EdD Student Spotlight: Branden Ballard

Former Pitt Football player and current student in the Social and Comparative Analysis EdD program, Branden Ballard shares his experiences in Pitt Education and goals for the future. 

Tell us about your background before coming to Pitt Education.

Ballard: Prior to my return to Pitt (CGS ‘06), I worked in the non-profit sector for nearly eight years. I pivoted to K-12 education as a central office administrator who is responsible for a mentoring program and equity training. I currently run the Tartan Scholars, a program for limited-resourced students at Carnegie Mellon University. Within the Pitt EdD program, I focus on social and comparative analysis.

What drew you into the Pitt EdD program?

Ballard: There were several factors in choosing to further myself at Pitt Education. First, I had a lot of push to continue my education in my field from friends and family for some time now. Working in higher education has shown me that I need to continuously learn to be better in order to make an impact in my field. Finally, since my undergraduate degree is in social sciences, this program felt like a beautiful blend of those two worlds.

What is the support system like at Pitt Education?

Ballard: Pitt Education has been a very supportive, good place to learn and grow as an education practitioner. There are various support systems from classmates, faculty, and staff. Faculty and cohort members support me through the hands-on processes of conducting inquiry related to my professional practice and examining educational systems separate from my own.

How are you getting involved in the Pitt School of Education?

Ballard: I haven’t really had the opportunity to get as deeply involved as I would have liked to, but I plan to in the near future. There are so many clubs and associations here.

What are your future goals as a higher education professional?

Ballard: My goal is to continue to grow in my higher educational career trajectory. Eventually, I would like to move into education consulting. With the diverse experiences I’ve had in education, I feel I would be most effective in this field.

What upcoming project in your Pitt EdD program are you excited about?

Ballard: I am excited about the work we are doing in my classes and in my program! The content is applicable to my workplace and what I want to do next. Currently, we have an assignment around non-performatives. I have a really good one that excites me to think about putting it together for this project.

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

Ballard:  I did my undergrad at Pitt as well, and I am a former Pitt athlete. I’m a varsity football letter winner, and I loved my time representing Pitt on the field. I was a walk-on receiver.