On September 18, at Askwith Hall, director of the International Education Policy (IEP) Program, Professor Fernando Reimers, Ed.M.’84, Ed.D.’88, presented his recent book, One Student at a Time. Written in collaboration with HGSE alumni of the IEP Program, One Student at a Time provides a series of alumni accounts of their work experiences, covering a wide array of careers in schools, governments, international organizations, and nonprofits and demonstrating the impact of HGSE on the global education movement.
During the discussion, Reimers — who was joined by several alumni contributors to the volume — shared how One Student at a Time came together. “It’s important for those who teach to follow up with their graduates and I enjoy being in touch with my former students,” said Reimers, who keeps in touch with alumni via Skype and email, and, if the opportunity presents itself, in-person visits while on work trips. It was during this contact that Reimers began asking his former students a series of questions relating to their post-HGSE work in global education, ultimately utilizing these conversations to compile One Study at a Time.
As Reimers spoke with his former students he noticed some common challenges they face in their work and the solutions they found to overcome these struggles. “To understand the challenge, understand the people involved,” said Reimers. “Understanding how to solve an education challenge requires continuous learning.”
The panelists were open about the ways in which their time at HGSE, including Reimers’ class, has carried them out into the world and transmitted into their work.
“HGSE left me with a major question to consider in my work, ‘What does best practice look like in different contexts?’” said Austin Volz, Ed.M.’13, research and development associate at Avenues: the World School.
Offering advice to current HGSE students who may be interested in working for major global organizations, Myra Khan, Ed.M.’15, education consultant at the World Bank, said, “The number one thing to do is network. It’s important to network without an aim or goal and get to know people, their interests and their projections. It’s a mixture of hard work, perseverance, and ‘luck’, which comes in the form of networking.”
For those students who are still unsure of what they want to do after graduation, Ana Gabriela Pessoa, Ed.M.’07, vice president of product and innovation for emerging markets at Pearson Education, offered her own advice. “I feel like we are living in an experimental era where we have to ‘see’ things with our own eyes,” she said. “So that’s what I did. After graduation, I went to Brazil for three months and emailed everyone who I thought I could learn something from. Be open and diverse.”
Each of the panelists remarked on the importance — in all areas of global education — of working together with stakeholders in order to tackle a problem, find a solution, and reach an objective outcome.
“One of the major challenges is to make sure the voice of every stakeholder is heard,” said Wilson Aiwuyor, Ed.M.’12, operations analyst at Global Partnership for Education. Added Luis Garcia de Brigard, Ed.M.’07, co-founder at Envoys and former vice minister at the Colombian Ministry of National Education, “The big changes that have transformed education happened with a small team.”