Isabella “Bella” Gradante ’20 (ED), ’21 MA says she always knew she would pursue a career in education, having been raised by a family of educators and around schools her whole life. It wasn’t until she entered her master’s year in the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) program that she found what truly called her to the field: the practice of culturally relevant and sustaining teaching.
A program specialist for University Events and Conference Services at the University of Connecticut, alumna Anne Hill ’90 (CLAS), ’92 MA, has been planning events across campus for nearly 24 years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, Hill and her team had to uproot the strategies they had been using to design in-person events and pivot to online platforms.
The Neag School of Education’s Alumni Board recently sought to highlight the equity work the West Hartford Public Schools district has been doing in social justice education as well as social emotional learning through a virtual panel discussion in December. The Board’s Student and Alumni Networking Committee Chair, Jocelyn Tamborello-Noble ’03 ED, ’04 MA, ’09 6th Year, spearheaded the event, recruiting colleagues who have been engaged in different facets of social justice work throughout their careers to speak on the panel alongside her.
Luis Ferreira will begin his Ph.D. studies in educational psychology this spring after facing unforeseen obstacles in obtaining a visa to study in the United States. Accepted to UConn’s Neag School of Education in February 2020, he has made tremendous sacrifices to pursue his doctorate, including moving away from his wife and family in Brazil.
On the way home from a hip-hop education conference last year, Justis Lopez ’14 (ED), ’15 (MA) and his colleague Ryan Parker were unpacking what they had learned and what they were feeling that day. They started to freestyle rap and found themselves filled with joy, repeating the verse ‘I’m feeling so happy.’ Their freestyling turned into a song called “HAPPYVISM” that is now part of a greater initiative they have named Project Happyvism.
Associate Professor David Moss has spent the past six years actively expanding Neag School study abroad programs around the world as the Neag School’s global education director, and the past 20 years coordinating UConn’s long-standing London study abroad program in education.
The summer is typically a time for school superintendents to reflect on the previous school year and start thinking about the year ahead. However, preparation looks very different in the age of COVID-19 as school districts choose between three reopening models: fully in-person, hybrid, or remote.
“I want to take the information my students trusted me with and give it a voice, give it a platform, allow it to start new conversations, and new ways of thinking,” says Truth Hunter ’14 MA, Neag School of Education Dean’s Doctoral Scholar. “That is how I hope to use my experience as a Dean’s Doctoral Scholar.”
This summer marks one year since the Neag School’s University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) began implementing changes as part of a nationwide effort known as the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). In 2016, UConn was one of seven universities selected to join this initiative, funded by New York City-based Wallace Foundation, aimed at improving training for aspiring administrators.
Andrew Girard MA ’19 has been preparing for baseball’s opening day since this past September. As the stadium operations manager for the Hartford Yard Goats, Girard oversees the maintenance and facility enhancement projects at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut. When he learned that the season start date would be delayed due to COVID-19, he and his team began creating systems to ensure that fans would feel comfortable and safe when they were able to return to the park.