Julie Kallio is currently a graduate student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She previously taught in outdoor education and independent schools for 9 years, leading technology integration, teaching science, and dorm parenting. She is passionate about asking big questions and creating spaces for connection, discovery, and understanding.
Why a PhD in educational research?
The time to step back, ask questions, and think deeply is a privilege. Through this shift in mindset, from teacher-engineer to teacher-researcher, I seek to satisfy a longtime personal desire to understand educational systems more broadly, as well as to work for a greater, common good. I believe in thinking and dreaming big but living pragmatically.
Why teaching and learning?
Learning comes from experiencing new information, skills, emotions, perspectives, connections, and relationships. Being immersed in this process, as a student or as a facilitator, is stimulating, challenging, and rewarding work. Teachers design environments that shape learning and shape people.
Technology situates students (of all ages) in an environment of exploration, connection, creativity, and collaboration, during which learning opportunities are expanded. Additionally, the ubiquity and mobility of devices is changing how we function, learn, and work, and thus learning to navigate this rapidly changing, digital world is imperative.
A special place in my heart for middle schoolers and middle school teachers…
This is a critical age, when abstract thinking blossoms and perspectives shift; when life habits and values are formed; when capacities for empathy, creativity, and energy explode. The changes I see in students from when they enter as sixth graders to when they leave as eighth graders is a testament to the amazing growth that takes place in these three short years. I love being part of a community that guides young people through these formative years of their life. Most of all, I am deeply grateful for the life lessons that my middle schoolers (and my colleagues) taught me: to be playful with and open to the unexpected, because you’ll never believe what happened today.