Dr. Allison Skerrett
Assistant Professor, Language and Literacy Studies, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, The University of Texas at Austin
Research & Practice Opportunities
The Lynch School provided me with important opportunities to develop as a researcher. I worked with Dr. Andy Hargreaves as a graduate research assistant for four of my five years in the doctoral program. What I appreciated most about Dr. Hargreaves was his student-oriented approach to mentoring and his commitment to my development as a scholar. Dr. Hargreaves was not only interested in providing me with opportunities to participate in research within his ongoing projects. He was first and foremost genuinely interested in learning about the questions, interests, and concerns about teaching and learning that I had brought to doctoral study. From there, we thought together about where within his ongoing work opportunities existed to study these questions. Additionally, he advised me in crafting independent research projects, leading up to my dissertation study, to explore the questions in which I was interested. I also appreciated being part of a research team that included several other graduate students from different program areas in Curriculum & Instruction, and in the Lynch School, who brought a diversity of interests and insights to the projects on which we worked. I truly felt mentored and a part of a friendly community of committed and bright experienced and emerging scholars. This focus on mentorship, I think, is evident across the faculty in the department. Dr. David Scanlon and Dr. Leigh Stevens are just two of the many other faculty who provided me with guidance and support throughout and beyond the doctoral program.
Boston College Connections
In my current work, I continue to draw on the relationships and experiences that I enjoyed in the Lynch School. Dr. Hargreaves and I have written, published and presented together and we work together in professional organizations. Dr. Leigh Stevens and I continue to think together and talk about our teaching and research in the area of adolescent literacy. Under Dr. Hargreaves’ direction, and along with the guidance of Dr. Stevens and Dr. Carol Hurd Green, I was able to write a strong dissertation that has resulted in several journal publications. I also have the good fortune of working with Dr. Deborah Horan, another Lynch School alumnus, here in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Horan and I are currently working on a paper about bilingual pre-service teachers’ responses to multicultural literature. I have also presented at conferences with other alumni from the Lynch School, such as Dr. Afra Hersi, who share my research interests. And I remain connected to a broad community of former and current Lynch School students who support and advise each other. I think it is a testament to the Lynch school’s collegial community that faculty and alumni continue to work together and support each other well past students’ graduation.
Advice for Prospective
I would encourage prospective students to join the Lynch School community! The department of Curriculum & Instruction is a vibrant research and teaching community that is committed to core educational values. You will develop friendships and professional relationships that will extend beyond your completion of the program and you will be well prepared for whatever professional endeavors you choose to pursue.