story by Claire Miller
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, invited graduate students and researchers from across the country to participate in the inaugural Gates Notes Deep Dive, a new virtual discussion series “that brings together diverse groups of people from around the country to explore one topic in depth,” according to the Gates Foundation website.
College of Education & Human Development doctoral students Brandon Attell, Lauren Coleman, Adrianne Robertson and Carina Windom were among those invited to participate in the virtual event, which focused on education in the U.S.
More specifically, their conversation centered around how data can be used to improve educational outcomes for students of color and students from low-income communities. Guest speakers gave short presentations on current educational data and then Gates answered students’ questions.
“To be honest, my favorite moments were the tough questions asked by students, which I think brought a different perspective,” Robertson said. “There is a clear divide in education where many of us are focused on anti-racism. While having programs to track information is great, it doesn’t account for the systemic racism embedded in our education systems.”
Robertson left the virtual discussion feeling hopeful about the number of people working to make education more equitable and about connecting with fellow graduate students in the future.
“I left this session knowing I am not alone in my research and my thoughts about how things need to change in our educational system. There are people all over this country in graduate programs who are trying to address this issue,” she said. “I know that this one Deep Dive conversation won’t all of a sudden change everything, but I think Bill [Gates] heard us.”
To learn more about the series, visit https://www.gatesnotes.com.