Alyse Gray Parker Grad Spotlight


Graduate Spotlight: Alyse Gray Parker

Name: Alyse Gray Parker

Age: 30

Course of Study (degree being earned): Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Hometown: Twinsburg, OH

I grew up in Northeast Ohio and went to Ohio State University for my bachelor's and master's degrees. In my free time, I enjoy baking, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with my husband and dog. I chose to pursue a Ph.D. at UTSA because I was interested in changing and creating education policy that helped marginalized students. 

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite professor and why?

Program Evaluation with Dr. Guan Saw. He opened my eyes to the field of program evaluation and quantitative analysis. His classes were super hard, but I learned so much from him.

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned over the course of your studies?

I've learned that everyone comes to their work with different perspectives, and we can all learn from other perspectives. I came into the program with a very limited perspective of what higher education policy meant. By meeting others in my program, I was able to widen my understanding of how systemic issues impact people in different ways.

Describe any organizations or activities within COEHD that you’ve participated in.

Archer Center Graduate Fellowship.

What are some professional experiences or internship opportunities you have had.

I was able to intern at the Lumina Foundation during my Archer Fellowship in Washington DC. This experience helped fuel my desire to work in the federal policy space. I learned that there are many aspects that policymakers think about when advocating for policies to help all students achieve their goals.

What is your fondest memory of your time at UTSA?

I always loved driving to the downtown campus for classes. Something about downtown San Antonio seems magical to me and being able to take classes in the middle of a beautiful and unique city will always be a great UTSA memory.

How has COVID impacted you, either personally or professionally?

COVID has completely changed how I view my work. Seeing how students from all walks of life have adapted to the pandemic makes me want to advocate even harder for more equitable education policies.

What are your plans for the future and/or your career?

I want to continue to work in the federal higher education policy space.

What has brought you inspiration during this time? i.e. Music, books, people, etc.

Nature. Being able to take breaks and walk outside always gives me a sense of relaxation.

You’ve been given the opportunity to have coffee with any notable figure from your field, alive or dead. Who is it, and what does each of you order?

Michelle Obama. Her tenacity through her husband's presidency is always admirable. I would order a chai latte; she would probably order something healthy like a green smoothie.

 Congratulations to all of our 2021 COEHD graduates! See more COEHD graduate spotlights here 

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