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Ms. Atwell begins innovative graduate program

Photo by Don Hagopian
Photo by Don Hagopian

During the summer before the 2016-2017 school year, history and social sciences instructor Catherine Atwell began working towards her Global Executive Doctor of Education at the USC Rossier School of Education. The two-year program consists of both online individual work and five weeks per year of inperson classes that take place in various global cities.

According to Atwell, this program is the perfect union of her desires to further her knowledge about education and research, and her already existing passion for international awareness. Atwell was enrolled in a graduate program at Stanford when she was younger, but unfortunately had to leave because of personal reasons.

“When I was in graduate school before, I really enjoyed the process of historical research. While still loving the classroom and teaching, I just wanted to engage that other side of my professional self,” Atwell said.

Atwell said she appreciates the program’s international aspect and global focus. All of Atwell’s classes have had some international component to them, so she said that she is excited to extend her passion for the topic.

“It’s the only program of its kind and intentionally brings together educators from all over the world. People who are in my cohort are super interesting, really smart and are all really dedicated educators. I have really enjoyed learning from them”.

Atwell was first introduced to her fellow students when they met at USC for two weeks this past summer. She will see them again this coming week in Hong Kong for a week.

“Our group really bonded, and we get along very well. We have a group-chat through WhatsApp, that we all are on all the time”, she said.

Atwell said she hopes to take advantage of the program by further increasing the focus on research at Marlborough.

“We have a really strong Honors Research program, but that’s a little different than the day to day skills [students] need both in our society and to succeed in college,” she said.

Research should be more manageable for students who do not have the time to commit to an entire program necessary for such an intensive project. Rather, Atwell said she wanted to increase her focus on research on more of a day-to-day basis.

Atwell also noted that she finds it interesting to be back in the classroom as a student herself.  

“It’s good for teachers to be on that other side every so often to realize what the student experience is like, and how we can make [it] better” she said.