Samantha M. Lopez (’19)
Corporate Recruiter & K-College Tutor
Samantha enrolled in the EDFN program looking to pursue a career in teaching K-12, but ultimately decided to take a Higher Education route. During her time in the program, she shares that she developed a community with her peers and had a familial experience. She states: “All of us were there to support each other in our studies and surviving grad school. I never felt as if I were "alone" because I had peers and professors who were there to help me succeed in coursework and research.”
One piece of advice Samantha has for prospective students is to engage in conversations with peers and staff! Samantha is looking to apply to Ph.D programs in higher education in the near future.
Joel Lovos (’19) – they/them
Joel joined EDFN after being in the Credential Program and taking a required EDFN 4200 course which touched on race, gender, sexuality and how students experience discrimination. This led them to take another EDFN course, and shortly after they applied to the program. When speaking on the program, Joel shared that “the classes that really pushed me to think more critically and that required more time on my end to understand theories and concepts and how they can be applied to my educational practice, were the classes that I found most rewarding. Mostly because the professors genuinely believed in my ability to think and write. Their belief in me, along with providing me with the tools to succeed in their classes, made me believe in myself as a thinker, educator, and researcher.”
One piece of advice Joel has for prospective students is to take it seriously, reflect on yourself and your experiences, and be ready to have tough conversations. Also, be ready to read, think, write, and cycle through this process continuously. Joel plans to apply to a Ph.D program in Education at UC Santa Cruz for Fall 2021.
Alexandria Vickery (’20)
Community Schools Manager
Prior to joining the EDFN program, Alexandria worked in several educational institutions, including as a public school teacher. She saw several of her students have needs that were chronically unmet and saw herself as ill-equipped to help support them in a way that would be materially meaningful. She shares, “I wanted an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and socially aware space to do the work of reimagining the public school system, and the Educational Foundations program offered an opportunity to focus on the social, psychological, and institutional bases of the public school system.”
The program provided her fluidity to learn about the functioning of the modern, urban, public school system, as well as lots of room and encouragement to bring her full self, beliefs, and experiences. “In the program, I was able to weave together diverse interests: decolonial approaches to curriculum development, implementation of anti-racist educational practices, and development of strengths-based, trauma-informed teaching strategies.t was particularly valuable that I was able to do this alongside peers and experts in the field, while working in schools and with students, bringing theory to practice and practice to theory. By directly addressing the inequality of opportunity within culturally, linguistically, and ability-diverse contexts of urban schooling, EDFN offered an opportunity for me to strengthen my role as a responsive educator and be an accountable part of a movement towards an education system that truly cares for its constituents.”
One piece of advice Alexandria has for prospective students is that if what you’ve learned about this program resonates, go for it, and you will find community in your efforts. Alexandria hopes to become a Program Director working in public schools, advancing a Community School model broadly within a local school district.