Class of 2022: Daniel Rodriguez-Segura

“Complexity does not necessarily define the most valuable research. What really matters is asking the right questions and framing the answers in the right light.” Daniel is graduating with a Ph.D. in Education Policy.

Audrey Breen

Daniel Rodriguez Segura will officially become a double ‘Hoo when he earns his Ph.D. in education policy this May from the UVA School of Education and Human Development, having already earned a M.A. in economics from UVA. Growing up in Santo Domingo de Heredia in Costa Rica, Rodriguez-Segura made his way to Virginia to study economics as an undergraduate at Washington and Lee University. Now with three degrees in hand, he is focused on improving education in developing countries around the globe.

Q. What brought you to the UVA School of Education & Human Development for your program of study?

I would say that there were three primary reasons that drew me here. First, the faculty in my program and the quality of the research they were producing persuaded me that this is a place where I would definitely grow from a professional standpoint. Secondly, the interpersonal factor played a big role. This is a tight-knit program where the staff, faculty, and students all care about each other, and where we are committed to everyone else's growth and well-being. Finally, I love Charlottesville, and I cannot imagine a better place to have spent a few years in grad school!

Q. What area of scholarship did you focus on while here?

Broadly speaking, I research education in developing countries. For my dissertation, I focused on foundational literacy and numeracy in the early primary grades in Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Kenya. However, I am broadly interested in ways to measure and improve education in resource-constrained environments around the world.

Q. What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you’ve been here?

By far, working so closely with my advisor, Beth Schueler. She has been a wonderful mentor, and I have learned so much from her - things that go from basic analytical strategies and clear writing, all the way up to the management of research partnerships, and dissemination of research results to make an impact on external stakeholders. Year after year, she has pushed me to keep growing, and I will be always grateful for her amazing support. 

Q. What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you most?

Complexity does not necessarily define the most valuable research! It can be a part of it, but I have also found that impactful and insightful research can use very simple tools. What really matters is asking the right questions, and framing the answers in the right light, I think.

Q. Do you have any thoughts about what you will be doing next?

I am currently the Vice President of Measurement and Evaluation at NewGlobe, an organization that provides technical advisory on educational issues to local governments in low- and middle-income countries.

News Information