Student Story

Campbell scholarship recipient Xiomara Mateo Gaxiola seeks urban education solutions

By Olivia Niland Published on

Xiomara Mateo Gaxiola, 2013 recipient of the Gladys Campbell Scholarship, didn’t begin her education expecting to be a teacher. It was only during a break before graduate school when Mateo Gaxiola, who received her bachelor’s degree in international business and had planned to earn an MBA, realized that teaching was what she wanted to do with her life.

“I naturally fell in love with it,” said Mateo Gaxiola of her first teaching position as a volunteer classroom assistant at her younger sister’s school. Mateo Gaxiola was left in charge of the classroom when the teacher she assisted took her first vacation in 10 years. It was then it became clear to Mateo Gaxiola that education, rather than business, was her true calling.

After 13 years in the field of education as a classroom teacher, mathematics instructional coach, educational program designer and research associate in schools throughout Los Angeles Unified School District, Mateo Gaxiola wanted to have a greater impact on educational equality and teacher beliefs about diversity.

She decided to pursue her doctorate in education at USC Rossier, which was made possible with support from the Gladys Campbell Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2001 by the Gladys Campbell Charitable Trust to support areas of greatest need. Currently, the fund supports graduate fellowships for two doctoral research assistants in the Office of Academic Programs.

"The Campbell Scholarship has provided me not only with financial support, but because it involves me with the school, it has also provided a greater scope to my education."
Xiomara Mateo Gaxiola

She credits the Campbell Scholarship with allowing her to become more involved with Rossier faculty and programs within the school and on campus.

“Typically with the EdD program you’re only on campus on the nights you have class, but because of the Campbell scholarship and working with my academic advisor, I’m able to be on campus more often,” Mateo Gaxiola said. “It has made me much more connected to Rossier as a school and USC as a university.”

As a research assistant, Mateo Gaxiola worked with Darline Robles, USC Rossier professor of clinical education, on the curriculum design for Rossier’s new Master of Education in School Leadership program, which launched in August 2013. Working to create the program, Mateo Gaxiola said, helped to provide her with an in-depth knowledge of school administration and leadership.

“The Master of Education in School Leadership program has added a whole new breadth of knowledge in school leadership to my repertoire. It has been amazing,” she said.

The 15-month online program aims to prepare educators to take on leadership roles in K-12 school settings. Working with many former superintendents in creating the program’s curriculum was “extremely enriching,” Mateo Gaxiola said.

“A scholarship like this allows individuals the opportunity to take the time to think through problems of practice,” Mateo Gaxiola said. “When a student has to work full time and go to school, that doesn’t leave time or space to work through problems innovatively. It’s more important than ever that students have the opportunity to answer these deep, systemic problems that schools are having.”

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