Learning & Education Studies major Claire Follis is passionate about education inequality. She believes that a child's quality of education should not be dependant on the zip code they live in. That defining principle is what motivates her in both her research and professional work.
A little bit about Claire
Q. Tell me about your decision to pursue a degree in Learning & Education Studies (LES)?
A. I have a passion for education but didn't want to teach. I'm very interested in policy, administration, and learning science as a whole. Initially, I wanted to get into education policy and even took up an internship at a think tank in DC. However, my focus throughout the years has shifted to Learning Science Research, specifically in self efficacy.
Q. Why do you think LES is an important program?
A. LES is an important program because it's extremely eye opening to the systemic injustices of education and focuses on creating discussion around understanding and helping to correct them. It's a program where you are not just learning, but stepping into a conversation with educators and policy makers to understand how to best address the complexities of the world of education.
Q. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned?
A. I think the most interesting classes I took were in linguistics or lifetime goal development/achievement with Professor Napalitano.
Q. What do you enjoy about the College of Education?
A. I love how small the college is, I felt like I could build relationships with my professors easily and that they were there to support me. Additionally, I think the college is very progressive. Coming from the south, I know a lot of people who didn't get an education that truly made them understand their privilege and role in both the world and in education. I'm very thankful for the willingness to make students uncomfortable by acknowledging the privilege they carry and how the education system in America has perpetuated injustice.
Q. What motivates you? What are you most excited or passionate about?
A. I'm passionate about education inequality, and personally believe that a child's quality of education should not be dependant on the zip code they live in. This is what motivates me in both my research and my professional work.
Q. Have you done any research projects in your program? Tell me a little bit about your work and the mentorship you’ve received from your instructors.
A. I worked in the IDEALL lab with Professor Rob Lindgren and his team when I was a sophomore and I have worked closely with Professors Chris Napalitano, Chad Lane, and Cynthia D'Angelo. They have guided me through my personal research for my capstone project, which is measuring the effect of one-time STEM intervention on young girls' self-efficacy in relation to STEM.
Q. Have you studied abroad? Where and what was your experience like?
A. I took my last year to work "abroad.” I have been working for a start-up in Silicon Valley since September 2019.
Q. Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
A. Kappa Kappa Gamma (2015-2019) MakerGirl (2016-Present) Women's Ultimate Frisbee (2017-2019)
Q. What are your plans after graduation?
A. I will continue to work full time in Palo Alto, CA for a tech startup. Additionally, I will be continuing research with the Graduate School of Education at Stanford in relation to their new MakerLab.