Dr. Ai Zhang
Dr. Ai’s childhood dream was to become a college professor. After receiving her MA from Syracuse University and then her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, she officially began her teaching career as an Assistant Professor.
A few years into her teaching career, Dr. Ai discovered that students were becoming more disengaged and less interested in learning. In their minds, learning is equivalent to scores, GPA, and academic performance only. The most common questions that Dr. Ai received from her students included those, “Dr. Ai, will this be on the exam? Dr. Ai, if I go to your event, will I get extra credit?” These questions were hurtful to Dr. Ai, because she became a teacher to see the spark in students’ eyes as they enjoy learning for the sake of learning.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ai’s own kids started to express a lack of interest in attending schools. Her seven-year-old son then shared that his only favorite time at school was recess. Gosh. That was hurtful, too.
Out of her compassion for her own undergraduate students and her desperation as a teacher and mom, Dr. Ai embarked on a journey to figure out today’s education crisis. She became obsessed. The obsession led her to make two decisions that changed her life in profound ways.
She became a practitioner, finally starting to practice what she was teaching in the classroom, aka, Public Relations, Communication, and Social Media classes.
She also became a student again, finally letting go of the “fame” and ego associated with a PhD, a so-called terminal degree.
Fast forward to today, Dr. Ai is no longer teaching inside the four walls, but on a much larger stage. She is the founder of Classroom Without Walls, an alternative school that prepares students to be future-ready by teaching them what schools are NOT.
Dr. Ai also serves as an Education consultant. She works with schools and brands to help them understand how to incorporate social media and creative technologies into the classroom to enhance student engagement, especially for online classes.
Dr. Ai is also a proud Adobe Education Leader and HubSpot Academy Instructor. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Authority Magazine, Search Engine Journal, Inside Higher Education, The Today Show’s Parenting Column, Pearson Education, and numerous other outlets.
Dr. Ai brings her 10+ years of experience in the education space and in transforming education as a co-author in Julia’s new book, Skip the Degree & Save the Tuition.