Student Profile: Deirdre Dougherty

Teaching seventh grade in a large, diverse public school district in a metropolitan area helped Deirdre Dougherty realize that she had many questions surrounding the relationships between education, race, identity, citizenship, and belonging, prompting her to explore Ph.D. programs in education. She chose Rutgers Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) Ph.D. program in Educational Theory, Policy, and Organization because of the GSE’s commitment to equity in education.

During the first summer of her doctorate program, Deirdre seized the opportunity to serve as a research assistant in Guatemala for six weeks, aiding Dr. Beth Rubin with fieldwork surrounding research on youth civic identity in post-conflict Guatemala.Deirdre and Dr. Rubin used images to evoke discussion with young people about their civic experiences, beliefs, and feelings, in order to understand how educational policies aimed at civic reconstruction play out in practice. Deirdre presented their findings in 2014 at the American Educational Research Association conference and the History of Education Society conference.
Deirdre’s research interests began to focus on issues children of color face and the patterns and deep-rooted history of the issues after taking the course History of African American Education with Dr. Benjamin Justice.
Deirdre is currently the GSE Student Affairs Committee (G-SAC) president. She became involved with the organization because she wanted to help foster solidarity among all GSE students.
“Students at the GSE have variety of backgrounds which allow us to bring different ideas and perspectives to the table,” noted Deirdre. “My colleagues have enriched my work by helping me realize and understand the complexity of educational phenomena.”
G-SAC hosts a variety of events to get students together including weekly coffee socials, poster sessions, mid-semester and end-of-semester celebrations, professional development workshops, and brown bag seminars.
Deirdre enjoys spending her free time with her partner, who is also a Rutgers Ph.D. student in Journalism and Media Studies, and her dog Coco. Together they spend time outdoors, visiting the local beach and mountain biking.
To learn more about the Ph.D. program, please visit the program webpage.
Join G-SAC during one of their open committee meetings the first Wednesday of every month at 10:30am in room 11 of the GSE. To learn more about G-SAC,please visit their webpage.