M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2015
Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2019
In August 2014, I moved halfway across the country from North Carolina to Austin to begin the Master’s program at UT. I had been working for 5 years in bilingual education in the contexts of Paraguay and North Carolina and had come to the point in my teaching career where I really wanted to sharpen my practice. In coming to UT, I hoped to learn about best instructional practices and program implementation approaches for two-way dual language classrooms, particularly for African American students, as this had been the demographics of my experience in North Carolina. As I moved throughout what ended up being a transformative journey in the Master’s program, my interests in social justice-oriented education and my conscience for educational equity, first awakened in my teacher education program at UNC-Chapel Hill, were piqued yet again. I found my coursework to be thrilling, my projects to be impactful, and my professors and colleagues to be inspiring. I have been so fulfilled by my choice to study at UT, and I am excited to share that I have now decided to continue into the doctoral program.
During my application process, I was accepted to a handful of top-ranked education programs located in different cities across the country and was faced with a very difficult decision. Once I had narrowed my choices to two programs, I visited Austin, saw the campus, and met with Dr. Palmer. I came to see that the UT design was better fit than the other program’s to meet my graduate study interests as a practicing teacher dedicated to social justice. While I was not completely in love with the city of Austin, I quickly felt at home on the UT campus and felt confident that my graduate work would be enough to sustain me. Now after a year and a half, my graduate studies continue to enthrall me, and as for Austin, I have to say, it’s growing on me.
Life After UT
Halfway through writing my thesis and my last semester in the Master’s program, I began entertaining the idea of continuing into the Ph.D. program. The personal and professional connections I had made while in the Master’s program provided me with many opportunities for continuation and stability, both of which were tempting. Through my Master’s thesis and a collaborative research article I worked on with a doctoral student, I began to break ground on the topic of African Americans in bilingual education. I now feel a strong interest and responsibility to this area of research, as well as to one of my community partners and the local school districts, and I hope to build upon this work in the doctoral program.
Advice for Students
My advice for incoming students is to know your own goals and expectations for your graduate work and to be upfront about them. From the beginning, I have been known to faculty and to my fellow graduate students for specific experiences and interests I’ve had, and it has informed them to be able to connect me to fitting opportunities and simultaneously allowed me to tailor the program to align with my goals.