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Interdisciplinary Opportunities at Ursinus Lead to a Dynamic Career

Indira Joell ’19 gives credit to her Ursinus education and mentorship for igniting a passion for teaching, learning, and creating equity in educational access and achievement.

Growing up in a mixed African American and Indo-Trinidadian identity and having the privilege of attending a private school, I was always acutely aware of the inequities and injustices that pervade the American education system. However, I distinctly remember engaging in conversations within Dr. John Spencer’s Educational Inequities class about such inequities and literally seeing the statistics, which indicated large racial disparities in educational access and achievement. A pivotal moment for me, I knew I had to be involved in initiatives that promote educational equity for all and subsequently joined Teach for America following graduation from Ursinus.

Indira Joell '19

Dr. Stephanie Mackler, also within the education department, took me under her wing as a scholar and helped me further develop my critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills. Notably, I furthered these skills through participation in the Summer Fellows Program and in honors research. Our topic of interest was in Montessori education. Engaging in the research process and participating in an extensive year-long educational endeavor, I gained confidence in myself as an academic and overall critical thinker. There is no doubt that these early experiences in educational research, and personalized attention in writing, provided the groundwork for me to develop the competencies and skills that I need today to take on my doctoral work in school psychology. That said, there were so many other professors, too, who developed me as a person and gave me the confidence to speak my mind and embrace my authentic self. Some of these professors include Dr. Holly Hubbs and Dr. Meghan Brodie.

Indira Joell '19

At Ursinus, I dabbled in a variety of activities and hobbies. Musically, I was part of the Ursinus College Jazz Band, and B’Naturals. Additionally, I was a Teaching and Learning Institute student consultant, dispatcher in campus safety and resident advisor. My senior year, I also joined Kappa Delta Kappa (KDK). All these clubs and activities impacted me as a person. My leadership position in B’Naturals, involvement in jazz band, in conjunction with my music major assisted in bringing out my deep love of music, which will forever stay with me. Since graduating, I have taught piano at several music studios in and around the Philadelphia area. My stellar instruction in the subject area and opportunities to be involved in musical groups gave me the background needed to engage with all piano students and truly develop their authentic musical selves. Furthermore, involvement in the Teaching and Learning Institute at Ursinus directly relates to my work in my doctoral program, as I am always thinking about ways to improve classroom instruction and facilitate a learning environment that is conducive of learning for all students.

Indira Joell '19

The overall rigor of study at Ursinus and ample opportunity to get involved in research and extracurricular activities equip me to be a strong scholar and even more critical thinker. Ursinus unlocked professional doorways for me (i.e., internships), and provided me with so many resources (i.e., quality professors), which served as the basis for my careers in teaching, research, and now educational endeavors as a school psychology Ph.D. candidate.

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