ph.d. in higher education class of 2011
Can you talk a bit about your time at Boston College?
I was a part-time doctoral student at Boston College while working full time in the Office of AHANA Student Programs at BC. After taking a great elective course on Academic Professions by Dr. Altbach and being urged forward by my colleague Siu Ming Luie '10, I took the leap and applied. I really liked the small, friendly, and accessible faculty in the program. I always felt like there was support for someone like me. I was never made to feel like an outsider despite NOT being full time. The evening courses helped me feel like I was able to be a student and do my administrative day job without making too many sacrifices of excellence in either realm.
Can you speak about your current position and the work that you do?
In October 2011, I started as the first Director of the Leland Scholars Program at Stanford University. This new initiative seeks to build a supportive structure for students studying in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. We are creating a three-week summer experience that bridges these scholars into their freshman year with bolstered academic skills, confidence, a community of peers, and a greater sense that they can call Stanford, "home." I have the incredible privilege of creating this program, selecting the students, designing a comprehensive support system, and assessing learning outcomes. It's incredibly engaging and rewarding work!
What was your career path before attending BC?
Before Boston College I had spent several years in a variety of educational roles: campus ministry, residential education, teaching, and financial aid. I took the job in spring of 2005 working with AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American) students and running quality programs aimed at supporting the undergraduate experience for this population. As a result of this wide variety of roles, I was pretty sure of my path in higher education and knew that the doctorate would help me take the next step towards a better understanding of my chosen profession.
How did your time in the program help shape your career, goals, and perspective on higher education? What were your favorite aspects of your time in the Lynch School?
Two courses stick out in my mind: the Philosophy of Education -- taught by Ana Martinez and Student Development Theory - taught by Dr. Karen Arnold. These two courses are the ones I keep coming back to year after year in my work as a higher education administrator. As I meet with students in various stages of maturity and development, I am reminded of Kohlberg, Perry, and a whole host of theories that undergird my worldview in creating educational programs that serve students holistically. The overview of educational philosophy has kept me grounded all these years in the most basic questions of "what is education for?" and "who gets to decide?” These were the questions of Ana's course, and I find myself coming back to them over and over again. Having my scholarly faculties bolstered by these experiences have, no doubt, contributed significantly to where I ended up.
My favorite aspect, though, has to be the relationships I formed with my advisors and my cohort of doctoral students. Without the support of my advisor, Karen Arnold and my cohort of students, I never would have kept up the energy, motivation, and passion to complete the program. To this day I remain connected to these friendships and colleagues -- and we will be each other's cheerleaders in life and career in the years to come. I can't say enough of how Dr. Arnold, Dr. Liem, Dr. Rowan-Kenyon, and my cohort of Sarah, Joe, Julie, David made me a better writer, thinking, and scholar of the field. Particularly, I am grateful to my dissertation faculty who were never the stereotypical "stuffy professors" who rolled their eyes and expected you to understand everything instantly. They were critical and discerning, while being patient and supportive.
What were the things you remember most fondly about living in the Boston area?
Having spent ten years in Boston, it is hard to summarize all the ways in which I loved my time there. But a condensed list includes: Fenway Park, the first snowfall of the year (usually in October), summer nights, the Charles River, Fourth of July fireworks, my close church community -- Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, Rod Dee Thai (restaurant), and a competent public transportation system.