Student Profile: Francisca Romo Aims to Return to Chile and Make a Difference

Hometown: Santiago
Country: Chile
1st year Doctoral student - Educational Psychology Applied Developmental Sciences.
Fran Romo

Why did you come to the Curry School of Education?

I was working at an Educational Research Center in Chile and finished my Master’s degree in Public Policy. After almost six years, I realized that there was something missing. I have always been interested in teachers and professional development, especially at the early childhood level. But since my work in the research center was more policy-oriented, I felt that I needed more high-qualified knowledge and skills on the processes underlying teaching and learning in order to design professional development that is useful and meaningful for teachers.
I knew about the amazing work that the Curry school was doing, specifically the research at CASTL. In my former work, we used the teaching framework trough interactions and the CLASS for several projects and evaluations. I decided that I wanted it to be there, working with the top researches in the field. 

What has been your most important lesson at Curry/CASTL so far?

Being in a doctoral program challenges your identity in many ways. Every day is a new self-discovery about your talents, interests and, of course, your weaknesses. I firmly believe that I’m on a journey that will provide me with the tools to design research that is highly rigorous and meaningful, not only to knowledge growth, but for practice.

What at Curry has made a special impact on you?

Curry is an amazing supportive community. What I do at Curry wouldn’t be possible without having the constant support of faculty and colleagues. The genuine interest in your research and work makes this a lot easier. I’m thankful for having an amazing group of people besides me. My advisor Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch is always available to help me and build a research line together, as well as supporting me at a personal level. My co-advisor is Bridget Hamre and I learn from each of her insights and thoughts. I can share my work and learn from others.  The people I work with give me inspiration and also friendship.

What kind of research are you focusing on?

I’m working on teachers’ cognitive processes that are associated with the quality of teacher-child interactions. Specifically, I’m interested in the idea of teachers’ cognitive processes (Executive Functions) as a protective factor for teachers who have challenging classrooms. In this sense, I’m interested in researching different resources that teachers have that can help them to improve the quality of their teaching practices and their wellbeing. I also see my research very practice-oriented, in order to inform future interventions and professional development programs.
I’m also interested in studying teacher’s practices and gender. Specifically, to study if teachers’ practices, interactions and language differ whether they are engaging with girls or boys. I would like to focus this research in the early years in school; the toddler and preschool level.

What do you plan to do after graduating from Curry?

I’m not sure yet. But at some point, I would like to go back to my country and work in the public sector in order to influence teachers’ policy and teacher professional development.