Daria Silvestro

Master's Program Empowers Student to Bridge Hawaii's Education Gap

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Daria Silvestro became passionate about education equality while working for an underserved high school in her hometown in New Jersey. She saw how difficult it was for teachers to get the resources they needed to provide a fair educational experience for their students. So when her boyfriend accepted a job in Hawaii, Daria followed with two objectives in mind: to teach underserved schools on the island with Teach For America, and to get an advanced degree in adult education and truly make a difference.

Conquering education inequality

After four years of teaching and five years of coaching teachers, Daria is now an instructional coach and professional development designer for Teach For America, regularly providing quality education and growth opportunities to students in Hawaii’s low-income schools. Though Daria has experienced success, she wanted to make an even greater impact with adult learners, so she applied to the online Master’s in Adult Education program at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education to expand her expertise.

She is enrolled in two courses and is learning theories and philosophies that directly impact her professional career. “The Master’s in Adult Education is well-organized and offers a rigorous and in-depth learning experience,” Daria said. “It is incredibly applicable to my current work as a teacher and educator.”

Gaining an advanced skill set

Daria sought a program that worked with her teaching schedule, and found Rutgers’ degree offered that flexibility, being designed for working teachers like her. The program’s schedule also allows her to continue enjoying her outside interests. Since Daria sets her study schedule, she can still coach and compete in outrigger canoe paddling through a growth and development organization for Hawaii’s youth.

Since joining the online program, Daria feels motivated by how the program is training her to design, implement, and assess positive learning experiences for adult learners. “The variety of readings and reading lengths, usually three to four pages, is enough to spark discussion,” Daria said. “It doesn’t seem like we’re reading a lot just to make the class feel rigorous.”
Daria can connect with fellow students and teachers across the world who provide unique perspectives on the coursework, offering an enriching learning experience.
“I usually prefer to work independently, but the group assignments are designed in a way that helps us to learn from each other,” Daria said.

Applying her real world-ready education

Daria has seen how the program’s insights become instrumental in the classroom. Her education has helped her develop the skills to be a successful coach, teacher, and mentor to students and fellow educators.

She also appreciates her professors’ efficiency and their rapid responses to questions, emails, and grading during her adult education online studies.
“I’m grateful for the variety of learning experiences and assessments,” Daria said. “The readings and discussions with my online colleagues really engage me in critical and analytical reflection.”

Do you want to study adult education online as you work? Visit the program website to learn more.

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