Urban Education and Social Justice MA
First, the transparency of the area of expertise from professors and commitment to host public events to know their work drew me into USF. I was impressed with Dr. Farima Pour-Khorshid’s research on critical and healing-centered racial affinity spaces with healing centered approaches for educators. Her workshop on “Storytelling as a Healing Praxis for Liberation” inspired me to see testimonials as healing for students and why our stories matter. The workshop made me more curious about USF. After looking through classes and professors' areas of expertise like critical pedagogy and transformative teaching, I knew I would apply to USF in the future.
Second, USF’s supportive network and community drew me into the school. I had professors and current students congratulating me, inviting me to classes, and having a dialogue about my accomplishments. Overall, I felt the professors, alumni, and current students wanted to make a difference in schools by focusing on our students' cultural and socioeconomic strengths. I knew that I would thrive in a program that encourages social justice principles by using tools like humanizing relationships, collective action, and critical, transformative pedagogies.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR PROGRAM THUS FAR?
There are many highlights: classes, professors, and the UESJ cohort. The main highlight is my cohort. The cohort consists of outstanding individuals who are open, empathetic, and motivated for social justice. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences. I am always amazed by hearing everyone's stories about why they want to be a teacher. If it was not for the cohort, I can say UESJ would not be the same.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?
- First, ask yourself why you want to be a teacher and research the programs that fit your why. Next, look into professors’ areas of expertise and classes being offered. Finally, take the initiative to meet the professors and students and sit in a classroom to experience the environment. I recommend picking a quality program over a branded university whose program may not be the best fit for you.
- Build relationships with your cohort and professors. Do not be afraid to ask for support because you are not alone in graduate school. They are gonna be your lifelong colleagues/friends.
- If you already have a topic you are interested in, for example, intergenerational trauma and healing, think about how you might develop your project in the graduate program.
FAVORITE BAY AREA RESTAURANT
One of my favorites is my local taqueria La Costa located on Alum Rock and King in East San Jose. Fish tacos, shrimp ceviche, and horchata are the way to go!