Ph.D. in Education, 2014
School of Education
June 1, 2010
Doctoral Student Sets Goal of Becoming a Catalyst for Education Reform on State and National Levels
Alex Lin is a Bay Area native and a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at UC Irvine with a specialization in Educational Policy and Social Context. In 2003, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at UC Riverside with an emphasis in Political Science and Theatre. While he thoroughly enjoyed political discourse, he was graced with the opportunity to perform in some of the featured school plays ranging from contemporary to Shakespeare.
Although his Hollywood dreams never materialized, Alex stumbled on an opportunity to work at a non-profit organization called Equal Access. The organization was mainly involved with developing literacy programs to help marginalized people in third-world countries. Although the center operated in downtown San Francisco, it specialized in sending FM /AM radio broadcast of educational programming to rural and remote areas of Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Laos, and Cambodia. As a liaison to Nepal, Alex was exposed to the unstable political climate stemming from various factions clashing for control of the government, which resulted in widespread violence and displacement of civilians from their home. Because of the government’s tight control of the media, broadcast of these educational programs were vital to informing women about birth control and civic virtues. The highlight of his stint at Equal Access was completion of a $50,000 grant to community centers in Nepal to provide support for radio programming and staff for 12 million people across Nepal.
Capitalizing on his desire to travel, Alex spent a year teaching English in Japan. While he had the opportunity to serve several schools, the highlight of his career was the opportunity to help craft the curriculum at the YMCA in Tokyo. In dealing with an archaic and ineffective English program, he worked with several key teachers in creating a curriculum that would be engaging and relevant to learning English for students. The impetus for reform involved combining peripheral subjects like Art, Science, and Drama with English. Vast improvements were shown as students became more engaged in the program, while they even attempted to teach their parents English. Returning to the States, Alex went on to complete his teaching credentials in Social Science and elementary education at UC Irvine. During the program, he had the opportunity to teach World History at Lakeside Middle School while serving at various tutoring companies throughout Irvine. The experience was invaluable as he was able to apply the research and strategies gained in the courses and into the classroom.
As a first year student in the doctoral program, Alex had the fortunate experience of working with Dr. Pilar O’ Cadiz and Department Chair Deborah Lowe Vandell in an after-school assessment program covering various schools throughout California. He hopes to continue his involvement and publish a study concerning the effects of after-school program on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Moreover, throughout the summer, he will be working with Gilberto Conchas and Leticia Oseguera on a study involving high-achieving African American students and their career aspirations in the post-Obama presidency.
Next year, Alex will be taking courses from the UCLA education program to further his studies on comparative education. He hopes to conduct future studies that focus on foreign school systems and how this will help inform policy to bridge the achievement gaps among low performing students here. Someday he would like to bring an expertise on comparative education and education philosophy into the forefront of this program while working to collaborate with interested professors and students. He is excited to see where his career will go with aspirations to teach education policy in higher education while striving to become a catalyst for education reforms on the state and national level.