Alumni Spotlight

Matthew Schuelka, MA ’10

'Stanford’s entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit gives you permission to THINK BIG and then to make it happen.'

Stanford was part of my journey from K-12 teacher to higher education professor. I started out teaching music and special education, and today I am a lecturer of Inclusive Education at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. 

My research focuses on sociocultural systems and policies of inclusive education as experienced at the local level by teachers and students. I’m particularly interested in the utility and inclusivity of schooling in isolated and marginalized communities. I’ve done projects in Bhutan, India, Serbia, and Zambia and am seeking new projects in Greenland, Malaysia, Japan and beyond. 

While Stanford was one piece in my quilt of many diverse educational experiences, I view it as the most important and the most formative. The friendships and connections I made during my time at Stanford continue to be personally and professionally enriching. Stanford truly fosters a global network. 

Matt with colleagues at Bhutan's Royal Thimphu College.

What I learned at the Graduate School of Education went beyond the readings and papers and classwork – which were certainly substantial! I learned the Stanford ethos and culture; that entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit that gives you permission to THINK BIG and then to make it happen. 

My advice to current and future Stanford GSE students: Be bold, inquisitive, critical, and take advantage of the people and resources that Stanford has to offer. Also, take an occasional break and hike up into the Santa Cruz Mountains. You won’t regret it.  

Matthew Schuelka earned an MA at Stanford in 2010 in International Education Administration and Policy Analysis. He also earned an MEd in Special Education from the University of Vermont in 2009 and a PhD in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota in 2014. He edited the first comprehensive volume on education in Bhutan (Education in Bhutan: Culture, Schooling and Gross National Happiness, Springer, 2016) and is lead editor on the forthcoming Handbook on Inclusion and Diversity in Education (SAGE, 2019). 

Top photo: Matt at the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan.