Meet Dr. Crystal Thomas, research project coordinator and adjunct lecturer for the Brown Department of Education. Crystal holds a B.A. in International Development Studies, a Master of Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from UCLA and began working at Brown in the fall.
Crystal predominantly works with Chair Kenneth Wong, particularly on the Providence Talks initiative, which will inspire long-term, unique data and investigative questions. She also assists with the Urban Education Policy master's program, advising UEP students and co-instructing Professor Michael Grady's summer course. Crystal's fiancé, Jonathan Collins, is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, a position which brought them both from California to Providence.
When asked about her experience teaching a course here, Crystal applauded the UEP program's approach to education, noting that it bridges a gap between research and practice. The program has an impact on students, elevating them not only in learning but in being successful for urban education as a whole. She enjoyed her students' intellectual curiosity and Brown's open curriculum, which fostered a genuine interest in the subject matter. She has found Brown Education rewarding and told us that it's inspiring to facilitate conversations that both ignite and nourish curiosity.
What does Crystal love most about Providence so far? Why, the Italian food!
As for past experience, Crystal had been a project director at city-based UCLA firms, researching program evaluation and capacity development and studying how to bridge gaps. She is excited to co-teach with Professor Grady this year for the Brown UEP program's summer research practicum, and she looks forward to applying what she learned in LA to Rhode Island.
When asked one final question - what surprised her most about coming to Providence - Crystal smiled and replied that she adjusted better than expected to the New England weather. She applauded Brown's Facilities Department for the great job they have done so far this winter clearing snow around campus.