Interview with Patricia Thomas

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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.…

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Interview with Leigh Arsenault

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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.…

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