Education Breeds Educators: Why So Many Graduates Choose to Give Back

By Brittany Trilford

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace” (Confucius) — a chain reaction epitomized by NYU Abu Dhabi graduates all over the world. Come the day of commencement, confident and hopeful students leave the Saadiyat campus in search of a better and more peaceful world and they find it on the path of education.

Over 40 percent of our alumni are in graduate school studying at the world’s top 30 universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings), including Harvard University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Columbia University, Tsinghua University, University College London, University of Pennsylvania, London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Toronto, and New York University. While they go to learn, many also go to teach.

Many also strive to give back through education in research and policy positions with 7 percent taking a strong interest in non-traditional post-graduate options such as fellowships and training programs. From crafting educational policy at the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research to guiding therapy at The New England Center for Children, our alums are giving back to the education sector. Alumna Alena Mikhalkovich, a student support specialist at Elite Private School in Abu Dhabi, explained “I guide and support students in university and career choice. As part of enhancing the student learning and personal development process, I build enduring relationships with the UAE-based and foreign universities, education organizations, and other parties."

Education is a central organizing activity of most societies, and the institutions created around education take many forms across the world. NYUAD’s courses, the CORE curriculum, and the Education pre-professional track ask questions that run to the core of understanding cultures and societies. Understanding the purpose of education, how societies educate their people through both formal institutions and other types of socialization, and how education both mirrors and shapes the societies that create it.

NYUAD’s students are accustomed to engaging with the larger issues of equity, social justice, educational “rights,” and civic responsibilities and are well-versed to think critically about the sociology of education, educational policy, and research. From confident students to hopeful graduates, and from educated alumni to educators.

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