GSEHD Alumni Provide Insight on Inclusivity, Diversity, and Accessibility in Education

Four International Education Program (IEP) Alumni (Alison Grimsland, Matt Sacco, Ben Sylla, and William Webber) recently returned to GSEHD discuss their career paths and provide advice to current IEP students. While each of their current positions are functionally different, they all work to promote inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in education.

Alison Grimsland (Education Specialist,World Bank) works with governments to implement education inclusion in various countries while Ben Sylla (Evidence Team Lead, USAID Office of Education) oversees a team of specialized technical staff that report on USAID achievements in the Education sector. Matt Sacco (Director of Enrollment Partnerships, George Mason University) connects students and families to resources that open doors to world-class education and opportunities while William Webber (Associate Membership Director, Partners of the Americas) develop initiatives to strengthen the capacity of volunteer-led groups that work to solve the Western Hemisphere’s toughest challenges.

Despite their different roles, there was a distinct commonality that arose amongst the alumni during their discussion -- GSEHD provided them with courses that enabled them to foster inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility outside of the classroom and beyond.

For instance, Alison Grimsland noted that an IEP course on the foundations of assessment, testing, and measurement in education helped her to create a form that she uses to evaluate education inclusion. Matt Sacco and William Webber emphasized that the flexibility of the IEP program allowed them to take courses such as education in Islam and Latin American studies, thus diversifying their own perspectives on education.

But before wrapping up the discussion, the alumni left students with advice on how to promote and foster environments of inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in education, as well as how to be successful at doing so. The advice that resonated with the alumni the most, however, was Ben Sylla’s claim that “In an international workplace, someone can always provide you with a new perspective or solution. Never worry alone”.