Hi, my name is Morgan Sheppard, and I am a proud member of the Baldwin class of 2011.
Sometimes, when people ask how I ended up on the career path I am on today, I explain to them that it was Duke that opened up my eyes to a world of possibilities. It was my class on education policy sophomore year that showed me the numerous people that can affect a child's education outside of the classroom. It was my summer spent in Muhuru Bay, Kenya through DukeEngage that exposed me to the vast inequities between a classroom in the U.S. and a classroom in a small Kenyan fishing village, and the difficulties that students faced in learning and testing in a second or third language. It was my semester abroad, with Duke in the Andes, that showed me how international organizations and a Ministry of Education could partner to improve education; but more importantly, further opened my eyes in learning to look for the often forgotten perspectives in areas of social justice. It was this semester that also showed me the joy I experience in learning and living life in another language. It was the summer internship for my Public Policy degree in Washington, D.C., that taught me more about the international NGO sector and made me think critically about how far I wanted to be from the lives I was hoping to impact. It was my student teaching experience senior year through Duke's Program in Education that showed me that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child's "A-ha" moment and being part of their learning and growth. And it was all of these together that drove me to apply for, and eventually get accepted into, Harvard Graduate School of Education's Masters in International Education Policy program.
Every single one of these experiences was intrinsically connected to the opportunities available to me at Duke, and each of them was enhanced by the lessons I learned being part of the Baldwin Scholars program: to believe in myself, to encourage other women to believe in themselves, to challenge the status quo, to strive for more, to make my own way when a way does not seem possible, and to search for and create supportive networks of friends, mentors, and mentees.
Since graduating from my masters program, I managed a research project on early grade reading in Kenya through Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), worked in district-level school turnaround for a few years with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and UP Education Network in Massachusetts, and then returned to the classroom for several years to teach elementary school in Boston and New Haven, Connecticut. I am now based in Los Angeles, California and working for UnboundEd as a Program Manager on the Innovation Team. If you are interested in chatting about my career path or current work, or want to learn more about my experience as a Baldwin, please feel free to contact me!