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The Fall 2023 Commencement at the School of Education

Celebrating SOE's EdD and Masters Degree Graduates!

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SOE Fall '23 Graduates Entering Ceremony

AU’s Fall 2023 Commencement ceremony featured fifty-nine School of Education graduates, students from its EdD and MEd in Education Policy and Leadership programs, as well as from its Master of Arts in Teaching; International Training and Education; and Special Education: Learning Disabilities programs. Four of these graduates – Anne Marie Crane, Giuliana Haseler, Yui Itokawa, and Jasmine Rogers – share their experiences with the event and their respective programs.

Anne Marie Crane, Master of Education in Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) 

Fall '23 Master of Education Graduate Anne Marie Crane"It feels very deserving and rewarding to graduate after studying in the MEd EPL program. As an online student. I really enjoyed our Zoom classes and the close-knit virtual environment that my cohort built together. We bonded with addressing what was going on with current events, especially, as they effected the field of education and what we were working on. The faculty were always willing to extend an extra hand to help us better understand the class content. They truly cared. 

I started a new role as an Upward Bound Counselor at St. Louis Community College in November 2023, and I have been fortunate to be able to apply what I have learned in EPL to my day-to-day interactions with the college’s staff, students, and guardians. I did not have a background in education before this program, and its curriculum has been instrumental in my gaining a stronger understanding of K-12 policies and structures. I look forward to using this knowledge to learn more about and help Upward Bound Scholars."

Giuliana Haseler, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Fall '23 Master of Arts in Teaching Graduate Giuliana Haseler"Graduating was such a proud moment for me. I knew that I had put in so much hard work, and graduation felt like a huge celebration. I am so glad that I took advantage of the MAT program’s hybrid offering and studied both online and in-person while in the program. The online component made everything super accessible because I live over an hour away from AU. It's one of the things that attracted me to this program. Being in person really connected me to AU and DC.

I started in the program’s elementary education track but finished in its new non-licensure track. With this transition, the program’s faculty were so kind and knowledgeable. In fact, they were always willing to help students out in any way that they could. While I am not teaching right now, soon, I know that what I have learned in the program will help me be the best teacher I can be. I look forward to applying an antiracist lens to my future teaching endeavors so that I can help all my students."

Yui Itokawa, Master of Arts in International Training and Education Program (ITEP) 

Fall '23 ITEP Graduate Yui Itokawa"The biggest challenge I have overcome during my graduate studies these past two and a half years is financial hardship. As the sole provider for my husband and myself and supporting my family back home, financial responsibilities have affected my ability to keep up with my tuition. Moreover, my status as a full-time student and professional on a specific VISA did not allow me to earn additional funds to support my studies. I owe it to SOE for overcoming this.  

"I was granted a merit scholarship when I started my program. I couldn't have otherwise been able to afford my degree. I thought the merit award would be enough to cover the remaining tuition and fees out of pocket, but life got in the way, and I had more financial responsibilities. SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy helped me access funds for struggling students that kept me in school. With SOE’s financial support, I could focus on my studies, and I would not have completed my degree in a critically timely manner without the help."

Jasmine Rogers, EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Fall '23 EdD Graduate Jasmine Rogers"I felt a huge sense of relief during this Commencement. It was a milestone that felt…real. Other related events produced a similar feeling…the submission and defense of my dissertation, and the cap and gown and degree all arriving in the mail. However, nothing compared to being hooded at the graduation ceremony. That, for me, was a real milestone.

The coursework was challenging and thought-provoking. I appreciate that me and my cohort 4 colleagues dug deep into social issues that impact our lives and communities. We had intense conversations about what it might look like to change the face of education. It was so personal and was the first time that I was in an academic environment where it didn’t feel transactional (as in, I show up, learn, do work, and receive a grade). The work we did in this program was aimed at examining ourselves as leaders in education. I wasn't worried about the grades as much as I was concerned about making sure I could formulate words that expressed my lived experience in education. 

The people made the program so special for me. I am incredibly grateful for my cohort 4 members and my dissertation committee, the professors I had throughout the program, and my dissertation chair. There were many tough times, and they all helped me get through them and create this beautifully personal and professional milestone. I am thankful!"

SOE Fall Commencement Video

Commencement Student Address

Fall Commencement Photos