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Lynch School of Education

Karen Lam

curriculum & instruction doctoral program


Academic Background & Professional Experiences

I received by Bachelors degree in Physics from Ithaca College in 2008, and my Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University in 2011. Prior to starting at Boston College in 2012, I taught 8th Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. In addition to this experience, I spent time in classrooms in both Chelsea and Somerville, Massachusetts teaching English to adult immigrants and 6th grade science in a sheltered English instruction setting, respectively. During the 2011-2012 school year, I also volunteered with the research group of Dr. Katherine L. McNeill. It was both the quality, relevance, and drive of this group’s research, as well as Boston College’s commitment to social justice and collaboration with schools in the greater Boston area that lead me to choose the Lynch School for my doctoral studies.

Research and Practice Opportunities

I have had nothing but rich and rewarding experiences in research at Boston College. For the past few years I have worked as a research assistant on a project with my advisor, Dr. McNeill, around the development of multi-media educative curriculum materials pertaining to the practice of scientific argumentation. My involvement in this work has exposed me to the many facets of educational research, including data collection and analysis, writing manuscripts and attending conferences. Additionally, the faculty and staff at the Lynch School have been extremely supportive in helping me develop and clarify my own research goals. Specifically, Dr. McNeill has provided me with opportunities in which to pursue my own research interests—the intersections of science learning with bilingualism development—within the context of the work that I do with her research group.

Valuable Doctoral Experiences

To date, the doctoral experiences that most resonate with me are the relationships that I have developed with the people who I have interacted with as a result of entering this program, including faculty members, fellow students, and teachers in the greater Boston area. One of the most invaluable things about having developed these relationships is that they have pushed me to think more critically about the impact that I want my work to have in the science education experiences of emerging bilinguals across this country.

Future Aspirations

Although it is still early in my studies to know what I will be doing upon graduation, I can say with certainty that the PhD Curriculum & Instruction Program at Boston College is preparing me for whichever career path I choose to take. The educational research and undergraduate teaching experiences I have had will enable me to apply my skill set in the world of academia. In addition, the professional development workshops and curriculum work I have participated in will qualify me for working in other settings, such as educational think tanks and K-12 schools.