Class of 2014: Manuela Determined to Improve Education Everywhere
Hometown: Colombia, South America
Ph.D. in Educational Psychology—Applied Developmental Science
Embarking on her doctoral studies in the United States brought with it a surprising revelation for Manuela. She discovered that, in some ways, the educational needs of students and families in the U.S. are similar to those of developing countries. That insight confirmed for her the need to figure out how to improve education everywhere.
Why did you come to the Curry School?
While writing my master’s thesis, which included a section on teacher-student relationships, I kept running into research being done at Curry. The topic was my main research interest so I continued looking at the research and found it to be high quality and aligned with what I wanted to do, so when it was time to choose where to go for my Ph.D. I really wanted to come to the place where that research was being done.
What is unique about your journey to or your journey while at the Curry School?
Well, I’m an international student, and although that’s not unique at Curry, it is unique in my program. It’s been a great experience to be able to share my culture and my country with people that are genuinely interested in the worldview of non-Americans. Plus it’s been a great learning experience for me. Everyone has been very gracious in sharing their culture with me and in being patient whenever I make a cultural faux-pas.
Who at the Curry School made a special impact during your studies and how?
I can’t really name just one person. I think my whole experience has been made very special by all of the people that work at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, where I do my research assistantship. Everyone here has been extremely generous with their time. They have been willing to teach me, work with me and provide feedback to me in ways that have really enhanced my experience here. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to do my studies here.
What will you be doing next?
I have accepted an offer for a postdoc at Arizona State University where I’ll be collaborating in the development and evaluation of the teacher training component of a social-emotional intervention.