Why Learning & Design at Georgetown?

After ten years in education, I found a graduate program that spoke to all of my interests. This is my application essay for Georgetown University’s Masters in Learning & Design:

“For nearly a decade I have cultivated a career in developing and supporting non-traditional, innovative educational programs aimed at aiding the development of the whole person. When I see a need, I try to create something to fulfill it. I’ve worked with thousands of adolescents and educators. I’ve taught them and learned from them, always with the eye towards serving them. That has taken the form of helping rural Indiana students develop solutions to their farm problems, Guatemalan students to solve their cultural concerns, and Canadian educators to introduce more dialogue into their classrooms.

“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking.” -Maria Montessori

 Creating classroom environments and cultures conducive to learning is not merely an academic exercise. It’s a vital calling, to which I am now ready and eager to contribute in greater depth.

I have looked for opportunities for graduate level study since I began my teaching career, but I couldn’t find a program that clearly valued the nature of the classroom practitioner and the philosophical foundations of learning until now. The Masters in Learning and Design (MLD) truly excites and inspires me.

The MLD program’s combination of project-based pedagogy and rigorous theoretical exploration reflects my own interests and educational experience. I fell in love with education when I began teaching and saw the potential of a learning community to support the intellectual and emotional development of a creative young person. As I matured in my practice, I learned more about pedagogy, epistemology, developmental psychology, and theories of learning.

The linking of design with learning theory in the Learning Design Track reflects much of my personal educational philosophy. I think critically about design in all the projects I work on. The communities I work in focus as much on cultural, environmental, and social/emotional development as on intellectual content and have unique learning design challenges. The work of MLD professors, like Dr. Vovides’ on the intersection of culture and learning, are particularly interesting to me.

The program’s focus on shifting paradigms for adult learning fits perfectly with my professional work. The practical focus of the Design Studio combined with my full-time work designing and presenting professional development programs for middle and high-school educators will allow me to influence experiences for thousands of educators a year.

The MLD at Georgetown will give me the opportunity to learn from engaged, influential, leading educators. There is a great need to rethink how we teach in K-12 locally and globally. I am coming to the program with a strong foundation of knowledge and experience, yet I believe that the ideas, experiences, and connections I will make at MLD will invaluable in helping me to become an even more effective learner and educator. The 21st century requires people who can learn from and teach others in order to thrive. What this program will teach me, I’ll be able to share with hundreds of thousands of educators in my lifetime. This is how I hope to contribute to the world.”


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