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Ihsan GhazalIn celebration of Women’s History Month, the College of Education at TCU is highlighting female graduate students in the Science Education program. Ihsan Ghazal, an international science education doctoral student, talks about her TCU experience, overcoming career obstacles and more.

What is your background, and what brought you to TCU?

I am an international graduate student from Lebanon. I hold a bachelor’s degree in biology, a teaching diploma and a master’s degree in science education from the American University of Beirut. As a student with a different background, I came to TCU with an eight-year high school teaching experience to improve my research skills and become a college professor. I believe that when the workplace includes people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, it leads to innovation and creativity. Having different views on a situation provides various approaches to making decisions and solving problems. 

What’s your favorite thing about your program at TCU?

The courses offered at TCU enrich my knowledge and experience while preparing me for my future career and research. For example, as part of my coursework, I can work on and improve personal research interests while being guided by my instructors' feedback and recommendations. TCU professors are great mentors in research and have valued publications in well-acclaimed journals. Combining these resources enhances my knowledge and skills to become a better researcher in science education and to be competitive with other graduate students. 

What are some obstacles you’ve faced along your career path so far? How did you overcome them?

As a classroom teacher, I faced many obstacles, especially during the first couple of years of teaching. For example, it wasn't easy to find a job when I lacked teaching experience. During my early teaching career, I had not reached my full potential to manage the classroom and deliver the content knowledge using the best methods. However, I overcame these difficulties with the help of the school coordinators, who provided constructive feedback to improve my teaching skills. The comments included remarks about making the lesson more engaging, walking around the class instead of just standing in one place, improving wait time and questioning and engaging with all the students. Moreover, my teaching skills have gradually progressed through continuous practice and openness to critical remarks from mentors and peers. 

What’s the best part about being a Horned Frog?

Being a Horned Frog develops a sense of belonging to the TCU community. As an international student away from my country, I found a new home at TCU. There is an emphasis on diversity, equity and cooperation as means to move forward. In addition to the learning experience, TCU engages students in cultural events, graduate student meetings and sports games. For example, the intercultural center organizes cultural tours and international cuisines—a chance to meet people worldwide. Football, basketball, volleyball and tennis games at TCU are always fun to attend and serve as a well-deserved break from work. 

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