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Part of the Conversation: Rachel Hanebutt, MBE'16

 Rachel Hanebutt, MBE'16Troubled by the frequent reports of race-related aggression in the news, Rachel Hanebutt decided to get involved.

“I wanted to become a part of the conversation of decreasing interpersonal violence, starting with the ways we educate youth,” she says.

So Hanebutt enrolled in HGSE’s Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Program with the goal of studying the ways in which neuroscience can inform bias. Over the course of the year her goals expanded to include an exploration into gender-based violence and sex education. Next fall, she plans on continuing the work she started at HGSE as a student in Emerson College’s Civic Media, Art and Practice master’s program, where she will explore how game design and media influence youth.

“I am looking forward to pursuing opportunities that allow me to find innovative ways to advance social impact initiatives, through media literacy, health education, and relationship building skills for adolescents,” she says, noting that she plans to continue to study interpersonal violence prevention, and hopes to eventually earn her doctorate.

“It has been such a pleasure having Rachel in the Mind, Brain, and Education Program this year,” says Lecturer Todd Rose, director of MBE. “Her combination of worth ethic, intelligence, and passion for creating equitable and inclusive environments has been an inspiration to classmates and faculty alike. It is a privilege to honor her with this award.”

Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for MBE, Hanebutt answered some questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.

What was your greatest fear before attending HGSE? Honestly, my greatest fear before attending HGSE was feeling as though I was not knowledgeable enough about education simply because I have never formally been a teacher. What I quickly realized was that everyone, in their own way, is an expert in education because we have all been direct witnesses of educators our entire lives. Throughout my time at HGSE, I have learned that every student enrolled at this school is incredibly interesting and unique; it is through embracing this uniqueness that we are able to form such an amazing group of education-minded professionals.         

What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education? Something I’ve learned, which I did not anticipate learning, was that translating science into something usable for educators and other professionals is incredibly difficult, but increasingly important. We always talk about the misalignment between theory and practice, but HGSE taught me that there are ways we can work to amend this divide, it just takes an interdisciplinary perspective, like that used in the Mind, Brain and Education Program.

Any special study spots? The section of couches and chairs behind the front desk at Gutman Library is my absolute favorite. No matter what day it is, I always end up seeing so many influential classmates, connecting with others about events coming up, and just having amazing impromptu debates about the most interesting things.

What will you change in education and why? I plan to normalize healthy and ethical sexual and emotional relationship education in middle and high school. Some people might call it sex education, but I plan to reframe the ways we view education to also include priorities of gender equality and preventing interpersonal violence.

Despite your busy schedule, you always make time for …The Celtics…Although few people know this, I am a huge basketball fan and a loyal fan of Coach Brad Stevens, since he attended my alma mater (DePauw University). I have loved taking time away from studying to hang out at TD Garden with friends.

The number one, biggest surprise of the last year was … Winning this award — am I allowed to say that? I am still incredibly shocked, humbled, and honored to have been nominated by my peers for this award. Every person I have met at HGSE has contributed to my experience and my life has been changed for the better because of each and every one of them!

Read about the other recipients of this year's Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award.