Notre Dame Law Student to Present at the Sorbonne

Author: Kevin Allen

Martha Astor

Martha Astor’s passion for education guided her to law school.

Astor, 1L, spent the first phase of her career teaching pedagogy at Northern Arizona University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She also worked as an educational consultant on Indian reservations in Arizona, New Mexico, and several other states.

She said she frequently saw young teachers enter the field and become frustrated by education regulations.

“They go out into school districts, and – because of all the regulation – they can’t do everything they want to do for kids,” she said.

“There is so much legislation and policy over the top of you,” she said. “I’m sure the politicians mean well, but they don’t necessarily understand what happens in the classroom and what needs to happen for students.”

Those experiences ultimately led Astor to Notre Dame Law School. She hopes to work in education policy after earning her law degree.

“To actually be able to make a difference and effect the change I want, I have to learn to address policy,” she said.

Astor will present an education paper in June at the Sorbonne in Paris as part of the 12th International Conference on the Arts in Society.

Astor co-authored the paper, titled “Arts Pedagogy: Refining Our ‘Touch’ with Gifted and Talented Youth,” with her mother, Angelica Astor, a special education professor at Northern Arizona University. They will present the paper together at the Sorbonne.

“It’s about gifted and talented children and how you can address their needs, and specifically help them emerge from trouble within school,” she said.

The mother-daughter pair have teamed up on several education-related projects over the years. They published a book, “Regrowing from Our Roots: A New Vision for Education,” in 2015.

“It’s a crazy thing, but we get along really well and have a shared vision of education,” she said. “So, it works out really well.”