Class of 2021 Senior Profile: Elizabeth Canavan

Class of 2021 senior Elizabeth Canavan smiles with Horsebarn Hill and the UConn campus in the background.
“(Don’t) be afraid to try new things and make connections … (don’t be) afraid to reach out if you need help,” says graduating senior Elizabeth Canavan ’21 (ED). (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Canavan)

Editor’s Note: As Commencement approaches, we are featuring some of our Neag School Class of 2021 graduating seniors over the coming days.

Major:

Secondary Mathematics Education and Mathematics (dual degree)

Extracurriculars:

UConn Marching Band, UConn Connects Mentor, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society

Scholarships:

Juros Scholarship, Bernard Sippin ’52 Scholarship, Klein Family Scholarship, Sidney Skolnick Fund Scholarship, Neag School Alumni Board Scholarship

Hometown:

Ellington, Connecticut

Why did you choose to study this major/minor?

Growing up, I always looked up to and appreciated my teachers in K-12 schooling. I knew that I wanted to go into the education field. Upon reflecting on my past, I noticed that even though math was my favorite class in school, most of my peers despised the subject and thought that they were inferior in their math classes. This upset me, and I realized that I wanted to combat the negative stigma that math has while supporting my future students.

Who is your favorite professor and/or class? Why?

For my math degree, my favorite class was MATH 3710W: Mathematical Modeling with Dave McArdle. It was nice to take my collegiate math knowledge and apply it creatively directly to the real world. For my education degree, my favorite class was my methods courses with Megan Staples. This is where I was able to bond with the math education cohort and learn in-depth about pedagogy and the interworkings of teaching.

“I feel more prepared to continue with my higher education to learn even more and then go into the field with an educated perspective!

What did you accomplish during your college experience that you’re most proud of?

Honestly, I think that my current placement as a student teacher is what I am most proud of. Not only is this experience a culmination of everything I have learned thus far in my undergrad around education, but it also has been a unique experience this year due to the global pandemic. At the school that I am at every day for my teaching placement, they have in-person and remote students in all of the classes that I teach. Navigating teaching for the first time while trying to navigate virtual teaching has been a rigorous yet very rewarding experience. The connections that I have made with my students and the school staff have only reassured my decision to pursue teaching as a career, and I cannot wait for the future!

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

After graduation, I will be pursuing my master’s degree within the IB/M program here at UConn’s Neag School of Education.

How has UConn prepared you for your future career?

My experience in the Neag School has prepared me for my future career. The student teaching placement is an integral part of UConn’s teacher education program, and it has helped me grow immensely as a future educator. This experience, combined with methodology classes and work with advisors, has enriched my understanding and prepared me for the future. I feel more prepared to continue with my higher education to learn even more and then go into the field with an educated perspective!

How has UConn shaped you as a person?

UConn has allowed me to grow as a person and has given me so many new opportunities, experiences, and connections. Through my involvement on campus, I met new people and made connections with people from all different walks of life. My involvement in the UConn Marching Band, UConn Connects, and Dining Services, I was able to work closely with others and enjoy the community that I was a part of at UConn. Even though my undergrad career was not typical because of the pandemic, I relied on these connections that I made at UConn to support me through these trying times. I learned that the people you are with completely alter the experience you have, and I am lucky to say that I have met some amazing people during my time here at UConn!

If you could summarize your experience at UConn in three words, what would they be?

Enjoy the Connections

What advice would you give to a student just starting at UConn?

I would advise new UConn students not to be afraid to try new things and make connections. Whether attending a new club, introducing yourself to someone down the hall, or staying after class to talk to a professor, they all can alter your experience. Another important piece of advice that I have is not being afraid to reach out if you need help. College can be a very unique and also extremely stressful time; making sure that you take care of yourself is important, and part of this is asking for help if you need it. No matter if this means you ask a friend, mentor, advisor, or professor for help, their support will enhance your experience and create a connection that can help you through the hard times.

Do you have anything else interesting you’d like to share?

I work at a local bakery/cafe in my hometown as a baker!