Fawzia Qazi, Honors and AP Chemistry teacher and Science Department Chair, can now be called Dr. Fawzia Qazi. She was awarded the Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice by Loyola Marymount University this past August. Her personal values and her desire to continue her education are what made her pursue a doctorate.
In 2013, Qazi became the Chair of the Science Department. This new role inspired her to return to her own studies.
Qazi said, “I wanted to be the best for Loyola and that meant furthering my education. Education has always been central for me, and getting my doctorate felt natural.”
From 2016 to 2019, Qazi drove from Loyola High School to Loyola Marymount University every Monday and remained in class from 3:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Qazi said, “Looking back, I have no idea how I did it with the amount of work I had.”
Qazi was still teaching and overseeing the science department while pursuing her doctorate, and during the process, she began to change the way she taught.
“Going back to school put me into the shoes of my students,” Qazi said. “And when I noticed something that my professor did that made something unclear to me, I noted not to do that to my students.”
In order to receive her doctorate, Qazi had to first develop a dissertation and then defend it. Qazi’s dissertation was on Loyola’s Physics First program.
She interviewed juniors, seniors and alumni, asking them how the Physics First program led to new possibilities.
Then she wrote a book that analyzed how studying physics as a freshman in high school opened up opportunities after high school graduation. Her doctorate did not come without some sacrifices.
Qazi said, “I remember I had to miss a Thanksgiving dinner with my family in Northern California because I had to interview an alum who was nice enough to meet with me that morning.”
Qazi defended her dissertation this summer and officially received her doctorate on August 31, 2019. For Qazi, acquiring a doctorate meant a great deal to her and her family.
“My mom is very proud of me. She’s now able to say that all her children are doctors,” said Qazi.
Qazi hopes to educate other teachers and serve the Loyola community in the best way in light of her new degree.
“I’ve had a lot of great mentors and I want to return the favor by serving as a guide for my colleagues,” said Qazi.