Melissa Malika Murray
Master's: Multicultural Education, Spring 2013
Melissa completed a Master's Degree in the College's Multicultural Education program. The Multicultural Education graduate program explores theoretical and pedagogical issues of bilingualism, multiculturalism, educational equity, and social justice, offering courses and experiences to assist educators to work successfully in classrooms, schools, and educational agencies within our diverse State.
Occupation: I am currently a tenth grade high school teacher at a charter school in Oak Park, Sacramento. I have credential in English, however I now teach multiple subjects. I am responsible for teaching all subjects to my 25 students, however my area of specialization is the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). I have developed and implemented a program that targets key concepts/strategies for passing the CAHSEE; this curriculum is specifically designed for students who need extra support in ELA and Math. My students represent the tremendous cultural diversity of Sacramento, and I love working and learning with them every day. I am constantly working to address the needs that they have as individuals and as a community; it is my commitment that I use the knowledge I have been blessed with to help young people create better lives for themselves and their families as well.
Thesis: The Impact of African Centered Pedagogy on the Self and Group Identity of Adolescent Black Girls
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Sacramento. B.A: Ethnic Studies
Why did you choose the College of Education for your degree/credential program?
At the time that I applied for the MA in Multicultural Education program, I had been a high school teacher for 8 years. The experience of being in Sacramento high school classrooms, and the knowledge of the students and their backgrounds, led me to want to advance my potential to contribute more to the school system. I knew that while my B.A. in Ethnic Studies was a great foundation for teaching in Sacramento school, I would have to continue my education in order to gain more knowledge in critical areas concerning curriculum, administration/power structures, and various issues pertaining to students of color. There are very few programs that support multicultural education these days, and the BMED program was exactly what I was looking for to combine both my passion for Ethnic Studies, education, and social change.
How has your degree/credential impacted your professional and personal life?
The MA in Multicultural Education is critical in that it presents its students with the information, theory, and strategies to authentically promote change in American classrooms. The faculty is knowledgeable, professional, and encouraging; their lessons create strong cohorts among students that truly help us through the challenging and rewarding program. I have been introduced to many new theories and strategies that I immediately apply to my classroom practice, and this in invaluable to me as a teacher who wishes to create meaningful and valuable change for my students and my school as a whole. The MA enabled me to be granted a position of specialization; it was after I earned the MA that I was given the CAHSEE class to create and implement. In addition, it has enabled my to bring crucial concerns to a higher level of our administration, for example my identification of our need for African Centered Education, ELL support, and community-based cultural programs for inner-city youth. As a result of my success and enjoyment of the MA program, I will be applying for the Ed.D. program to get my Doctorate in Educational Leadership next spring. The skills that we learn during the MA process sharpen us as individuals who can do high-level research and writing, and who can ultimately contribute to the changes that we deem vital to the strength of our students, our communities, and our nation as a whole.