As a Scandling fellow, I am always thankful to the Warner School and to Michael E. Scandling and his family for making this opportunity possible for students like me. The Warner School is for me because of fit, support, and mission.
Truthfully, I cannot see myself obtaining my doctoral education elsewhere. This question would have been more difficult for me to answer had I been asked this question during the first year of my studies. Like many newly admitted students, I spent my first-year acclimating to the environment, including research and academic expectation. Many students, from all different disciplines (Teaching and Curriculum, Higher Education, Counseling, Human Development) and phases (M.A., Ph. D., Ed. D), were skilled in their knowledge of practice, policy, and theory, which I found impressive. They pushed me to reflect on my future contributions and fit.
At the start of my program, I had the intention of working on a research project already developed by a professor. I figured that it would save me from any confusion. No, it is not what you are thinking so get that out of your mind! I have not met a single lazy student at Warner and I do not intend to become the first. By “confusion” I am referring to the trajectory of research idea and keeping up with the consistency in which the literature/theory/methods have been developed. This is important because researchers and students must present their ideas with an interpretation that is novel, yet reflects the current trend of the field’s development and interpretation of it.
However, as I am developing my dissertation proposal, I am figuring out my “fit” within Warner rather quickly. I am currently attempting to develop my own theoretical framework by synthesizing the literature across curriculum studies, higher education, and human development. Do I “fit” with the teaching, curriculum, and change department? How about higher education? Or, human development? I am not sure. I am inclined to share that I “fit” with all three disciplines, despite that my research interest is college access and mainly associates with higher education. Still, my advisor is in the Teaching, Curriculum, and Change department, and I consult professors from all three disciplines as I continue to develop my ideas.
But in looking back, again, to my first two-years, Warner was pivotal in how I shaped my research interest. I was intentionally assisted by professors to learn how to teach by first being a teaching assistant in their courses where I even had the chance to lead a few sessions. The entire time, I was also a research assistant for many groups (Science STARS and Freedom Market). In both groups, the professors and more seasoned graduate students helped me to acclimate to research, conference presentation, and to the component of “giving back” to the community, which is particularly a mission of Warner. At Warner, we work WITH and alongside the community.
Warner is attentive to the growth and concern of all its students. It is not only my advisor and professors who I interact with. Dr. Raffaella Borasi, frequently asks me directly what new experiences am I seeking and how can certain opportunities benefit my growth as a scholar and future faculty member in training. In addition, there are frequent surveys for the administration to note concerns of student, such as a recent survey on diversity at Warner. This is important to me because diversity at Warner is one of the reasons why I selected to attend Warner. I also appreciate the series of lectures that are offered to students by renown faculty from other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. There are unlimited opportunities here at Warner.