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Lynch School of Education

Swati Mehta

curriculum & instruction doctoral program

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Academic Background & Professional Experiences

I received my Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from the University of Georgia in 1999 and my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Language, Literacy, and Youth Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2001. Prior to coming to Boston College in 2005, I taught fifth grade in a small charter school in the urban area of Chicago whose was to serve the needs of immigrant families and their children. Beyond this experience, I spent time in classrooms in Dallas, TX, New York City, NY, Geelong, Australia, and Athens, GA.

In the Spring of 2005, I was awarded a generous gift from Boston College, the Diversity Fellowship, to pursue my doctoral studies. The quality of the faculty at Boston College as well as the fellowship, lead to me to choose the Lynch School.

Research & Practice Opportunities

From the moment I entered Boston College, I immersed myself in research projects related to immigrant students through the work of faculty members in our department. This included research on the topic of newly arrived immigrant students and the topic of developing professional development for teachers of immigrant students. During my second year of studies, I set off on an independent path that included pursuing a more international global perspective on problems in education, obtaining certification through the Center for International Human Rights and Social Justice, visiting Uganda with a professor from the Department of Social Work, and engaging in independent study in Pune, India through the direction of a professor in higher education. In addition, I stayed actively involved in collaborative research with teachers and students at a local immigrant high school and co-taught a graduate level course focused on teaching English language learner students. During my third and fourth years of study, I taught an undergraduate course on the teaching of language arts. Most recently, I am a student member of the Educational Policy Committee and Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Valuable Doctoral Experiences

The doctoral experiences that most resonate with me are those experiences that pushed me to intersect critical theories of language and culture with the lived day to day contexts of young people and teachers. These include a range of experiences, including spending time with youth in international out-of-school spaces and spending time with youth in local Boston spaces. In addition to working with youth, I have collaborated with Boston Public School teachers on professional development and research on school practices.

It is when I navigate the 'texts' of graduate school life with the 'texts' of nondominant communities that I see the vision for my place in this larger field of work. Together these experiences show me in critical ways how misunderstood nondominant communities are in society, and how my future work as an activist scholar will involve research, teaching, and service towards this end.

Future Aspirations

I hope to become a scholar-activist professor of education and continue teaching and learning with all levels of education--formal and informal. I will continue to focus my work on immigrant communities and comparative international education through questions on language and culture. In doing so, I will utilize a critical multilingual lens with a focus on the lives of young people.