I want to be part of the conversations where we find impactful solutions for our students. That drives my work now.

Monique Lowery always loved numbers and math, and she expected them to shape her college and professional paths. She attended a math and science-focused high school and later majored in management at MIT. At the same time, Monique had a passion for giving back and working with children, which she nourished by volunteering as a tutor.

“I wanted to go into a service-oriented role after graduation,” Monique admits, “but when I spoke with my mentors, they suggested that I build my skills in the corporate sector first before transitioning into the nonprofit sector.”

Monique spent three years first analyzing retail store sales for Liz Claiborne and later managing budgets for an advertising agency. She excelled in these number- and data-heavy roles, but it wasn’t enough.

“I felt like I was going to work, doing a job, and that was it. I wanted something more fulfilling,” she says.

Following her MPA program at Syracuse University, the Education Pioneers Fellowship was exactly the mix of analytic-focused work and personal meaning Monique sought. For the first time, she could explore whether education was truly her cause. “I wanted to work in education but didn’t have prior experience, so I wanted to test out working in the sector without a long-term commitment,” she says. “With the camaraderie of a cohort, the EP model was a perfect fit.”

  • Data & Analysis
  • Finance & Budgeting
As a Fellow, Monique managed student assessment data for La Cima Charter School in Brooklyn, New York, to ensure that educators had accurate and actionable information about their students’ growth over time. She organized and disseminated interim assessments that showed which students were struggling and in which areas, allowing teachers to target their instruction.
After her Fellowship ended, Monique received a full-time offer from La Cima and today serves as their Director, Data & Assessment. She now manages all data around La Cima’s 400 students’ well-being to gain better insight into student achievement. “As a result of my work, teachers have a more complete picture of why students may be successful or struggling,” she says.
Monique’s EP experience prepared her for this growth in responsibility by showing her the essential questions her work addresses. “The Fellowship gave me context on education reform,” she says. “EP made me see that I wasn’t content just pushing reports out. I want to be part of the conversations where we find impactful solutions for our students. That drives my work now.”