Reasons to Apply

There are many reasons to apply to the Department of Education in the Gevirtz School. We have excellent faculty members, a wonderful staff, stellar students, and a long list of innovative and challenging learning opportunities.

Read below for insights into our current students. Click here to view information about our alumni job placements.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Noreen Balos

Area of Interest: Learning, Culture and Technological Studies

Research Interests: STEM Education, Culture and Cognition

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

When exploring options for the PhD, I wasn't necessarily looking for a place or program. I chose GGSE because of the people. I wanted to find an intellectual home where I could push my thinking as well as candidly share my ideas without feeling like my thoughts were lacking, inarticulate, or dismissed. For example one day, the kid in me feeling silly but very curious emailed a question about geese to one of my faculty advisors (who is not a biologist). I thought the email would just be ignored (and I'd be ok with that because it wasn't crucial). But the next time we ran into each other in the hallway, we discussed the geese!  And the following week I could still return to her class and discuss method or theory and not feel like I was crazy lol.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

The faculty, staff, and students I met prior to arriving and now have all been approachable, insightful and supportive. I feel very fortunate that those I have interacted with all care about my development and journey not just as a student, future scholar, but also as a regular person. As someone coming from the workforce and returning to school, I think the adjustment to graduate school would have been more challenging without people who care how I am doing on and off-campus. The majority of my family and friends are out of state and I know they care what I am up to. But to be co-located with new people who are no longer just familiar faces but friends is very helpful.

Describe your favorite GGSE Experience.

My favorite GGSE experience is not an event or activity but several moments when I feel like life is just revealing itself when new things are introduced to me. Whether a conversation with my faculty advisors just chipped away a mental wall, or someone had me in mind for an opportunity, or I connect with a referral contact because we have coinciding interests, or when the peers I meet remind me I am surrounded by really cool people. That is my favorite part, the possibilities unfolding.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

Finance Committee Member, Beyond Academia 2016, an annual student-run professional development conference Volunteer, Boys & Girls Club

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

Actually, a key piece of info that was given to me (yet learning that others did not necessarily get this advice) was don't treat the PhD like another program, a checklist item to finish, or a to-do to prove something to yourself or others. The PhD is a specific kind of academic and personal journey for those who welcome mentorship not only into academia but into an expanded way of viewing yourself and the world. I am noticing that while I have many interests, there are only few that I am willing to dissect more deeply as opposed to just having some knowledge about it. Which aligns with what some friends have said that at some turning point, you will be living, breathing, sleeping your research topic. And if you only "kinda" like it, the rigor of completing the proposal, research, and dissertation may lead you to question choosing the PhD at all. But for those who have a genuine curiosity for something can absorb it from all angles, grow as a thinker and actually finish.

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Daniel Katz

Area of interest: Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods

Research Interests: Education Policy, Quantitative Methods

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

My advisers, Karen-Nylund Gibson and Andrew Maul reached out to me personally to meet and discuss their interests as well as mine just after admissions decisions were released. The opportunities to work closely with ambitious scholars doing extremely relevant work in a relatively small department was hard to find at other schools where initial contact was a bit more impersonal. Gevirtz seemed like a school in transition, but because of the seemingly tight-knit quantitative and policy oriented faculty, jumping into lots of different areas I was curious about was very approachable. Additionally, the quantitative training on offer is superb.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

After being in school for just one quarter, the biggest surprise has been just how small and loose the department feels. It's been rather easy to approach many different faculty who are all very eager to discuss their research and offer guidance. I was not expecting how easy it's been to potentially integrate with such a wide array of different research projects.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

Thus far, it's been working with my advisers as well as integrating into Danielle Harlow's maker space research group. I really had no idea I was interested in the area and Danielle reached out and invited me to join. As somebody who has worked at a bike shop as a mechanic, the idea of people using their hands to learn has been something I've been curious about. Seeing that this as a burgeoning area of study has had me thinking about concepts of measurement in ways I hadn't really thought of before, especially since I didn't really even know I was interested in the area formally. Andy and Karen, as co-advisers, have also just kept feeding me numerous areas to look into and that has kept me really motivated.

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

I'm not totally certain, but it would have been nice to know what quantitative classes were available, what they looked like, and what their difficulty was, especially in areas I had previous experience. Overall, though, just knowing the wide array of research going on within each school should have been a larger focus than it was for me, especially given my personal interest in non-academic jobs. Most of the gaps, or what I wish I knew had to do with my own research, but paying more attention to research opportunities available to first year graduate students would have been nice.

 

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Jacqueline Kemp

Area of interest: Culture and Development

Research interests: Ethnography of children's social interactions, Conversation Analysis

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

I was drawn to UCSB because of my advisor, Dr. Amy Kyratzis. My background and research interests align perfectly with Dr. Kyratzis' research on language socialization, gender socialization, and bilingual practices in young children's peer interactions. She has in-depth knowledge in ethnographic research methodology and a reputable background in studying young children's social interactions in natural settings. I knew that under her I would receive the individual guidance, support, and appropriate challenge necessary to grow as a researcher and aspiring professor. In addition, I knew the reputable UC Santa Barbara, and the colleagues I meet in the UC system, will be invaluable to my future endeavors as a professor.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

The diversity of research interests, experiences, opportunities, and people within GGSE has been a positive surprise in my first two years.This has allowed me to expand me knowledge and research in new and unexpected ways, specifically the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary emphasis with other departments. This has led to further teaching assistant and research opportunities in the Sociology department. In addition, the individualized research opportunities with faculty and rigorous research methodology coursework has provided me with a strong foundation for future research endeavors.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

My favorite GGSE experience has been the research project I participate in on a weekly basis. I collect ethnographic field notes and video taped data of young children in a preschool classroom. I find it fascinating, challenging, and rewarding to learn about children through observing and collect data over several months in the natural classroom setting, where children are comfortable with their peers and teachers.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

NAEYC / NCCCC

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

I feel that I came to GGSE well prepared from my prior graduate school experience, and so there is not much I wish I had known before attending UCSB. However, I do recommend building relationships with other peers in your cohort and talking with them along the way. The first year or two can be very exciting and also challenging. Talking with other graduate students helps keep you grounded and on track with goals as they provide support, advice, information, and empathize with the process of graduate school.

 

 

 

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Jacob Kirksey

Area of interest: Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods

Research interests: Special Education Policy, Teacher Education in STEM Subjects

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

I chose to pursue a PhD to further my training in policy evaluation as well as facilitate my professional advancement into higher education as a professor. I specifically chose to pursue my graduate education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education for several reasons. First, my adviser, Michael Gottfried, is an incredible researcher and mentor to his students. Additionally, GGSE provides a unique amount of flexibility to research chosen topics of interest as opposed to topics only currently being pursued by its professors. Overall, GGSE and its professors support their graduate students in every way possible, and this enables a healthy research and educational environment in which to grow professionally. Ultimately as a professor of education, I hope to provide just as much opportunity to my students.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

What surprised me most is the collaborative nature of the department. Students and professors regularly work together, despite having a diverse set of interests. It's also not uncommon for senior faculty members to work with new students on their work, which provides a great opportunity for new students to meet well-known experts in different fields. Another surprising aspect is how easy it is to get involved with research projects. I find that there are unlimited opportunities to get involved, and faculty members are really patient in working with new students in particular.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

My favorite experience thus far was delivering a 30-minute paper presentation at Disneyland for the California Educational Research Association's annual conference. I worked on this paper over the summer, and my adviser was really supportive of me submitting it to this conference. This experience is really emblematic of how supportive our department is for students who are looking for research and professional development opportunities.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

American Educational Research Association (AERA) / California Educational Research Association (CERA)

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

A majority of the focus in applications and graduate school searches has to be on finding the best adviser to support you throughout the program. My adviser is my advocate, and he works diligently to provide as many opportunities as possible. It's not the end of the world if one doesn't wind up with the best match at first, but the adviser plays a huge role in the courses you take, the research you do, and your overall trajectory in the program. The role of the adviser cannot be more emphasized for prospective graduate students.

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Wona Lee

Area of interest: Language and Literacy

Research interests: Bilingual Education and Bilingual Development

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

In my own quest for a graduate program that would nurture my research interests, I was thrilled to find Dr. Jin Sook Lee at UCSB and I was sure Dr. Jin Sook Lee's research would make my experience at UCSB a challenging and exciting one. So I was enormously happy when I got accepted to this program. Furthermore, the department of education at UCSB has been places an emphasis on education practices for a diverse society. 

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

I have benefitted enormously from the GGSE's support and encouragement in preparing me for professional challenges. In particular, all faculty members have showed commitment to facilitate students' learning and researching process, and a genuine concern for the well-being of students. Also, I really appreciate my fellow graduate students who consistently challenge status-quo in order to create a better educational environment for future children. 

 

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

I like studying in ADA's lab because I get to see other GGSE students. While interacting with people with diverse backgrounds, I get to expand my horizons!

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

AERA / AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics)

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. As soon as I got married in Korea, I moved to the U.S. with my husband and settled down in a small Korean community in California 18 years ago. While trying to get accustomed to my new life in this diverse society, I became a mother of two America born Korean children who are now 16 and 14 years old. As a second language learner and a mother, I encountered two major issues in my life.  One is my bilingualism and the other is my children's bilingual development. I wish I had more academic knowledge about the very bilingual issues I have faced.

 

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Heather Macias

Area of interest: Culture and Development

Research interests: Multilingual Learners, Sociocultural Learning

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

GGSE is one of the stronger schools that provides students with the ability to actively pursue interdisciplinary research interests.  Faculty, classes, and fellow graduate students are regularly available to help us explore, create, and foster ways in which we can expand our own research and create connections across the university and in our future careers.  As a result, our interdisciplinary pursuits can make us better scholars with perspectives that span beyond our own departments and fields. 

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

I was most surprised at how welcoming everyone has been at GGSE!  The faculty is regularly available and willing to help us with our research, funding opportunities, and even just to be someone to talk to about personal topics.  Likewise, my fellow graduate students are always there to help out and work together.  GGSE is overall a very warm environment, which is exactly what I wanted!  I feel so lucky to have found a grad school that is constantly supportive and working to make sure I succeed.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

My favorite experience at GGSE has to be anytime my cohort gets together.  We meet up once a month and go out to eat, go to local events, or just hang out and relax.  Knowing that I have such a great cohort who wants to make time to have fun and relax, while also remaining supportive and interested in one another's work is one of the best aspects of being at GGSE. 

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

UCSB, GGSE, Graduate Student Association of Education, President 2015-2016 / UCSB, Student Resources Building Governance Board, Graduate Student Association representative, 2014-2016 / University of California, Student Mental Health Oversight Committee, Graduate Student representative, 2015-2016 / AERA member / NCTE member / CATE member

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

I wish I had known that it was perfectly alright to change my research interests.  Coming into the school, I felt as if there was so much pressure to have my entire research life planned out, not knowing that I could and would change my research focus several times over as I explored different ideas and perspectives in my classes and with other graduate students.  So knowing what you're interested in researching as a general topic is definitely a good thing to have coming into school, but know that it is not the end all, be all of your future in graduate school either.

 

 

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Jasmine McBeath

Area of interest: Learning, Culture, and Technological Studies

Research interests: Girls in STEM, Makerspaces, Informal Science Education

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

GGSE won out on many factors: faculty, resources, quality of life, cost, time, location. I was drawn to a highly ranked school with top faculty and research centers, that was also relatively affordable and feasible to finish in 4 years. I shared research interests with numerous faculty and my advisor had very compelling and compatible interests in informal science education, literacy, and social justice. UCSB was recently named a Hispanic-serving Institution and the program as a whole emphasized reaching diverse groups and underrepresented students. Also, the graduate students I met were leading programs and confident in their research, appeared successful and yet remarkably well-adjusted. I wanted to go somewhere I could make a difference, feel accomplished, and stay happy.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

I expected the intensive readings and discussions of required courses, but I was surprised by the format of graduate seminars. I did not realize how tailored they could be to the students participating or address real world challenges. I enjoyed learning about more advanced students and their work and receiving feedback on my ideas. In my favorite seminars, our class worked like a think tank where we met to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions. I have been pleasantly surprised by the challenges we encountered and our ideas. I've enjoyed applying for grants, writing group papers, and designing curriculum and museum exhibits. In general, the amount of research and teaching opportunities beyond my own research project has impressed me.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

My favorite experiences with GGSE have probably been the events our cohort has planned over the past year. It's hard to choose a specific one, as I've enjoyed all the activities we've done to get to know each other and Santa Barbara. We've gone to the outdoor theater, trampoline park, bowling, hiking, wine-tasting, had barbecues, attended first Thursday and city festivals, you name it. If I had to pick one moment that stands out however,  it would probably be the first GGSE-wide Thanksgiving Dinner. As a VP on the Education council, I know all the work that went into planning it and putting it on, and I was really pleased that over 80 students, faculty, and staff attended from all three departments within GGSE. It was amazing to see everyone meeting new people and celebrating with friends.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

AERA / NARST / UCSB Graduate Student Association / GGSE Graduate Student Association in Education / Center for Science & Engineering Partnerships' Family Ultimate Science Exploration

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

I wish I had focused on funding more before coming to graduate school, and had applied for fellowships and grants both the year before and my first year instead of waiting until my second year to apply. Trying multiple times would have increased my odds, and also given security earlier rather than later if I received one. I received a generous first year fellowship from GGSE and was well aware that TAships and GSRs were very competitive. However, I did not realize different steps I could take to help secure these positions. The majority of Education students work outside the department, and I wish I'd known better what this process looked like. There are departments such as Writing that require you to apply in the spring of the year before, or Spanish which has a mandatory TA training class only offered fall quarter. It's important to actively look for information on funding opportunities, reach out to different departments as early as possible, and network with other students.

 

 UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Valerie Meier

Area of interest: Language and Literacy

Research interests: Culturally and linguistically diverse students, Academic Discourse

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

I primarily chose GGSE for the opportunity to work with a range of faculty members involved in research on linguistically diverse students and academic language and literacies, take a variety of both qualitative and quantitative methodology courses, and extend my training in linguistics through the interdisciplinary emphasis in Applied Linguistics.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

I've been surprised at the ways in which, as I continue to refine my research interests, GGSE has turned out to be an even better fit than I anticipated, with opportunities not just to take relevant courses but also to get involved with McEnroe Reading Clinic, a collaborative research project on preservice teachers, and an academic outreach program focused on sociolinguistic justice.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

I've really enjoyed my teaching experiences in the GGSE, from TA-ing for undergraduate education courses to helping two seven year old boys in the Reading Clinic write a digital book about spiders.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

American Association of Applied Linguistics

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

This not so much something I didn't know as something I didn't do before applying, which was to contact faculty members I was interested in working with as well as current graduate students in order to get a sense of the people involved in the program. As it turns out, my faculty adviser is fantastic, as are the other grad students in her lab group, but it would have been smart to do a bit more research in this regard.

 

UCSB Education GGSE Prospective Student
Micaela Morgan

Area of interest: Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods

Research interests: STEM Engagement, Structural Equation Modeling

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education?

In 2012, I met doctoral candidate, Veronica Fematt in Dr. Don Lubach's transfer success course. I too was interested in transfer student work and she introduced me to her adviser, Dr. Michael Gerber.  Under his advisement the Higher Education Research Group (HERG), which focused on the transfer student pipeline and community college issues began. Participating in HERG the year before I entered the doctoral program is what made me want to continue my academic journey at UCSB. Being advised by Dr. Gerber, a renowned academic, and my committee members, Drs. Gottfried and Nylund-Gibson, who are at the forefront of research in their specializations, has been invaluable. The faculty and students I have worked with and the experiences I have had in GGSE definitely made it the right choice for me.

What has surprised you the most about the GGSE?

When entering the doctoral program in GGSE, I did not think I would be so blessed with an amazing adviser, wonderful faculty and colleagues, and unique opportunities. One example is I have been fortunate to work with Drs. Gerber, Gottfried and Arya and fellow doctoral student, Jacob Kirksey on putting together an invited AERA conference to advance research on STEM learning for students with individual differences. This experience has put me in touch with leading academics in this specialization, which is just one example of the ways you can get involved in GGSE. This experience has enriched my time in the program and provided valuable professional skills. If you want specific experiences or to gain certain skills it has truly surprised me how you can make that a reality in GGSE.

Describe your favorite GGSE experience.

My favorite GGSE experience has definitely been the creation of and work with HERG. Through HERG I got to know and work with some of my fellow GGSE scholars, who are all becoming amazing future researchers interested in various facets of the community college transfer pipeline. It was through HERG I was able to do a STEM study at two community colleges and run a research group of 7 undergraduate students under the guidance of my adviser. I have learned so much through HERG and hope to continue this work after I graduate.

Please list any campus-specific, state, or national affiliated clubs and associations.

AERA " American Educational Research Association "/  Division J " Postsecondary Education " / " Division D " Measurement and Research Methodology  / " SIG " Mixed Methods Research and Mentorship /  / CSCC " The Council for the Study of Community Colleges" / PWA " UCSB Professional Women's Association"   / SACNAS " Society for the Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science " 

What do you wish you knew before applying and/or attending graduate school?

Entering GGSE was my second graduate experience and I feel I learned a lot from the first one, which is why I am so happy in GGSE. I feel I knew exactly what I was getting into when starting this doctoral program. I will offer some thoughts on what I think every prospective candidate should think before applying/attending graduate school. Make sure you love the work you are doing. Graduate school challenges you in many different ways and you need both mental and physical stamina to make it, so be sure you want it and take care of yourself along the way. Also be sure you have funding in some form. I wish I had applied for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowship (NSF-GRF), which I discovered too late I could have applied for.  Luckily I have a full-time job to support my doctoral work, but you want to avoid financial worries. The most important thing is to choose your adviser carefully as you want to have a good relationship with your adviser and work well together.