Former student advocates for education on Capitol Hill

Alfred Amado poses with Congressman George Miller on Capitol Hill. Credit: Alfred Amado
Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: March 16, 2008

As the son of immigrant parents and a former school psychology doctoral student at Texas A&M University, Alfred Amado, Ph.D., has always had a passion for education, and now he’s bringing that passion to Capitol Hill.

Being the son of immigrants, I was always taught that education was the greatest equalizer,” Alfred says. “I hope to make a free and quality education available to every child.”

Alfred, who serves as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, has taken a one-year leave of absence from his position to serve under Congressman George Miller and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Majority Committee on Education and Labor as a congressional fellow.

Chairman Miller has a long history of advocating for education and the underserved. I knew that placement on the committee would allow me to work on bettering existing policy while advancing new policy initiatives,” he says.

Alfred was one of five fellows selected through a competitive process managed by the American Psychological Association.

I believe my specialization in school psychology, bilingual assessment and research with immigrants — all things that grew out of my education at Texas A&M — influenced the committee’s decision to select me as a fellow,” he adds.

Alfred first came to Texas A&M because of Hector Ochoa, then associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, who recruited him to become a bilingual school psychologist. While at Texas A&M, Alfred was encouraged by his co-chair, Douglas Palmer, to take on new challenges and engage in professional activities outside his comfort zone.

The school psychology program at Texas A&M is extremely nurturing and fosters a philosophy of helping children by creating systemic change,” Alfred says.  When the time came to apply for the fellowship, it was my training in wanting to influence systemic change, the challenge of leaving the comfort of academia, my expertise in bilingual education and second language acquisition, and Dr. Palmer’s continued advice and encouragement that helped me make the decision.”

Alfred hopes that his time on Capitol Hill will afford him the opportunities to work on legislation to help the cause of underserved children, especially immigrant children. Already, he has investigated the effect of immigration workplace raids on the children of detained parents, the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act, and the regulatory and investigative void regarding child behavior modification facilities, commonly known as Child Bootcamps. 

I hope to gain knowledge on how science and research influence policy, the process in which ideas and concerns become policy/law, and expand my professional network,” he says. “With No Child Left Behind and immigration on the minds of many legislators, I thought it was a good time to serve my country by bringing my expertise on the academic development of immigrant children to Congress.”

And, as an Aggie in Washington, Alfred will definitely serve our children.