Author Archives: gochoa12

Spring Break: Estilo Colombia!

Spring break for students at HGSE means many things; a much needed break, a chance to recharge, and for others a chance to compliment their in-the-classroom learning.  Fourteen students from the Harvard’s Divinity, Kennedy, and Education school collaborated on an opportunity to participate in a study trek in Colombia.

Former Colombian minister of education Maria Fernanda Campo, Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, played a key role in helping to organize the study trek.  Through her help, we were fortunate to meet with a wide variety of education programs.  We met with public schools, charter schools, private universities, public universities, foundations, and even had the opportunity to visit the presidential palace and be greeted by Colombia’s first lady María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera.

We spent time in Bogotá as well as Cartagena to learn about the challenges an opportunities faced within the education system.  While each student had their own takeaways from the trip, I take away two things. One, significant learning outcomes can take place for students without millions of dollars, all you need are educators, parents, and learning communities committed to the future of its youth.  Two, Colombian people are eager to reframe the public narrative that has been portrayed by outsiders, Colombia is proud and looking to shed the negative aspects of the reality they have experienced.  Its people are hard workers, committed, intelligent, happy, proud, and welcomed us with open arms and plates full of food everywhere we went. Beyond the great educational and cultural learning I experienced, what I will never forget is the cariño I was given.  I promised to help reframe their story and I look forward to being back with all my family, hasta la próxima.

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Harvard students at the top of Monserrate. Bogota, Co.

Harvard students at Palacio de Nariño.

Harvard students at Palacio de Nariño.

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Harvard students at La Universidad de La Salle with students from Utopia.

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Castillo de San Felipe.

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Harvard students at el Departamento de Educacion, Cartagena, Co.

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Presentación cultural.

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Oh yeah, we also went to the beach. Playa Blanca.

Gerardo Ochoa is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education Program.  He has dedicated his professional journey to address issues of college access, persistence, affordability, and helping students find their life purpose. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Gerardo now calls Portland, OR home.  Follow Gerardo on twitter at @gerardoochoa.

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Think About It

One of the best parts about being at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is the opportunity to listen to different experts in their field. In the first couple months that I have been here, I have been fortunate to learn from a wide array of guest speakers, documentaries, and panelists. At HGSE, you’ll find ways to be engaged outside of the classroom and find the topics of interest, especially given the inequities in education at every level across the world.

Think About It - Featured Students

Think About It – Featured Students

Last semester, I had the great privilege to attend the Televisa Foundation official “Think About It” campaign. The campaign aims to encourage the roughly half a million undocumented youth to register for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Program to gain the legal right to work and not fear deportation. Advocates of the undocumented youth would admittedly state that although DACA is a great first step, it is still only a band-aid solution instead of a much-needed comprehensive immigration reform.

As a student in the Higher Education Program interested in equity, access, and college affordability, empowering disenfranchised communities to gain access to a college education is central to my mission. The institutional support in receiving a warm welcome by Dean Ryan and the involvement of Professor Roberto Gonzalez in collaborating with the Televisa Foundation and the multiple community organizations reinforces HGSE’s mission that Education is for everyone.

As I think about the great privilege of being exposed to endless opportunities here at HGSE, I can’t help but think of the youth who want to be here, but can’t. If you yourself are interested in education for all, I challenge you to Think About It.


Gerardo Ochoa is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education Program.  He has dedicated his professional journey to address issues of college access, persistence, affordability, and helping students find their life purpose. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Gerardo now calls Portland, OR home.  Follow Gerardo on twitter at @gerardoochoa.

Exploring Stereotype Threat with Claude Steele

This year, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) launched  “Community Conversations” that aim to focus the entire community on a particular series of dialogues for each academic year. This year’s Community Conversations theme is “Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity”. On Appian Way, we are engaging in an ongoing discussion about the challenges and opportunities associated with topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to our arrival this fall, and in preparation for this year’s Community Conversation, Dean Ryan encouraged us to read Whistling Vivaldi, Dr. Claude Steele’s book about stereotype threat. The book explores how negative stereotypes associated with a group that one identifies with, can negatively effect multiple parts of one’s life. He particularly highlights the affect that internalized stereotype threat can have on academic performance. Whether the negative stereotypes are related to gender, race and ethnicity, or athletic ability, his work highlights that we are all impacted by stereotype threat in one way or another.

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Educational Technologies

Google Glass, what’s my grade? Testing out new education technologies at the Education Technology Showcase.  Not going to lie, currently some of these new technologies seem more like toys than educational tools. We’ll see what the future holds.

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Gerardo Ochoa, HEP & Nick Chatman, EPM testing out Google Glass.

Gerardo Ochoa is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education Program.  He has dedicated his professional journey to address issues of college access, persistence, affordability, and helping students find their life purpose. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Gerardo now calls Portland, OR home.  Follow Gerardo on twitter at @gerardoochoa.

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