Class of 2020 Senior Profile: Damayanti Rane-Castrodad

Damayanti Rane-Castrodad
“Take advantage of the opportunities that surround you because you never know where those opportunities will lead you,” says graduating senior Damayanti Rane-Castrodad ’20 (ED), ’21 MA. (Photo courtesy of Damayanti Rane-Castrodad)

Editor’s Note: As Commencement approaches, we are featuring some of our Neag School Class of 2020 graduating seniors over the coming days. 

Major: Elementary Education with a concentration in Science

Extracurriculars: President of the Teacher Education Student Association; member of Leadership in Diversity; morale captain for HuskyTHON; member of Alpha Chi Omega; coordinator for the L.E.A.D mentorship program; and member of the 2019 Leadership Legacy cohort.

Hometown: Mystic, Conn.

What do you aspire to be? I aspire to be an elementary educator because I believe that education has the ability to transform lives. I always remind myself that teachers are the profession that teaches all other professions, which holds a lot of power. I know that I want to embark on a lifelong commitment to learning as an educator to help students unveil their true passions and to make them more empowered and enlightened human beings. I hope to be that person to teach my students how to value diversity, to be curious and seek new challenges, and to persevere with all of life’s obstacles. I could not imagine doing anything else but enriching the lives of our youth and changing the world around me.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Grace Player. Those who are fortunate to have a class with Professor Player know that her passion for reading and writing radiates into her teaching, and it gets students equally as enthused about the subject. She pushed me to be the best version of myself, and her guidance has better prepared me to teach reading and writing in my clinic placement and future classrooms. Her focus and drive for multicultural education in classrooms has inspired me and shaped my teaching pedagogy, which will expand my knowledge on how to better serve my future students.

UConn has prepared me for my future career because I was able to find my voice and confidence as I prepare myself to become a teacher.

What did you accomplish that you’re most proud of? Since my freshman year, I have participated in UConn’s Future Educators Club. This organization has allowed me to participate in learning opportunities such as professional conferences, educational events, and political action workshops. I had the honor of serving as the club’s president in my junior year, and it is an accomplishment that I am very proud of. As this was the first club I was involved in on campus, the position helped me grow as an individual, a student, a teacher, and a leader. Serving as president allowed me to give back to an organization that jump-started my career and help my fellow Huskies navigate through this profession by cultivating positive spaces of learning.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After I graduate, I intend on returning to the University of Connecticut where I will complete my master’s degree in Neag’s IB/M program. Following that, I plan on returning to my hometown and finding a teaching position in a school district near me. My work as a teacher will center on all my knowledge that I have learned during my time at UConn.

How has UConn prepared you for your future career? UConn has prepared me for my future career because I was able to find my voice and confidence as I prepare myself to become a teacher. I started my journey as an overwhelmed freshman who didn’t know her place at such a large university and was confused as to what opportunities to participate in. But over time, I found my place at different organizations where I was able to explore my passions and bolster my leadership skills. These past four years weren’t easy, but certainly the most rewarding experience of my life. The challenges that I have faced will better prepare me for the uncertainties that will evidently occur as a teacher.

What advice would you give to a student who is just starting out? To a student who is beginning their journey at UConn, take advantage of the opportunities that surround you because you never know where those opportunities will lead you. They may come with their challenges and frustration, but during those moments, you will learn so much about yourself and your desired career field. Involving yourself with all that UConn has to offer will allow you to meet incredible people and build lifelong friendships. Four years of undergraduate work is going to go by so quickly, so take risks, step outside of your comfort zone, and be present!