Published in The Republican, Springfield, Mass.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Edison Santana (M.Ed. 1988) is a UMass-Amherst graduate all the way, having obtained a bachelor's in psychology in 1982, a master's in education in 1988 and doctorate in philosophy in 1994. He chose UMass-Amherst because of the counseling psychology program in the College of Education at the time he enrolled.
"I was struck by the family therapy program and the hypnosis training available through this program," he said. "In addition, I was interested in the psychological testing that the program offered via school placements and course work."
Edison, of South Deerfield, said he enjoyed the academic rigor that was expected of him as a student, and that he was most impressed with the program because it took into consideration the personal and professional experiences he brought to it as an adult student (someone who works full-time in their area of study). He was 35 when he obtained his doctorate.
"I believe my education at UMass-Amherst was second to none," he said.
Having his family in the area was another incentive for Edison to attend UMass. His family moved to Springfield from Puerto Rico when he was 5 years old. He was one of 11 children.
"Going to UMass-Amherst also allowed me to live around my extended support system," he added.
While at UMass-Amherst, Edison also developed relationships with faculty he continues to find valuable resources, including Ron Fredrickson (his dissertation chair) and Janine Roberts (his master's thesis chair).
"These two mentors helped me personally, academically and professionally," he said. "The best thing about these relationships is that they have been long-lasting."
Edison began his career as a school psychologist in the Springfield schools with a private practice.
"I discovered that I had an interest in making more of an impact on student life," he said.
Consequently, Edison obtained his license as an administrator in the Springfield Public Schools. He currently works at the Rebecca M. Johnson Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School in Springfield.
"I love this area," Edison said. "It's where I grew up and went to school. I wanted to give back to the community and provide a role model to the young people who are growing up, similarly to the way I did, allowing them to see that anything is possible when you focus on your goals - that education can truly be your ticket out of poverty."
In addition to the work he does through his job in the school system, Edison occasionally teaches graduate level classes at his alma mater, UMass-Amherst.
"I jump at the chance to be more involved at the university," he said. "It's like coming home." Prepared by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. For more information, visit UMassAlumni.com or call (413) 545-2317.