Master’s student Isabella Arreola was named the 2021 Ruth J. Simmons Urban Education Policy Scholar, which includes a full-tuition award and recognizes the UEP graduate student who most epitomizes the former Brown University president’s commitment to educational equity and social justice. The Annenberg Institute’s Board of Overseers established the Ruth J. Simmons Urban Education Policy Scholarship as a permanent annual award in 2012.
Isabella began the Urban Education Policy program in June and came to Brown University from the University of California, Berkeley where she completed her undergraduate studies in Mathematics.
What drew you to the UEP program?
I was drawn to the UEP program’s multidisciplinary structure and commitment to advancing the cause of justice and reforming systems to prevent structural inequalities.
What do you hope to accomplish through the UEP program?
My goal is to further develop my research skills, expand my foundational knowledge, and gain practical experience in hopes of being able to leverage educational research and policy to create educational equity in my professional career.
How did your undergraduate education and any previous work experience lead or motivate you to pursue a master's in urban education policy?
I started tutoring when I was in high school and continued to seek teaching opportunities while studying mathematics at UC Berkeley. Throughout each of these experiences, I could see the glaring education inequities that students experienced. I was also able to see a variety of support systems in place for students, tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. These experiences motivated me to pursue a master’s in urban education policy, so I could have a hand in creating effective and accessible resources and opportunities like these for underserved students.
What has been a highlight of the program?
A highlight has been getting to know everyone in the program and being surrounded by people with a shared passion for education.
What do you enjoy most about being at Brown and in Providence?
I have enjoyed exploring Providence and Brown, and experiencing the beautiful New England fall!
What sorts of career-building skills and knowledge have you gained since joining the program?
I’ve had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge and understanding of education policy research by learning how to conduct my own research as well as how to evaluate existing research on policy and practice in urban education.
What will you be working on during your internship?
In my internship with the Central Falls School District, I work with the Director of Data and Policy (a UEP alum!) on quantitative analyses to drive school and district improvement. I will also be working with The Annenberg Institute to support attendance analyses.