New PhD Students Share Commitment to Urban Schools

The five new doctoral candidates share an interest and commitment to addressing many of the problems plaguing urban school districts—from closing the achievement gap to finding ways to recruit and retain high-quality teachers.

“These five outstanding students, representing a variety of backgrounds and interests, will benefit from the unique interdisciplinary approach only Johns Hopkins can offer,” said Dean David Andrews. “They will also have the opportunity to study with some of the nation’s lending educational researchers.”

The four-year PhD program was introduced in 2013 to prepare an exceptional core of top scholars in education research, policy and practice who possess the analytical capabilities for identifying problems and crafting solutions beyond one academic discipline. The research-focused program draws upon the intellectual resources from across the Johns Hopkins community, and provides an extraordinary learning environment that promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among students and distinguished scholars.

Becky Goodwin

Why I chose Johns Hopkins?

I love the way that the program is tailored to the interests of each student. I believe that education should be a flexible experience, not a premeditated plan. Johns Hopkins facilitates this for each of us, which is very unique for a doctoral program.

My goal for the program?

My goal is to find ways to improve recruitment of high-quality teachers. I want to study influencing agents for high-achieving students in various school settings that impact their choice to either go into education or another major. I hope these findings can be used to shift some of these barriers so that we can increase the number of high-achieving, intrinsically motivated teachers in our field so that all students have access to quality teaching.

 

Daniel Shackelford

Why I chose Johns Hopkins?

My interest in pursuing a doctorate is to ensure urban students possess the skills necessary to succeed as positive agents of change. The Center for Research and Reform in Education, as well as the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, provide a unique setting to further research on educational inequality in order to improve schools in some of our poorest neighborhoods.

My goal for the program?

I’m planning to study the increasing segregation prevalent in our country’s education system and to learn how to better address the needs of our nation’s urban youth in order to help close the widening achievement gap.

 

Tyler Ames

Why I chose Johns Hopkins?

The faculty is world-class and can teach me at a high level in the type of cross-disciplinary research that I want to do. I get to study in a school that is consistently ranked first in the field of graduate education degrees, together with the leaders in my research field. To top it all off, I have great support. For both my time as a graduate student, as well as my career afterwards, Hopkins was the best choice.

My goal for the program?

Education reform is happening in this country and I want to be a part of the conversation. Research is an integral part of reform and lays the groundwork for change. As I progress through the program and after graduation, my goal is to become a player in that scene. I want to be one of the people who helps shape where education goes in this country through my informed research.

 

Tristan Hann

Why I chose Johns Hopkins?

I wanted to be part of a program with a strong collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research that also strives to develop close ties with the community. The School of Education gives me that opportunity.

My goal for the program?

I’m interested in continued research in curriculum and school development. My goal is to increase student motivation through an empowering curriculum that elicits social change and gives students more ownership over their learning and lives. I would like to develop and implement successful project-based, community-relevant learning programs in urban public school districts.

 

Ashley Grant

Why I chose Johns Hopkins?

I chose the School of Education because of its renowned reputation for research and excellent researchers and faculty. Additionally, I valued JHU’s commitment to education reform, working with real schools to create research that will have greater impact and applicability.

My goal for the program?

Retaining good teachers in one of my primary research concerns. I want to develop my skills as a researcher in order to contribute to a better understanding of the teacher retention crisis that is especially plaguing urban school districts, like Baltimore. Studies show that about half of new teachers leave within five years. I aspire to confirm the school practices that support quality teachers to stay in the classroom and to continue their great work.

5 students standing for a picture
Becky Godwin
Daniel Shackelford
Tyler Ames
Tristan Hann
Ashley Grant