EPW Student Spotlight: Dan Rodriguez-Segura

Dan Rodriguez-Segura
2nd year Ph.D student in the Education Policy Program at the School of Education and a researcher at EdPolicyWorks.
Email: dan.rodriguez@virginia.edu

Question: Why did you choose the Curry School of Education?

Dan Rodriguez-SeguraRodriguez-Segura: The School of Education at UVA is a great place to get personalized research training on interesting and relevant topics, alongside incredibly caring and accomplished faculty and peers.  

Question: What are you working on now?

Rodriguez-Segura: Right now, I am working with my advisor, Beth Schueler, on an RCT that evaluates the impact of phone-based teacher instruction during school closures in Kenya. At the same time, I am evaluating an early literacy program in rural Guatemala, exploring the underlying changes in core literacy skills that made this specific intervention so successful.

Question: Why is this work important and how will it be impactful in the future?

Rodriguez-Segura: Right now, over half of all children in developing countries experience “learning poverty”, meaning they cannot read a simple age-appropriate passage. Through my own personal experience growing up in Costa Rica, I have come to believe that education is one of the best tools to ensure that each generation leads a more dignified live than the previous one. As such, the research I engage with is important to understand how we can truly improve educational outcomes in developing countries, particularly as the population in these regions is expected to grow significantly in the next decades. 

Question: In what ways has EdPolicyWorks influenced you?

Rodriguez-Segura: At EPW, I have really experienced the warmth of an amazing, supportive community that always has the well-being of its members front and center of everything it does. Being surrounded by this environment is something that I do not take for granted, and has really helped develop personally and professionally. 

Question: If you could give one piece of advice to incoming Ed Policy students, it would be...

Rodriguez-Segura: Don’t be afraid to reach out to other members of the EPW community. Some of my most meaningful conversations at UVA, both research-wise and otherwise, have emerged from conversations with other EPW members. This is a very open and caring community, and one of the core values I have felt here is a strong sense of mutual support.

EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.