On Dec. 19, UW–Madison will celebrate its Winter 2021 Commencement. We reached out to a few of our students who are graduating from programs in the School of Education to learn about their favorite UW–Madison memories and future plans. Following is a Q&A with Byron Sharer Robertson, who is graduating with a PhD in educational leadership and policy analysis.
Where are you from?
I am from Harvey, Illinois. My family lived in Mount Horeb for nine years once I started my PhD.
Tell us about your research.
I am doing research on parental educational expectation change in high school. I coined the phrase “Quantum Educational Mechanics” back in 2009. This phrase refers to educational reforms that typically are small scale in nature that can potentially have interesting impacts on student achievement variables. Parent involvement is typically considered a small-scale educational reform strategy, because many schools do not think about it in terms of helping raise student achievement. My specific dissertation is on a subset of parent involvement called parent educational expectation change. My dissertation examines this phenomenon at the high school level.
What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?
It has been just an amazing experience being on the campus and being around other people who are using knowledge to fuel purpose-backed inquiry in the community and the world.
What was your favorite class or professor, and why?
I have several. Dr. Underwood, Dr. Jackson, Dr. Capper, Dr. Conrad, Dr. Kelley, Dr. Crim, and Dr. Halverson. Each one of them took me outside of my comfort zone, allowed me to develop assets for inquiry, and then helped me to construct something unique that can be applied for the betterment of others in the local community and beyond.
"It has been just an amazing experience being on the campus and being around other people who are using knowledge to fuel purpose-backed inquiry in the community and the world."
Any advice for incoming students? What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started at UW?
Take advantage of all the research that is going on at the university. Get to know other people outside your discipline and the research they are involved in.
What are your plans for the future?
Teach, do research, consulting, and engage the world.