Casey Medlock Paul ’18PHD: Striving to Be a Positive Force in Public Education

Inspired by her previous experience as a public high school teacher, Casey Medlock Paul ’18 pursued a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction to give her the resources and skills needed to impact positive change in education through research. 

Name: Casey Medlock Paul 

Hometown: Elba, Alabama

Field of Study: Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on literacy

Activities: My research focuses on social justice in education. In particular, I focus on critical literacy education, which works to teach students to counter dominant discourses in text and media by reproducing information in a more equitable way. Since I have finished my dissertation and coursework, I have been able to enjoy extracurricular activities again! These include: hanging out with the wonderful friends I have made, watching television, reading, kayaking, and traveling the world.

What’s Next: At the end of May, I am traveling to Suzhou, China, to complete a project I have been working on with my advisor, Dr. Hiller Spires, and the New Literacies Collaborative at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Career-wise, I am currently seeking positions that will allow me to utilize my statistical skills and research expertise to impact education. In the meantime, I am pursuing publication for my dissertation and tutoring students in subjects such as reading, writing, and Spanish to help them succeed in school.

How did the NC State College of Education impact you?
Throughout my time at the NC State College of Education, my professors have taken an active role in helping me learn and develop as an educator, researcher, and scholar–as well as a person! They have led both through example and their instruction and were always eager to help my classmates and me succeed in both our careers and all aspects of life. Ultimately, thanks to my professors at the college, I realize that education is not just for a school setting and not solely for academic material. Rather, teaching is truly a life-long service that we as educators engage in every day with everyone we encounter.

Why did you choose your field of study?
My experience as a former public high school teacher propelled me to learn more about curriculum and instruction. I also desired to work towards improving public education and fostering a more equitable educational environment for all students. For this reason, I opted to obtain my Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. I chose to focus on literacy education, as I view literacy as a social practice that is foundational to success in all areas of academic and career-related pursuits.

What do you hope to accomplish in your field after graduation?
In my career, I hope to use research and data to make evidence-based improvements in the field of education. I also plan to further my research on critical literacy education to help teachers implement this important instruction in their classrooms.

What advice do you have for others considering education?
Studying education and becoming an educator allows you to have an immediate impact on our society. Education is one of the few things every person in the U.S. experiences. If you want to have a large impact on our society, working within the education sector is one of the best ways to do so.