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Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award Recipient: Jill Carlson, IEP'10

Jill CarlsonThanks to her teaching experience in Guyana, Costa Rica, and her home state of Arizona, Jill Carlson knows that all educators worldwide face similar challenges. She enrolled in the Ed School's International Education Policy Program (IEP) hoping to gain the tools necessary, she says, to "improve education systems all over the globe, particularly in developing countries."

"Jill Carlson embodies the many qualities that distinguish students and graduates of the International Education Policy Program: the commitment to international development through the expansion of educational opportunities, a deep and abiding interest in advancing social equity and development through education, a rich combination of deep knowledge about the field of international development, strong analytic skills, outstanding leadership qualities, and a strong moral compass," says Professor Fernando Reimers, director of IEP. "She has been an outstanding student in her courses this year, a serious contributor to class discussions, a contributing leader working with her peers to enrich their experience in the program, and a committed global citizen."

Carlson plans on continuing her work in El Salvador with Learning Through Libraries - a organization she cofounded with two HGSE classmates - post-graduation, and hopes her path will eventually lead to work in an education nonprofit, foundation, or social enterprise. Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for IEP, Carlson answered some questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.

What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education?
What I learned from my colleagues in the IEP Program will continue to shape my perspective and outlook on education around the world. Each individual brought a wealth of stories, experiences, and expertise to our coursework and it's the experiences and perspectives of my peers that truly made this year transformative. And, of course, statistics.

Is there any professor who significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School? Who and why?
Professor Fernando Reimers cares for his IEP students as members of the IEP family. He is constantly supporting us, challenging us to find our own way, and connecting us to influential leaders in the international education community. The closeness and community culture within the IEP cohort is a direct result of his leadership.

How did you stay inspired throughout the year?
Starting Learning Through Libraries with [classmates] Deb Gittler and Nell O'Donnell proved to be the best part of my year. These women inspired me to take a chance on a little idea and less than nine months later, we've established three libraries and have the plans in place to create two more. They taught me the infinite power of collaboration and dedication. Also, it was easy to stay inspired at HGSE, since my wonderful group of friends are zany, creative, and endlessly energetic!

What advice do you have for next year's students going through your program?
Get out and enjoy Boston and Cambridge while you're still here! The year goes by so quickly, it would be a shame to graduate not truly knowing the city. Also, make sure you cheer on runners on Marathon Monday. It was my favorite day in Boston!

If you could transport one person/place/thing in Harvard Square to your next destination, what would it be?
I would transport all of my amazing friends, and bring them with me everywhere! They're headed to all corners of the world, but the friendships we forged through hours of statistics and impromptu dance parties can certainly withstand the distance.


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