Editor’s Note: As Commencement approaches, we are featuring some of our Neag School Class of 2021 graduating seniors over the coming days.
Why did you choose to study this major/minor?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until the semester before the Neag application opened. I was unsure of what I wanted to do, but I started working in a local elementary school as a classroom assistant the semester before. I was placed in a bilingual classroom and was working with kids who had just come to America. Working with these kids and watching them learn made me so happy. Knowing that I played a giant impact in their life helped me realize I wanted to do this. I wanted to help kids learn new things, and I wanted to be there as their minds continued to expand and grasp all this new information presented to them. I knew I wanted to play an impact on their life for the better!
Who is your favorite professor and/or class? Why?
My favorite class is the “Teaching Language Arts in Elementary School” with Doug Kaufman and Grace Player! This is one of the intense courses we take in the fall of our senior year. This class is taken in a week, and at first, I wasn’t sure how I would manage sitting in front of my computer from 9-4 p.m., but the time went by quickly. I learned so many different techniques and creative ways to teach language arts. They both brought in different guest speakers, most of which have provided us with so much knowledge. I especially love that they have shown us different ways to be more diverse in our classrooms, especially when choosing our class books. I have found myself using many of the diverse books recommended to us through this class for my current student teaching placement. They are wonderful professors, and I loved their inclusion through this class.
“I am ready and prepared to go into the world with the incredible amount of knowledge I have learned throughout my UConn years.”
What did you accomplish during your college experience that you’re most proud of?
I think what I have accomplished that I am most proud of is being able to (student) teach through my computer. I was placed in a first-grade bilingual classroom, and the experience has been incredible! Even though my experience has been virtual, I have still been able to connect with my students and their parents. Plus, I have seen just how much they have grown academically. When I first started, most were at a kindergarten level, and now most of them are right where they are supposed to be! I am so proud of them, my cooperating teacher, and myself learning despite everything going on around the world!
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I will be pursuing my master’s degree in curriculum and Instruction. I also hope to get certified for educating bilingual learners! Eventually, I hope to have my own bilingual classroom or to teach abroad!
How has UConn prepared you for your future career?
UConn has prepared me in more ways than one! For starters, they have given me various opportunities to prepare myself before I teach. From having the opportunity to intern in different classrooms to learning material I would have never known, I am ready. I am ready and prepared to go into the world with the incredible amount of knowledge I have learned throughout my UConn years. Plus, having worked for the Office of First Year Programs and Learning Communities, I learned transferable skills that have even helped me (student) teach! All my experiences at UConn interconnect and have helped me feel prepared as I enter the real world.
How has UConn shaped you as a person?
UConn has shaped me into the person I didn’t even know I could be! I came into UConn not knowing what I wanted to be or do with my life, and I am walking out knowing what I want to do. Despite everything that occurred, from stressing over exams to dealing with a pandemic, I have survived. We all have survived! Everything good and bad throughout my time at UConn has shaped me into the person I am today!
If you could summarize your experience at UConn in three words, what would they be?
Significant, transformative, unique
What advice would you give to a student just starting at UConn?
Deciding what major you want to pursue is always difficult. Don’t be afraid to branch out because in doing so, you might just find what you want to do for the rest of your life. Once you find what you want in life, don’t be afraid to follow and achieve your goal(s)! Everything will work out 🙂
Do you have anything else interesting you’d like to share?
Don’t forget to be happy and enjoy it all!