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A Day in the Life: Course Development Lead Einar Escoto

Written by Bannon Puckett on Jun 24, 2021

Related content: Curriculum Development, Leadership

This story is a part of our “A Day in the Life'' series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. This article celebrates one of our 2020 No Back Row Award winners—an employee recognized for embracing one of 2U’s nine Guiding Principles. Einar Escoto was one of two 2Utes selected as the winners of the Be Bold and Fearless award.

Einar Escoto will never forget his first job. After completing a graduate program in women’s studies, he started working as a creative liaison to celebrity life coach Tony Robbins—developing content for domestic and international live events that were regularly attended by thousands of cheering fans.

After three jam-packed years in this role, Einar decided to switch things up—making a cross-country move from California to Maryland and freelancing as a hybrid consultant, project manager, and content producer for agencies that focused on live event production.

Einar on the roof of the London School of Economics, one of 2U's university partners his team works with

While Einar enjoyed the work, he soon found himself being pulled in a new direction. “As much as I loved the chaotic nature of producing live shows, my heart has always been with education and the arts,” he says. “I always knew that my forever job would combine my production skills, passion for education, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. When I found 2U, it truly felt like home.”

Read on to see the incredible strides this lifelong learner has taken in his “forever job” at 2U—from launching innovative courses with some of the world’s top universities to serving as the first chair of 2U’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Here’s his story, in his own words.

Einar emoting in mid-performance

Why did you join 2U? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?

I joined 2U because I saw an opportunity to have a role that truly embodied everything I am passionate about. I am a lifelong and voracious learner. If it were up to me, I’d be in school for the rest of my life. There are so many things I want to learn and so many people I would love to be. I love my job now, but I also would have loved to be a behavioral analyst for the FBI, a therapist, a neurologist, a full-time traveling poet and author, a Rubik’s Cube World Champion, a video game designer, and so much more.

What I saw in 2U was an opportunity to not just have a job that I was passionate about, but also to be part of a company that would allow me to continue learning. Prior to being a course development lead, I worked as a course developer, collaborating with numerous professors on courses in topics I’d never learned about. I joke that, in the role, I received 10% of an MBA and 3% of a doctorate in occupational therapy. There has never been a dull moment during my time at 2U.

Einar and his team work hard but clearly also have a lot of fun

How would you describe your role at 2U?

As a course development lead, I manage a team of course developers who work alongside faculty members to strategize, plan, and develop courses within our program portfolio. Though our program assignments are ever-changing, my team currently works with UC Davis, Northwestern, Harvard, the London School of Economics, and Morehouse College. I also work in partnership with the respective directors of curriculum development to help manage the relationship with the program.

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?

The most rewarding part of all my roles at 2U has always been the payoff of working an average of 10 months on course development, seeing the course launch, and then hearing about the success of students and how much they enjoyed the course. The most challenging part of my job would have to be the constant innovation of my soft skills in order to meet the needs of our partners while simultaneously drawing boundaries in order to protect our development timeline and internal 2U teams.

Einar and his brother flying the Transgender Pride Flag and LGBT Pride Flag, respectively

Out of everything you’ve done at 2U so far, what gives you the most pride?

Being the first chair of Mosaic, 2U’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, gives me the most pride. I’m humbled that such an important role was entrusted to me. Though there were many lessons learned, it was such an honor working alongside passionate and committed leaders who want to make 2U a better and more equitable workplace.

Each of 2U’s 2020 No Back Row Award winners were recognized for their commitment to one of the company’s nine Guiding Principles. What does the honor of receiving the Be Bold and Fearless award mean to you?

Admittedly, one of my biggest areas of personal growth is learning how to truly celebrate myself. When I found out I got nominated, became a finalist, and then ultimately won the Be Bold and Fearless award, I was bombarded with so much love and support from fellow 2Utes. Each time, I quickly said “thank you” and changed the subject. In my discomfort of this praise, I found a learning opportunity and realized I wasn’t granting myself the space to truly celebrate my accomplishments.

Einar and his fluffy and flexible sidekick Mochi

The year 2020 was extremely hard for all of us. Sometimes, when we get so caught up in trying to survive, we forget to celebrate the fact that we are already survivors. When I realized this, the honor I felt was so impactful. I’m incredibly grateful to work alongside such brilliant and talented individuals—and it has been my biggest privilege to be part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations at 2U, as well.

To me, the Be Bold and Fearless guiding principle doesn’t mean to not be afraid. It means recognizing that the fear is always bigger than the actual task. Some of the greatest things I’ve ever accomplished in my life started with me being completely afraid. When I learned that I don’t have to stop being afraid in order to still be my authentic self, I granted myself permission to put that fear beside me versus in front of me. This guiding principle, to me, means embracing the fear and redirecting the strength of that fear into making positive change.

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