Californian Armando Madrid finished his online Ed.D. in Diversity and Equity in Education (EPOL) from the College of Education at Illinois and now, he says he has a seat at the table to advocate and elevate the experiences of marginalized communities in higher education.
What did you enjoy most about your online degree program experience at Illinois?
"From orientation to graduation, the modality of online learning did not take away from the experience and caliber of a doctoral degree. Within the classroom, group work, individual meetings, my online experience throughout my degree was supportive and met my needs as a student."
What were you doing before your online degree program at UIUC?
"Prior to my online doctorate program I was working within the division of Student Affairs as an Assistant Dean of Students at the University of California, Merced."
Why did you choose your program and Education at Illinois?
"I choose EPOL with an emphasis in Diversity and Equity in Education because with my passion for supporting marginalized students and staff, I wanted to continue my education to increase my learning through the focus on leadership and policy development through a diversity and equity lens. The skills and knowledge I gained through my program elevated what I already knew coming in and offered me additional opportunities to cross-collaborate and dive deeper into my chosen field of study.
"As a full-time employee and parent, I was looking for a program that was flexible and rigorous. From the orientation session through my defense I was given various opportunities and resources to feel connected to my classmates, my advisor, and faculty. As a first-generation student I felt empowered to follow my passion in seeking a terminal degree."
What are you doing now, and how has your online degree experience helped you?
"Since graduation, I have taken on a new role at a different institution. I am now the Associate Dean of Students for Student Advocacy and Support at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). My primary role is to ensure students are provided with the tools and resources needed to be successful in their academic, personal, and career endeavors. As a first generation student of color, I have been passionate to support diverse student and staff, earning my Ed.D. has given me the opportunity to sit in spaces not normally occupied by people like me. Having a seat at the table has allowed me opportunities to advocate and elevate the experiences of marginalized communities."