Kayla Boisvert

I’ve always had an interest in how the human mind works and learns, social justice issues, and cultures and places different from where I call home. In undergrad, I studied psychology and Spanish, and with my degree, I worked in the field of social work for several years as a therapeutic recreation counselor and later as a drug and alcohol clinician for adolescents.


Tired of the “reactive” treatment approach, I transitioned into education where I believed I could work on preventing many of life’s difficulties and working towards a more just, fair, and equitable world. In the Somerville, Massachusetts public schools, I worked in the Welcome Center, a guidance office to support immigrant students in transitioning into Somerville High. In the Welcome Center, we provided “wrap-around” services, recognizing that student achievement is also impacted by outside-of-school issues, including housing, medical, legal, and social/emotional issues. Later, I coordinated the Parent English Program, a program of English classes and support workshops that help immigrant parents feel more comfortable with and become more active in their children’s schools. In the program, I initiated the development of a parent engagement/English language curriculum, facilitated teacher training, and lead outreach and engagement of parents.


With great appreciation for Brazilian culture and a desire to work more closely with Brazilian students and their families, I moved to Macaé, Rio de Janeiro, where I worked in a K to 9 English Immersion Program for two years. There, I taught classes and developed curriculum that emphasized fun and interactive learning in natural settings, mimicking how children learn their first language. I created a placement assessment and end-of-year assessments for all grades and levels and trained teachers on the implementation of the assessment. In my free time and with a passion for non-profit and public sector work, I volunteered as a journalistic translator for an Urban Planning and Development NGO in Rio.


Kayla finished her Master's degree at UMass  in 2017. In the fall of 2017 she was admitted into the doctoral program in international education.


Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
On-Campus Student