My research is dedicated to issues of global education. Through my work, I aim to increase our understanding of education in other nations and also prepare U.S. teachers to enter classrooms in an increasingly globalized world.
Meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and getting to talk about these issues was an incredibly unique, memorable, and valuable experience.
In our small-group discussion, Secretary Kerry stressed the importance for students in the U.S. to study languages as part of becoming global citizens. He touched on how education is interconnected with the world’s political, social, and economic elements.
Having recently returned from conducting my dissertation research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I appreciated that he also emphasized the importance of access to education for children across the globe.
In Dhaka, I spoke with parents, students, teachers, and principals associated with both non-governmental organization schools and religious schools in one of the city’s slums, learning about the educational opportunities available for children and the many factors that impacted choices about schooling, including cost and proximity.
Though my current field of study is international and comparative education and my research focuses on Bangladesh, I began my career as a special education teacher for elementary students.
As an undergraduate student here at IU, I had an intense desire to learn about the world. One of the most pivotal moments of my professional career and personal life was student teaching on a Navajo reservation through the Cultural Immersion Projects (now called Global Gateway for Teachers). After this cross-cultural experience, I taught in Madison, Wis., in a school with a diverse population and with an amazing administration and staff dedicated to promoting equity. These experiences influenced my decision to pursue a graduate degree at IU.
A combination of my academic, professional, and personal experiences led to my interest in conducting research in Bangladesh. After a short-term volunteer experience in Jaipur, India, in the summer of 2011, I knew I wanted to focus my research in South Asia.
That fall, I began studying Bengali/Bangla, and learning about Bangladesh. A critical piece of my ability to continue to study Bangla and to learn about Bangladesh has been the financial support provided through federal funding, such as the Critical Language Scholarship program and Foreign Language and Area Studies programs, as well as funding provided through IU by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs. Furthermore, and most importantly, the guidance and support provided by faculty and staff in the School of Education, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Dhar India Studies Program, Islamic Studies Program, and the Department of Religious Studies and also by my Bangladeshi friends and colleagues has been invaluable and has truly sustained me in pursuing a Ph.D.
Meeting with Secretary Kerry, who has vast real-world experience in international affairs, enabled me and other students to ask him questions about current issues of global importance. This meeting helped to reaffirm my dedication to my chosen career path. After completing my Ph.D., I hope to conduct research on education that has the potential to positively impact disadvantaged students. I also hope to prepare pre-service teachers as they enter classrooms and teach tomorrow’s global citizens.