of Natural Sciences with a strong desire to make a difference in education. I was attracted to the department because of its focus on issues of equity and social justice, and because of the high caliber of educational research that was happening at UT.

Life After UT

My Ph.D. from UT Austin has helped me to secure an amazing and rewarding career as a tenure-line professor at Southern Methodist University. Both the research and teaching experience I gained at UT allowed me to be competitive on the national job market in mathematics education, and make a strong impression on potential employers.

Advice for Students

My advice to current and prospective students is this: If you want to be part of the national conversations and movements surrounding issues in education, stay committed to your work. There were many, many times during my doctoral program that I faced setbacks, and doctoral-level work is both dynamic and challenging. What I believe separates those that succeed from those who don’t is having the tenacity to keep pursuing your research and professional goals in the face of these obstacles, and to always remember the passion that first brought you into this field. As educational researchers, we are truly in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of many, and to use the foundation we get at UT to “change the world.”