Connect with Our Talented Students and Alumni.

Our Master of Education students and alumni are not only accomplished teachers and scholars committed to academic excellence, but they are also engaged in improving practices in a broad range of fields and interests. Our graduates consistently indicate that their experience at USD played an integral role in their professional trajectory. Connect with our students and find out more.

Kelly Young Classroom Teacher Read More

Kelly Young

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

Specializations

  • STEAM

About

Kelly has been teaching upper elementary education in the San Diego Unified School District for over a decade. She has a passion for gifted and talented education, as well as culturally responsive teaching. As the Lead GATE Teacher at her current site, she has made it a priority to establish ongoing communication with GATE families, developing a community of high performing scholars that challenges, engages, and nurtures their thirst for knowledge. Kelly is also the Teacher Liaison for the SDUSD GATE District Advisory Committee where she has presented on topics such as The GATE Students and Multi-Tiered System of Supports, as well as participated in special committees focused in GATE advocacy and instruction. She has also helped to establish a community outreach program with the Islamic Center of San Diego, presenting about The Importance of Culturally Responsive Teaching to the parent community, establishing youth group readings with multi-cultural book exploration, and creating video Read Along’s during Ramadan throughout the Covid-19 school closures. Kelly is currently the SDUSD Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2020 and recipient of the California Teacher Grant 2020 through California Credit Union, with plans to begin a student-led broadcasting team at her school site.

Inspiring Quote

“It is our choices (Harry,) that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling

Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?

After beginning my career as an elementary teacher within SDUSD, I waited for around seven years to pursue a Master’s degree in Education, holding out specifically for a degree with a STEAM focus. I was beyond thrilled to discover that USD had begun to offer such a degree via an online program, allowing me to continue being an involved member of my school community, while also teaching full time and pursuing a higher level education. It was the perfect fit for me.

What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?

My favorite element of the USD Online program was the course content. I found that each course was beneficial to my teaching practice, allowing me to grow as an educator in ways that were complementary and applicable to my classroom. Not only did I learn how to incorporate the latest academic research into my teaching and data collection, but it also helped to train me on the latest science standards before they had been completely implemented.

In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?

I can honestly say that this program strengthened my teaching and helped me learn how to meet the needs of my students, while also supporting my fellow educators at my school site. I have been able to implement the varying levels of data collection across subject areas, grade levels, and even beyond my own classroom. I have grown in confidence, branching out into leadership roles at my school, in my neighboring community, and my district. This program inspired me to write grants for broadcasting technology, build partnerships with university outreach programs for my students, and mentor new teachers who are beginning their careers in education.

What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?

For someone considering this particular program, my recommendation would be to remember to schedule your time accordingly and look at the entire syllabus the moment you have access to it. I was able to balance multiple jobs, school committees, my family, and the coursework due to maintaining a very rigorous schedule. Each syllabus gave me the ability to plan ahead, schedule pockets of time for readings and projects, as well as get in that very important self-care time. Managing this program and the time it requires to succeed can be perceived as challenging, but all it really requires is careful planning, a little self-motivation, and the determination to finish to the best of your ability.

What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?

I would, and have, recommended this program to several friends, primarily because of the positive experiences that I had throughout the program. There wasn’t a single aspect of it that felt like busy work, and I can still see the impact that the courses had not only on my teaching, but on the educators I was able to train through my Action Research project as well. Years later, I am still benefiting from the level of rigor this program offered and I know it has helped to evolve my talents, skills, and teacher leadership into something truly special.

Contact Kelly
Feliciana Stevenson Dance Director Read More

Feliciana Stevenson

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

About

I am the dance director at a high school in Northern California. I teach four levels of dance with mixed grade classes from ninth through twelfth grade. My fabulous students drive me to be a better educator. I love sharing the world of dance and movement with these young minds and finding innovative ways to bringing this to my students.

Favorite Quote

“Smile On, Pass it On” & “Dancing is acting with music.”

Why USD?

I chose USD’s online Master of Education degree because when I was gathering information on different programs this one jumped out as the leader. The classes offered for the curriculum and instruction were what I was looking for. I also liked the fact that I could do the program and still work full time. USD also has a reputation of being the best for M.Ed.

Favorite thing about the program?

I really liked the pace of the classes and the amount of time it took to complete the program. I loved that I could complete my class assignments any time I wanted while still maintaining my full time career as an educator. I also loved the classes themselves with the abundant use of technology.

How has the program impacted or influenced your work as an educator?

The program has changed my life. As the first person in my family to go to college, getting my Master’s degree was my greatest accomplishment in life. It has influenced my world as I am more knowledgeable in my content area and have grown more as an educator.

Advice For Future Students

I would tell someone that is considering USD’s Online Master of Education degree program to just do it! It is done before you know it. You learn so much and are able to use what you learn immediately as you progress through.

Would you recommend the program ?

I would and have recommended this to a friend because it is a great program that you can complete while still managing your career as an educator.

Contact Feliciana
Kirsten Anderson Art Educator (Preschool- 7th Grade) Read More

Kirsten Anderson

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

Specializations

  • STEAM

About

Currently, I am an art teacher at a PK4-7th grade all-boys Catholic school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Along with my role as an art educator, I co-lead our METALS (Math, Engineering, Technology, Art, Logic, and Science) program.

Since graduating from USD with my Master in Education in the STEAM program, I have worked with my school in helping to design a TINKER lab, trained my colleagues in how to apply the design thinking methodology in their classrooms, and I incorporate the STEAM approach to learning in my art classroom.

Inspiring Quote

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.” – Albert Einstein

Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?

I chose to earn my MEd degree focusing on STEAM from USD because it was a school that offered an online program with a community-based approach. Additionally, I valued how USD offered innovative and global-minded instruction that was intended to be woven within my real-world teaching practice.

What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?

My favorite part of the MEd online program in STEAM was working with instructors and students from all over the nation who were all teachers from various backgrounds and levels. This diversity in the learning community enabled me to grow as I became a more informed educator who learned the importance of collaboration in my practice.

In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?

This program has enabled me to change my teaching methods so that I have become more of a facilitator. I have noticed that my students enjoy my classroom more as they are learning in a more Constructivist approach.

What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?

I am so glad that I have the background as an online learner who became an online teacher overnight. Having an online background as a learner enabled me to become a confident online teacher who understood how to teach art through distant learning methods that were modeled to me.

What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?

I felt that the USD MEd online program was an outstanding program that challenged me to become a better educator. I would describe the program as thoughtfully designed, relevant, challenging, and meaningful. As an experienced educator, I was highly selective in finding a program that would challenge me to bring my teaching program to the next level. I felt that in the end, this program empowered me to become a better teacher and colleague.

Contact Kirsten
Amy Zapatka Cedin, Ed.D. Educator Success Manager Read More

Amy Zapatka Cedin, Ed.D.

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

Specializations

  • Literacy & Digital Learning

About

Education was not always my forte. As a child growing up in Rhode Island, I struggled in school as I was unmotivated and lacked the confidence necessary to persist through challenging work. I was, however, fortunate to grow up in a privileged household where I always received a top notch education—and tutoring when I struggled—so that I could attend college and discover my true passion, teaching. Given the bubble in which I grew up, I never realized the opportunity and equity gaps that existed in the outside world. I first bore witness to this inequity as a young teacher in Southeast, Washington, D.C. It sparked a raging fire inside of me that has influenced my work as an educator ever since.

My passion for education equity has taken me to places like Washington, D.C. and San Jose, California, and it helped me become an effective school leader. My passion also took me back home to Rhode Island where I was fortunate enough to help open and run a high-quality school in Providence as the Dean of School Culture at Achievement First Iluminar. After fourteen years as a school based educator, I decided it was ready for a new challenge. Today, I am living in Boston and work as an Educator Success Manager for Curriculum Associates, the Ed Tech Firm who makes i-Ready. This role has given me the opportunity to support leaders and teachers across the United States as they work hard to provide a high-quality, rigorous education to all their students.

Finally—because I believe that learning is a life-long process—I recently received my Ed.D. from Johnson and Wales University. The journey to my doctorate was long; however, it was the foundation I built at USD that enabled me to successfully achieve this goal. In the future, I hope to eventually work at the university level, supporting 21st century teacher development.

Inspiring Quote

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?

My passion for continuous learning is what drove me to pursue my masters degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of San Diego. I chose this program because it was rigorous and it fit into my busy schedule. Most importantly, because of USD’s focus on social justice, every class incorporated themes of injustice and the need for transformational change.

What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?

The focus on social justice, specifically the candid conversations we had around education inequity, the history of systemic racism in our nation’s schools, the topic of “Whiteness” and the role it plays in our urban schools.

In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?

As a school based leader, I used the knowledge I gained at USD on a daily basis to support teachers and new leaders in the creation of classroom spaces that purposefully integrated technology and 21st Century Literacy Skills. Furthermore, I felt more confident leading across lines of difference and worked to instill this knowledge on my teachers. Finally, because this program is research based—with a focus on academic writing—I was well prepared to enter my doctoral program with the confidence necessary to successfully complete the rigors of that program.

What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?

You can do it! As with any change, it takes some time to find your groove but once you’ve established a routine (and manage your calendar) it is definitely achievable! Even though you are digitally connected to your professors and classmates, you still gain a lot from the program. Also, make it a point to go to graduation! It’s a huge life achievement so celebrate it! Plus, you get to meet all your cohort mates in person which was really fun!

What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?

It is rigorous, yet you can fit the work into a full-time schedule. A lot of the projects and research is practitioner-based so it can be done right at school or within your own classroom. The integrated focus on social justice is also KEY to the success of this program. After much research in the area of pre-service and in-service course work on cultural competence, the USD program is a model for effective and purposeful teacher education focused on content AND equity.

Contact Amy
Greer Lally Special Education Teacher Read More

Greer Lally

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

About

Hello! I am a 5th grade special education teacher and USD alum. I have worked with preschool through eighth grade students in a variety of settings over the course of my career. This is my 10th year teaching. I am driven by all aspects of inclusion and the small steps that we can take to move in that direction. I am especially passionate about UDL, as I believe it has the power to help all learners reach their potential in an inclusive setting. I describe myself as an advocate for families first and foremost.

Fun Fact

I spend my summers following my favorite band, and traveling coast to coast.

Why USD?

USD’s M.Ed. in Inclusive Learning is so specific to my career goals, and so unique to special education.

Favorite thing about the program?

I enjoyed the online format that let me continue to teach full time, as well as the modules that created a unique discussion format that I believe encouraged more involvement and reflection than the typical classroom.

How has the program impacted or influenced your work as an educator?

USD’s program helped me to redefine my teaching pedagogy, future goals, and focus on the specific aspects of special education that drive me to continue to evolve as an educator.

Advice For Future Students

Write down any and all concerns and speak to your advisor directly about them. Keep your advisor in close contact throughout the program. You are always supported at USD, so once you find that go-to person, keep them involved in your program and overall goals.

Would you recommend the program ?

Without a doubt, I would recommend this program. USD has designed a strong program for working educators, with inspiring literature and projects fit to your interests, and student needs. I couldn’t imagine a better model for graduate school as a working educator.

Contact Greer
Janet Cabezut Educator Read More

Janet Cabezut

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

Specializations

  • Curriculum & Instruction

About

I am currently a fourth grade teacher. I am working with my students to stay successful and motivated during this break in our routine. Helping to create a sense of well being with my students while we navigate to a new normal.

Inspiring Quote

“If we live in the past , we live with regret. If we live in the future, we live with worry. If we live in the present, we live with peace.”

Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?

I wanted a program that would allow me to explore different avenues of learning. USD allowed me to pick some of my courses that I felt were relevant to my career choice.

What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?

I learned so much, not only from the instructors, but from my fellow participants in the program. It was a great way to collaborate and get new perspectives on old concepts.

In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?

I have to say that right now, I would be lost without what I learned at USD. I have a greater understanding of the technology that I need to use right now with my students. If I had not participated in the program I know that I would have not been able to get up on-line and be as proficient as I am.

What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?

We are entering into a new era in our world right now. We are all creating a different sense of normalcy, with that comes anxiety. Anything worth accomplishing will make you feel somewhat uncomfortable, but that means it is worth it. Being on-line now, gives us connection that we would not have otherwise. It is a safe learning environment and the professors are always willing to help.

What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?

The people that I met and worked with made such a big impact on me.

Contact Janet
Lindsey Bird Teach and Language Institute Coordinator Read More

Lindsey Bird

Student Ambassador

Degree Program

  • Master of Education

Specializations

  • Literacy & Digital Learning

About

Over the past decade I helped to develop and run a specialized program serving immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking high school students. I wore many hats- classroom teacher (ELD Geography), program coordinator, community activist, and policy lobbyist for the needs of newcomers at the state and local level. In May 2020, I will transition from this role in one school district to independently consult for any school or district aiming to better meet the educational, linguistic, cultural, and social-emotional needs of students new to the United States.

Inspiring Quote

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid any more. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”- Cesar Chavez

Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?

The ease at which I could adjust the time needed to earn the degree around my personal and professional obligations.

What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?

Graduation! I encourage everyone to travel to San Diego and participate in person if possible. It was wonderful to meet those I had developed relationships with online in person.

In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?

This degree reaffirmed my dedication to social justice through education.

What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?

I was skeptical myself. In hindsight, that discomfort and growth I experienced as a digital student was as beneficial to my career as the content itself. As I type this, we are experiencing distance learning due to COVID-19. My experience as a digital student has definitely made me a better online educator!

What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?

I never felt alone. I always felt supported. In the end, it was worth every moment of my time and every penny I spent. I have already talked two colleagues into earning their degree from USD and both of them feel the same.

Contact Lindsey