Growing Number of University of Puerto Rico Scholars Pursuing PhDs at Iowa

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From the UI College of Education spring 2013 alumni magazine


Leslie Santos

When Leslie Santos was working on her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at the University of Puerto Rico, many of the articles and books she read were written by University of Iowa professors Dennis R. Maki and Vilia Tarvydas.

“They are the top in the field of rehabilitation counseling,” Santos says.

So when she had an opportunity to move to Iowa to pursue her doctorate, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study under Maki and Tarvydas.

Santos is among the latest in a string of scholars who have come to the University of Iowa from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) since the mid-1990s to study in the UI College of Education’s Rehabilitation Counselor Education Program, which is the nation’s number two-ranked program according to U.S. News & World Report.

The two schools enjoy an informal cooperative arrangement. Promising UPR master’s students earn their doctorates at the UI with the intention of returning to the UPR and joining the faculty there. UPR does not offer a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling.

Marilyn Mendoza-Lugo, former director of the UPR’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program, was the first from her university to study at the UI. Robinson Vazquez-Ramos, research specialist on the UPR faculty, earned his Ph.D. at the UI in 2002.

Read the full article on the College of Education's website

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