April 9, 2019 – Adam Barton (C’16), who is one of only 18 selected Luce Scholars this year, hopes to transform education as we know it. The nationally competitive program sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation is designed to enhance the understanding of Asia among future American leaders and provides stipends, language training and individualized professional placements in Asia.
Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
Major: Spanish & Portuguese Studies; Education, Inquiry, and Justice minor
Distinction: Georgetown College valedictorian, 2016
Research Activity: Barton is conducting research on how to “transform education so that all learners can thrive in this era of rapid change.”
“I’m fascinated by how communal educational values inform policy agendas, and the social and political dynamics that hinder or accelerate reform,” he says. “Through the Luce, I’m excited to better understand the challenges faced by countries celebrated as academic overperformers – such as Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam – as they rethink schooling for the 21st century.”
Post-Graduation Accomplishments: After graduating from Georgetown, he worked in rural Bolivia as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow, leading an impact evaluation for an agrarian university.
After returning to DC, he researched and wrote about education innovations at the Brookings Institution Center for Universal Education. He is now building a Maryland educational nonprofit focused on global citizenship.
Most Influential Professor:
“Sabrina Wesley-Nero’s courses in the Program on Education, Inquiry, and Justice program pushed me to think about big philosophical questions in education,” he says, “and to unpack, articulate and analyze my biases, as well as feel comfortable in the intellectual gray areas and know there’s rarely one right answer to any question.”
Community and International Activities: Volunteer, Georgetown’s DC Schools Project; as an English teacher and later director of Learning Enterprises – Brazil, an English language-learning nonprofit; researcher as an Education and Social Justice Fellow and David Andretta Fellow.
Advice for Current Students:
“There’s rarely just one passion, purpose or path that is ‘right’ for us,” Barton says. “The good news is that no one’s narrative seems coherent in the moment – it becomes clear only when looking in the rearview mirror. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out the ‘right’ next step. Instead, lean into the gray unknown and remember that any step you take will help you grow in some way.”
How Curriculum Influenced Career Plans:
“I learned to always take a step back and ask questions of ‘why’ and ‘what,’ and to prioritize social justice – the idea of service as a vocation – in all my work,” he says.
“I believe that community is central to sustainable and relevant educational change,” Barton says. “I hope to one day be in a position to make space for community participation – including the voices and visions of students, parents and teachers – in educational policy planning. I want to be in a position to call diverse stakeholders to the table when educational policies are designed and implemented.”
Favorite Spot on Campus:
"Leavey Esplanade. What a view!"
For more information about the Luce Scholarship and other fellowship opportunities, please visit the Georgetown Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Resources at gofar.georgetown.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.