Our students are dedicated to service and research that directly contributes to social change — locally, nationally and internationally.

Elizabeth "Eli" Pimentel, Human Rights Education MA Alumna

Elizabeth Pimentel, Human Rights Education MA AlumniEli completed her degree in 2014 and was drawn to the program after several years of working in non-profit organizations in Boston and the Bay Area.

As a community advocate, I was seeking a framework that could transform the ways our society viewed social struggles and responded to them. In Human Rights Education, I found a framework with which I could imagine exciting possibilities in my topics of interest. The program transformed my understanding of the power of human rights both nationally and internationally. It exposed me to the impact of human rights education and it instilled in me the responsibility to expand human rights education in the United States. One of the most rewarding experiences was the opportunity to learn from local educators. Professors invited practitioners from local schools and organizations to provide training and share insights on their work. I appreciated the exposure to current projects and organizations grounded in human rights."

Eli’s thorough culminating Masters project created a workshop for pre- and in-service teachers on the school-to-prison pipeline — identifying the ways public school policies and practices in the U.S. violate international human rights laws and offering restorative justice alternatives for schools. Her future goals are to bring a human rights lens to community-based organizations focused on immigration and juvenile justice, building on her years of experience working with marginalized communities.

Eli is currently the Citizenship Program Coordinator at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

I love the HRE MA program at USF because we have these in depth personal conversations every class about race, rights, and other matters that are often too taboo to talk about anywhere else. I've learned more about myself in the last year than all of my other years combined because of this time to discuss and reflect.

My undergrad lessons were often in big lecture halls and comprised of multiple choice tests which made it easy to forget the information only a couple days after the test and learn on a superficial level. At USF the essays and conversation have often forced me to think much more critically about who I want to become and what I want to create. Many classes I leave buzzing because the conversation has been empowering. My wish is to create the same environment in the K-12 education system. – Jake Beaman, HRE student

What I most appreciate about the MA in HRE program are my fellow classmates. The classroom experience is full of diversity, rich experiences and perspectives. Professors provide a safe space and thought-provoking material that allows for dialogue and discussion that further delves into the complicated and important issues that need addressing. The program has become more than just a schooling experience, but an experience that has allowed me to become a part of a community that shares similar passions and is actively working to make the human rights vision a reality.

Sabrina James, HRE MA student