Shanna Attai, Ph.D.

"My favorite memory from Baylor SOE is when I was awarded the opportunity to travel abroad in Costa Rica with the Educational Psychology department studying Cultural Issues with Children and Families. The opportunity to visit the Corcovado tropical rain forest and her schools was unforgettable. It was an honor to visit with students and teachers from an extremely rural and remote area and share about our culture. My favorite memory from the trip was when our entire cohort of students and faculty sponsor Dr. Terrill Saxon spent time connecting with the school children playing in the school yard. The experience allowed me to grow as an educator and researcher by exposing me to contrasting cultures, schools, social serves and economic conditions."

Dr. Shanna Attai is an Assistant Research Professor/Coordinator for Educational Outreach for the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineer Research (CASPER) for Baylor. She works alongside BRIC partners - Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative - collaborating in CASPER's student engagement project, examining how various components of the learning environment impact elementary student engagement. She also works with CASPER researchers in encouraging student to purse careers in the STEM disciplines.

Attai earned a bachelor's (2009), master's (2010) and doctorate (2015), all from the Baylor School of Education. When she studied abroad in 2014 she had two young children, an 18-month old and another child just under a year old. "In order for me to go on this study abroad trip my family had to sacrifice so that I could continue to pursue my academic goals as well as have such a unique experience," she recalls. Attai's husband took off work so she could make the difficult, two week trip. "The many memories made in Costa Rica with my mentor Dr. Saxon and fellow classmates was that of spiritual, personal, and professional growth." Upon returning from Costa Rica Attai celebrated her daughter’s first birthday.  

"Baylor SOE has made me into the professional that I am today and I am forever grateful for the opportunities, experiences, and mentors who I had as a student," she said. "All of my SOE experiences taught me that no matter what, never give up on your passions because they are connected to our purpose, and anything worth doing in our lives does not come easily, but the satisfaction of hard work and the impact we make as individuals in the field of education is unsurpassable." 

Below: Dr. Attai is standing second from left, next to current SOE Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon.