The Journey from Masters to Doctoral Student at the University of Michigan

Kimberly Reyes came to the University of Michigan and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) as a master’s student in 2010, and has recently chosen to pursue her doctorate here as well, largely because of the experiences she had working as a research assistant at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.

In a recent interview, Kim said that one reason she chose to continue her education at Michigan is the relationship that professors and students have in the School of Education’s CSHPE.  “I loved the atmosphere here.  Professors push you out of your comfort zone intellectually,” she explained.  “I was also able to take classes with PhD students and saw how they work hard to think more deeply about the issues we are studying to really understand them.”

At the National Forum, Kim learned how much research informs policy and practice, or at least should, in the application of higher education and administration.  She says that the “actionable research” that the National Forum does on higher education is, “hugely important, especially for marginal populations and undocumented students.  I think that what we learn here and our focus on research can help students become better practitioners.”

One reason that Kim loves studying higher education issues so much is the impact that it can have on changing someone’s life, but she understands that it takes hard work for that kind of change to happen.  “Coming from the Latino community, it is unacceptable to me that so many people in my own community are uneducated.  While studying at Michigan, I’ve learned that aspects of higher education in this country are deeply flawed but also highly complex,” she says.  “That is why research matters.  It needs to be utilized, disseminated and made consumable to different positions within the field – policy makers, institutional presidents, admissions counselors, and financial aid officers.”

Kim and another recent CSHPE graduate and National Forum Legendary Musician, Omar Hussain, were recently part of a new National Forum research dissemination strategy, as they presented a report completed by the National Forum at the College Board’s Prepàrate conference on May 31 in Miami.  The conference focused on educational issues affecting the Latino community by “bringing together professionals from higher education, secondary schools, middle schools and community-based organizations.”

Kim and Omar presented findings from the National Forum’s report, Reconciling Federal, State, and Institutional Policies Determining Educational Access for Undocumented Students:Implications for Professional Practice. To receive a complete digital copy of this report, sign up here.

Check back soon to hear our report on the conference!

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