Holly Kosiewicz is Director of Policy Development at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan and El Salvador and has worked on research teams in Colombia, Peru, and the United States. Her work has been included and published in several book projects as well as The Journal of Higher Education, The Journal of Economic Psychology, and Education Week. Holly earned her Master’s at Brandeis University (2007) and completed her PhD at the University of Southern California (2015).
HARRIS: What were your immediate plans after finishing undergrad and did they work out the way you imagined they would?
HOLLY: I graduated from UT Austin in 2002, and my intent was to do international development work. I’m a first-generation American, and my Polish parents instilled in me the importance of understanding different cultures. So, after UT, I joined the Peace Corps and worked in Jordan. Unfortunately, we were evacuated after six months of service.…Continue Reading
Patricia Thomas is a Lead Educational Adviser for the Young Scholars Program at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Before joining Jack Kent Cooke, she taught college courses in education and trained K-12 teachers to serve students with a variety of needs, background, and interests. She has also worked as a foreign language instructor and assistant teacher in gifted and enrichment education at both public and private schools.
BROOKE: To start off, can you tell me a little bit about your educational background and what degrees you got in undergrad and how you got to where you are?
PATRICIA: Sure. I was a foreign language major as an undergraduate student. I’d had a passion for French and Spanish all through high school—and actually earlier than that for French. So I majored in French and Spanish and minored in Education and I got my teaching certificate at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Then I went to Teachers College, the graduate education school at Columbia University, and first I did a Master’s Degree in general Curriculum and Teaching and then I did a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Teaching but with a specialization in Urban and Multicultural Education.…Continue Reading
Leigh Arsenault is the Program Manager for Federal and State Policy at the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, where she oversees the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Before joining Aspen, Leigh served as a Senior Policy Advisor for higher education at the U.S. Department of Education. She also worked as National Youth Vote Director and National Policy Coordinator for Obama for America for the 2008 and 2012 elections, respectively.
THEO: Okay! So I’m going to pull up you’re LinkedIn profile.
LEIGH: Oh jeez, so you’ve been doing research!
THEO: Yes, I came prepared. . . .Okay, so you worked on the Obama campaign. How was that?
LEIGH: It was an incredible experience! It was my first job right out of college so I actually moved to New Hampshire when President Obama announced in 2007 that he was going to run. I worked the primaries as a campus organizer, so I moved to colleges across the state to organize student chapters of what was then called Students for Barack Obama.…Continue Reading
Sara Shahriari is a freelance journalist living in La Paz, Bolivia, and working in the Andean region. She reports on a broad range of topics with an emphasis on social justice, the environment, and politics. Her print work has appeared in The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, The Christian Science Monitor, and Indian Country Today, and her radio work on Deutsche Welle.
BRITTANY: Tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are now.
SARA: Well, it was a circuitous path. I studied writing in college and was always really interested in it, but wasn’t sure how that would play out into a career. I considered going to law school. I considered going back to school for a bunch of different things, and I eventually decided that journalism would be the best way to sort of merge together the things I loved. I always knew that I wanted to work abroad and I decided on Latin America because I had already studied some Spanish, and I felt that I could learn enough Spanish in a not really extended period of time to be able to work well there.…Continue Reading