DOCTORAL STUDENT AND FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR USES BIG IDEAS TO CREATE THE FUTURE OF GEN ED

Sept. 29, 2020

 

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Headshot of Megan Baker
Doctoral student Megan Baker

Megan Baker is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and graduate research associate working on the CUESThe Future of Gen Ed: Big Ideas, Interdisciplinary Thinking, and Informed Decision-Making project. Megan was selected for a Fulbright open/study research award to Chile, where she will work at the Universidad Adolfo Ibañez to use digital spaces to bring together faculty and students from the University of Arizona’s Honors College and UAI in a series of collaborative cross-institutional learning experiences and conduct research throughout the curricular design and implementation process. This is her second selection as a Fulbrighter, having previously served as an English Teaching Assistant to Thailand.  

She especially wants to offer some encouraging words about application to other students: 

When I was a junior in undergrad a friend of mine told me she was applying for the Fulbright grant. I didn’t know anything about it, and assumed that it was something only Honors students, like her, applied for. That was totally wrong, and I’m glad I pushed forward because these opportunities are for ALL students. The UArizona Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships will help you to navigate the process and make it possible (and can also tell you about other opportunities besides Fulbright). Long story short, if you are interested don’t write yourself off. Initiative, volunteer/work experience and a desire to teach or conduct research abroad go a long way.” 

What excites you most about (international or global) education? (international or global) Higher Education? 

In the broadest sense higher education plays a transformative role in the lives of individuals and communities, and this excites me. As an educator I believe that in our classrooms (in whatever form they may take) we have a unique opportunity- and responsibility- to provide students with opportunities to learn from and work alongside faculty and peers who bring different backgrounds and perspectives. My hope is that through these experiences we become more compassionate and informed scholars/individuals who are better equipped to grapple with complexity. International education initiatives (e.g. welcoming international faculty and students on our campus, study abroad, cross-national curricular partnerships) play an important role in this as it allows us to learn from the backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of our foreign peers and colleagues. 

You must be busy a graduate student taking classes and working as a CUES research assistant, what do you do for fun in your free time? 

I am lucky to have family, friends and an awesome partner to hike, camp, and ride bikes with. Being outdoors allows me to separate from school and work a bit. However, I also try to find ways to make studying and writing more enjoyable. Going to a coffee shop, study dates with a friend, sipping on a glass of wine… sometimes free time isn’t an option so it’s important to make work more enjoyable.  

Favorite class/professor? 

I don’t have a favorite class but have particularly enjoyed my graduate level courses. The small classroom environment and closeness with faculty is neat, and of course your classes are more interesting since you’ve chosen them. 

Research inspiration (person or idea)? 

I feel like my answer to the first question is the same as above.

What is something you've done in your time at UA that you're especially proud? 

After nearly ten years at UA as undergraduate student, employee, and now PhD student I have done a lot on this campus, but my favorite work is definitely the work that I do with students in the classroom. Working with first-year students in the Honors College and Blue Chip Leadership program has probably been the most rewarding piece of my work. 

What's your advice for other students who are interested, but unsure how, to pursue international opportunities? 

When I was a junior in undergrad a friend of mine told me she was applying for the Fulbright grant. I didn’t know anything about it, and assumed that it was something only Honors students, like her, applied for. That was totally wrong, and I’m glad I pushed forward because these opportunities are for ALL students. The UA Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships will help you to navigate the process and make it possible (and can also tell you about other opportunities besides Fulbright). Long story short, if you are interested don’t write yourself off. Initiative, volunteer/work experience and a desire to teach or conduct research abroad go a long way.