Currently, Anna “Paula” P. da Silva is pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education at USF but when Paula thinks of home, she thinks of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She distinctly remembers the delicious food, the beautiful beaches and misses the close relationships with her friends and family.
During her undergraduate years in Brazil, Paula worked at a local school to help pay for college. Through her experiences at the school and volunteer work in “favelas,” shanty towns, Paula realized, “the best way for me to address the issues that I was so deeply concerned about was to empower individuals (specifically children) through education.” Empowering children to learn became Paula’s driving force. About halfway through her undergraduate program, she realized she would need a graduate degree in education. One year after obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, Paula moved to Cambridge, MA to pursue a Master’s in Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
After completing a Master’s in Education, Paula moved to Miami and in 2004 and was given the opportunity to open a preschool in the Tampa Bay area. Paula loves living in the Bay area because it is a melting pot of many cultures. When it was time to continue her education she couldn’t imagine moving anywhere else and decided to attend USF. Excited about the prospects available, Paula states, “the opportunities I knew I would have to learn and work with respected, accomplished educators and researchers in my field would be invaluable…I just had no idea how incredible the experience would be.”
While studying at USF, Paula has been afforded many opportunities to work and conduct research with well-known educators on topics ranging from Positive Behavior Support (PBS), self-regulation and curriculum instruction. Most recently, she completed a one year appointment as the Interim Director of USF’s laboratory school, the Preschool for Creative Learning.
Paula believes children excel in the classroom when they are properly prepared and supported and she is invested in finding the most effective ways to ensure this happened. While she is unsure of what possibilities will open up for her in upon graduation, she is keeping all of her options open and is excited about all of the possibilities her degree will offer her.
In her spare time, Paula likes to attend theatre shows, visit museums and go to the movies. However her favorite thing to do is to spend time at the beach, preferably with a great book in hand. She loves the serenity the beach provides.