Student Spotlight: Avani Morales

Avani Morales is an exceptional student at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education with an interest in music implementation in education. 


Morales first received her undergraduate degree at NYU in Child Education and Special Education and earned a Master’s degree in Literacy Education at Rutgers GSE. Morales is currently in pursuit of an Ed.D. in Education with a focus on Education, Culture, and Society. To date, she has taught for fifteen years, instructing 2nd grade for two years, taught 3rd for seven years, and 2020 is her sixth year teaching fourth grade.

Given the advice from a professor, she felt encouraged to enroll elsewhere in order to gain a different perspective because Morales learned all she could at NYU. Choosing the Rutgers Graduate School of Education came down to its great education program. Being “close to home” was also a nice attribute. Morales was specifically interested in studying Literacy because of her experience first-hand of 6th graders having literacy levels similar to first-grade reading levels.

Recently, Morales was on NJTV promoting equity as she discussed specifically distance learning and utilizing music to improve literacy. She noticed that children responded to the integration of current songs. As students looked at the lyrics and recited the words, it ultimately helped with fluency. Furthermore, she talked about kids stuck at home and their lack of access to the internet for distance learning and ways to reconcile those issues.

What inspires Morales the most about education is the current developments in progressive instruction. From as early as she can remember, Morales always had a passion for teaching but seeing instructors know children by first-name basis, the interactivity, and the care fueled her love for it. Morales reflects on her first course in the Ed.D program which was Leadership with Dr. Lugg. “ I left every night in complete awe of her knowledge, the content, and my colleagues’ experiences. Dr. Lugg brought inequities in education to the forefront of that class and had us apply what we were learning to our own work, analyzing the leaders around us.”

The Ed.D. program at GSE in Culture and Society allowed her to absorb a plethora of new information about education and continues to be inspired by research, articles, and innovative ways of teaching students in a progressive way that promotes intellectual growth for the next generation.

To destress, Morales enjoys playing flag football and going to CKO (Kickboxing).