Our graduates are Worlds Ahead!

Renu-Batra-for-Fall-225x300Renu Batra
Ed.D. in Adult Education and Human Resource Development
College of Education

When Renu Batra started working on her doctoral dissertation, she chose to focus on a subject close to her home and her heart.

Renu, who was born in India, traveled to Mumbai to collect data that showed the male-dominated culture of her homeland was so strong that it suppressed the opportunity of urban, middle class women to pursue their education after they were married.

According to the research she conducted in earning her Ed.D. in adult education and human resource development, middle class women in India were not expected nor were they supported in earning more than a basic high school education because they were expected to put the needs of their families ahead of their own.

And while the Indian government developed literacy programs to educate the rural poor, similar opportunities did not exist for women of the urban, middle class, Renu said.

India can turn things around, however, if private corporations were to help fund opportunities for these women to develop home-based, income-generating activities that wouldn’t take away from their day-to-day responsibilities, according to Renu.

After commencement, Renu eventually plans to return to India and work at a private university or a board of education where she can make a difference by developing programs that can help urban, middle class women gain access to more educational opportunities.

Renu counted on Thomas Reio, Jr., associate dean of graduate studies at the College of Education, for his mentorship and guidance.

Jesus-GarciaJesus A. Garcia
Master of Art in Teaching
College of Education


Jesus A. Garcia does not know how to give up.

At 53 years old, Jesus is no stranger to adversity: He survived a serious accident in 1991 that resulted in the partial loss of his right arm and a crippled left arm. In 2012 one of his twin sons suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash that affected his mobility and his ability to speak. Two years later, his wife, Melanie, battled a ravaging cancer that ultimately claimed a leg.

It would be enough to stop any person, but Jesus, a Golden Key International Honor Society member, has treated every day since his accident as a gift, choosing to focus on serving as an inspiration to others.

Jesus’s master’s thesis, comprising eight mixed media artworks, embody his mantra. In one piece, “Rebirth,” he used a photograph of himself among California’s famous redwoods which he then embellished with bright red wings springing from his back – the Phoenix reborn through adversity.

Despite estimating that it takes him up to six times longer than an average artist to complete a piece of art, Jesus remained undeterred and sought to marry his passions for teaching and creating original works by earning a Master of Art in Teaching to develop South Florida’s future artists.

While completing his thesis, he counted on the mentorship of Professor David Chang.

Today, Jesus works as a substitute teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, but he plans to teach art full time at the high school level.