Graduation profile 2011: Deni Basaraba

Deni Basaraba, 29, received her doctorate in educational leadership in 2011 from the University of Oregon. She is from Sacramento, Calif. “I have found work that I enjoy, am passionate about, will provide continuous opportunities to learn and grow, and may have positive effects on the lives of others,” she says.

Extracurricular/leadership activities: Master’s swimming, running; volunteering for the Willamalane Swim Club and Eugene Christian Fellowship; co-coordinator for faculty colloquia in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy and Leadership.

I chose to attend the University of Oregon because … I had planned to major in print journalism. After earning a (bachelor’s degree) in English and Spanish I was inspired by my colleagues and the work they were engaged in to pursue graduate degrees in education.

My most rewarding experience or proudest accomplishment at the UO was … being invited to speak at the College of Education’s Centennial Celebration in fall of 2010, as a representative of all COE students. It was an honor to be selected by the faculty to speculate about the future of education and the role that we all will play in shaping that future.

The greatest obstacle I encountered while earning my degree was … finding the strength and ability to balance a full-time job, full-time graduate studies, much-needed exercise opportunities to relieve stress, and healthy relationships with my family and friends.

My greatest inspiration at the UO came from … numerous faculty in the College of Education who not only showed me that the work we do is meaningful and valuable but also that I have something to contribute. Pursuing graduate degrees in the COE at the UO provides all students with the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from some deeply profound thinkers, successful researchers, and prolific authors. All of (them) are inspirational because there is clear evidence that the work they have done (and we have been invited to participate in) has made a difference in the lives of other educators and students.

The UO moment I will treasure most is … the opportunities I have had to collaborate with, provide and receive support from other students in my program. I am continually surprised when others approach me with questions or ask me for my suggestions or feedback on a project because they think I have knowledge or experience to contribute.

My education at the UO has changed the course of my life because … it has provided me with valuable insight about the multiple opportunities available (for) making a difference.

I plan to use my UO degree to … pursue a career in educational research and teach courses at the university level. Although my grandmother always predicted that I would be an educator at one level or another, I never thought I had the knowledge, skills, confidence or patience to teach others.