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Checking In: Class of 2011

What are the students in HGSE's class of 2011 doing five years post-graduation? We caught up with a few to find out.

2011-2016Just under five years ago, the 2011 graduating class of the Harvard Graduate School of Education sat in Harvard Yard, proudly waving children’s books adorned with the smiling faces of Elmo and Big Bird to honor the passing of HGSE Professor Gerald Lesser, an influential voice in children’s education media who also helped create Sesame Street. At their convocation, then-Dean Kathleen McCartney reminded graduates that, despite the fact that they were now alumni, Harvard would continue to “serve as your intellectual home, now and always.” “All of us here on Appian Way will take pride throughout the years as we learn about the impact of your work,” she added. 

The impact of the work of the 2011 Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award Winners since those words were spoken is undeniable. From the classroom to the boardroom, these 13 HGSE alums have left an indelible mark on the education field. We caught up with some of those students to get a peek inside their lives and careers today, and to learn what their futures might hold. 

Anna WestAnna West
Arts in Education
Current city: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Current job: Doctoral candidate and Economic Development Fellow, Louisiana State University
Best part of your current work? “Collaborating with teachers and students at McKinley High School to do critical participatory action research.”
What keeps you in education? “A sense of hope, however challenged, that everything can — and must — change.”
In another five years I’ll be… “I plan to stay put so that I can continue to work toward educational justice in my own community. I imagine that I will continue learning and teaching with Humanities Amped [a collaboration between McKinley and LSU’s English Department]. I'd like to get some writing done, and maybe I'll even plant a garden in my yard one day.”

Mildred BovedaMildred Boveda
Education Policy and Management
Current city: Miami
Current job: Doctoral candidate and lecturer, Florida International University
Best part of your current work? “Preparing future and in-service teachers to work with diverse learners, including students with disabilities.”
What keeps you in education? “The fact that my mother never had access to formal education and worked so hard so that my siblings and I would. An understanding that access continues to be a problem for so many.”
In another five years I’ll be… “A teacher educator and researcher.”


Jason RaffertyJason Rafferty
Human Development and Psychology
Current city: Providence, Rhode Island
Current job: Physician
Best part of your current work? “Much of my career is currently dedicated to working with marginalized youth through direct patient care as well as advocacy on broader levels, including families, schools, elected officials, etc. While balancing a complex system is challenging, I find it very rewarding when I can make a difference not only for the individual, but also those who find themselves in similar situations.”
What keeps you in education? “My primary role is in child health, but the fact of the matter is that most children and adolescents spend the vast majority of their time at school. The relationships they form with peers and mentors, the ways they learn to cope with adversity, the sense of accomplishment and responsibility that is fostered in and out of the classroom can all be profoundly influential on a children's physician and emotional wellbeing.”
In another five years I’ll be… “Out of training and finally in a real job! My passion is caring and advocating for marginalized youth, especially when it comes to breaking down traditional barriers and building interdisciplinary delivery systems that best meet the needs of adolescents and their families. I will likely be in an academic medical setting because I love to teach medical trainees and using participatory research methods to empower my adolescent patients in creating positive change in their communities.”

Moise DeroisierMoise Derosier
International Education Policy
Current city: West Palm Beach, Florida
Current job: Co-founder/president of Educational Services International (ESI)
Best part of your current work?  “We are providing professional developing learning opportunities for teachers and principals. For the last five years, we have done a lot of work in the area of teacher training in Haiti in collaboration with Color of Hope.”
What keeps you in education? “One thing that keeps in the education field is the meaningful impact that one can have in the lives of so many people.”
In another five years I’ll be… “Lately, I’ve begun to develop an interest in the area of financial literacy for students and teachers. For a topic as important as financial education, school systems are not doing enough to prepare students for the real world in that regard. In a volatile and integrated financial world, people must have more knowledge about the operations of financial systems.”

Rosario MartinezRosario Martinez
Learning and Teaching
Current city: Houston
Current job: 5th grade teacher, Houston Independent School District
Best part of your current work? “I love the classroom. Teaching science and helping students explore their ideas is exciting. Everyday I see 70 students and am given the opportunity to share our love of science.”
What keeps you in education? “Community. I have returned to my barrio. The ‘hood.’ I sometimes fear when I bring my daughters in from playing outside and then I hear gunshots. I'm back to this reality after leaving Houston to go to school. I stay in the classroom because it is the place where I can make impact in the lives of those in my community. Teacher=activist.” 
In another five years I’ll be… “In another five years I hit 10 years in the classroom. At this point, I think I might try moving into administration or some type of college preparatory community program. My goal is to get a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in the next five years as well. (In five years both my daughters will be in school!)”

Sean BreenSean Breen
Mind, Brain, Education
Current city: San Francisco
Current job: Music teacher, Cathedral School for Boys
Best part of your current work? “Providing clear, relevant translation of neuroscientific information to educators.”
What keeps you in education? “Opening up possibilities to children, allowing them a place to discover what they already know, and provide them with opportunities to develop their interests and skills even further.”
In another five years I’ll be… “Moving deeper into the world of speaking, perhaps even writing a book about what I have been able to learn through my teaching.”

blake noelBlake Noel
Prevention Science and Practice
Current city: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Current job: Doctoral candidate, University of Michigan School of Education
Best part of your current work? “I should say working on my dissertation, but the best part of my work at the moment is coaching lacrosse at a local high school. Throughout my academic career, staying involved in working with young people has proven invaluable to me as both motivation for the mind and nourishment for the soul.”
What keeps you in education? “I am still committed to the notion that intellectual development is empowerment and is thereby crucial for individual life outcomes as well as creating equity on a larger scale.”
In another five years I’ll be… “I plan to open a CMO, with an urban teacher residency, to create sustainable, positive changes in the educational experiences and outcomes of black and brown children. I believe we can create a more coherent and compassionate system that empowers students and teachers to achieve meaningful educational, social, and emotional goals.”

Daniel AllenDaniel Allen
School Leadership Program
Current city: Santa Ana, California
Current job: Executive director of school renewal, Santa Ana Unified School District
Best part of your current work? “Designing new school concepts and working with students.”
What keeps you in education? “The drive for equity.”
In another five years I’ll be… “Hopefully an urban school superintendent.”

Michael ClarkeMichael Clarke
Special Studies
Current city: Davidsonville, Maryland
Current job: Master scheduler consultant, Annexa
Best part of your current work? “Supporting schools in creating schedules that support innovative pedagogy.”
What keeps you in education? “I believe that children are our future and we need to support a future we will be proud of.”
In another five years I’ll be…”Serving in educational leadership in some school system.”

Kareen WilkinsonKareen Wilkinson
Teacher Education Program
Current city: Boston
Current job: Middle school science teacher, Frederick Pilot Middle School
Best part of your current work? “Still teaching my students things they never knew before, specifically information and data related to signs of climate change.”
What keeps you in education? “That a good education is a form of justice I believe my student are entitled to have no matter where their school is located.”
In another five years I’ll be… “Possibly looking into principal programs.”

mydhili_bayyapunediMydhili Bayyapunedi
Technology, Innovation, and Education
Current city: Bangalore, India
Current job: Founder,
Best part of your current work? “The learning — entrepreneurship, leadership, and product management are just some of the many invaluable skills that building one's own start-up provides; and satisfaction — validation from user research as well as user data that you are solving the right problems gives immense satisfaction.”
What keeps you in education? “The endless possibilities!”
In another five years I’ll be… “Helping HGSE and TIE in particular reshape its structure and offering to suit the needs of the future world of EdTech!”