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Stories about Commencement 2018

By Jill Anderson 05/30/2018 1:52 PM EDT
Shireen Al-Adeimi
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Shireen Al-Adeimi, Ed.D.’18, wasn’t sure about education research as a career. In fact, she hadn’t even intended to apply to HGSE, but thanks to a push from her adviser at the University of Michigan who urged her to submit the application, Al-Ademi is not only leaving HGSE with a dissertation and diploma, she has also found her calling. “HGSE has really given me the opportunity to do things beyond my comfort zone,” she says, admitting that she never imagined becoming a quantitative researcher, though everything she learned about statistics and...
By Jill Anderson 05/30/2018 1:41 PM EDT
Stephanie Downey Toledo
Stephanie Downey Toledo, Ed.L.D.'18, is always on the go — for work and with family. During a rare down moment traveling to a family wedding with her parents, three children, and husband in tow, Toledo chatted about life post-HGSE: "It was such a great three years," she says. "I arrived at HGSE with two children and I am graduating with three children ... the cohort really embraced the additional member." Upon being named marshal by her colleagues, Downey Toledo noted that her cohort's support was really the beginning of what has been a team effort. "Any and all 25 could have served this role...
By Andrew Bauld 05/29/2018 10:03 AM EDT
Jordy Sparks
At Jordy Sparks’ high school in Springfield, Ohio, there were two counselors for all graduating seniors — one worked with those heading to college, and the other with those heading to the workforce. As with all the seniors, the counselors alone determined placement, and Sparks was not college bound. “I asked to be transferred,” says Sparks, hoping to be one of the first in his family to go to college, but he was denied. “I was told people who came from my side of town don’t interact with the college counselor.” That would set Sparks, Ed.L.D.’18, on his own path, inspired not only to make it...
By Lory Hough 05/29/2018 8:45 AM EDT
Stephany Cuevas
Research has shown that it’s important for parents to be involved in their children’s education. But what happens when a parent is undocumented, when they worry that their own immigration status will affect their child’s chances at going to college? This is what doctoral student and Ed.D. marshal Stephany Cuevas, Ed.M.’15, focused on for her dissertation, “Apoyo Sacrificial: Understanding Undocumented Latina/o Parents’ Engagement in Students’ Post-Secondary Planning and Success.” Using information she gathered from in-depth interviews with 15 undocumented Latinx parents whose children were...
By Leah Shafer 05/24/2018 4:00 PM EDT
Music rang out across Radcliffe Yard today as Dean James Ryan addressed the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s graduating class with what has become his signature homage to educators. “I believe you are the luckiest graduates of the entire university because you are going to work in education, and there is no higher calling, no more rewarding or meaningful field in which to work,” he said. “I have seen your passion, your commitment to social justice, and your enormous talents on display all year, and while I am sad to bid you farewell, I take solace in knowing that you are leaving here to...
By James Ryan 05/24/2018 1:48 PM EDT
Jim Ryan
Watch Dean Ryan's full speech. Welcome graduates, colleagues, family and friends. Congratulations to you all. I’d like to begin by thanking all of the families and friends in the audience today. Each year, I am amazed to hear your stories and to learn about the distances and obstacles you overcame to be here. I share your pride in the accomplishments of our graduating students and your joy at the prospects that lie ahead. At the same time, I share in the gratitude that I know our graduating students feel toward all of you. No one makes it to graduation alone. For that reason, I’d like to ask...
By Bari Walsh 05/23/2018 4:19 PM EDT
Commencement banner
Watch video of the 2018 Convocation ceremony below: As the Harvard Graduate School of Education honored the Class of 2018 at a picture-perfect Convocation ceremony, degree candidates were urged to envision a future where the ideal school can become the real school, and where desperation can become the motivator that sparks innovation and urgent change. They were reminded that at a moment where millions of people are striving for a new kind of freedom, educators must join — and lead — that quest. “This is a freedom moment,” said Convocation speaker John Silvanus Wilson Jr., speaking to...
By John Silvanus Wilson 05/23/2018 4:15 PM EDT
John Silvanus Wilson at HGSE Convocation
Thank you, Dean Ryan…thank you for making HGSE stronger and better! One can have no sweeter legacy than that! Congratulations to Alumnus Douglas Wood!  Thank you for all of your good work! And welcome Dean Bridget Terry Long!  She will be our Dean when the Ed School turns 100 in the year 2020, the year of perfect vision! With perfect eyesight she will assess our last century, and with perfect vision she will plan our next! And now, congratulations to this HGSE graduating class of 2018! My Perspective I sat in a gathering like this back in 1985, got married two weeks later, and then...
By Karen Mapp 05/23/2018 4:00 PM EDT
Karen Mapp at HGSE Convocation
Welcome students, families, friends, and colleagues to this afternoon’s convocation. I’d like to take this moment to express my deepest gratitude to the students for electing me this year’s faculty speaker: I am truly honored by this recognition. It was brought to my attention by one of our doctoral students, Al Moore, that I was selected to be the convocation speaker in 2014, Jim Ryan’s first year as dean, and now, here I am again as faculty speaker, in his last year as dean. I’m not quite sure what to make of this bookend dynamic, but I do know one thing for sure – that Dean Ryan’s...