Alice Anderson's work as a museum educator and arts administrator left her craving more knowledge about human development and research methods. Encouraged by two Ed School alums and mentors, Anderson, Ed.M.'08, took the challenge of earning her master's in the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) Program, even though she had taken only one psychology course before coming to the Ed School.
"Alice has demonstrated great range in her interests and abilities, and she has connected to other areas at HGSE by taking courses related to Mind, Brain, and Education; Technology, Innovation, and Education; and research-related courses that will enhance her work as a professional," says HDP Program Director and Lecturer Terrance Tivnan. "Alice always seems to combine her hard work with a friendly and engaging style that is appreciated by faculty, teaching fellows, and students -- what a nice combination! We are very proud of her."
Upon being honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for the HDP Program, Anderson took some time to answer questions about her time at the Ed School.
Did you have a favorite class at HGSE?
I really enjoyed [Professor] Paul Harris' Psychology of Early Childhood course. Not only is the subject matter endlessly fascinating to me, but Professor Harris also created an environment where even though there were 80 people in the room we felt comfortable to ask questions, and he provided time for dialogue during every class period. The fact that he started every lecture with some music as people took their seats was also a really nice touch.
How did you stay inspired throughout the year?
It was hard not to get carried away! I found so much of what I was studying new and fascinating that I was never bored. Working with driven and intelligent classmates really pushed me to do my best as well. I worked in two group projects second semester and people couldn't believe it when I said I actually enjoyed working with everyone. But it was true; I was inspired by their thinking, creativity, and commitment to our final product.
Advice for next year's HDP students?
Students in the HDP Program come from all backgrounds with various experience levels, and I always loved the times when I got to hear someone describe what they were doing before they came to Harvard. Seek out and savor those conversations, and then rely on your classmates to help you learn about something they know well and bring in your own experience in class discussions.
What have you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education?
There is no easy answer to any question, decision, or treatment. We need to teach our students how to become reflective, critical thinkers who can evaluate what they need to learn and ask for support when necessary. As educators we need to do the same and collaborate to find information to guide our decisionmaking.