After returning from a mission trip where she worked with children and adults with disabilities, sophomore Whitney Barnes determined she had found her passion to be a special education teacher.
“I kind of just realized it was something I want to do for the rest of my life, so hopefully that’s the direction I’m going to go with it,” Barnes said.
Barnes, who is studying elementary and special education at USD, was one of several students who attended the School of Education’s first, new monthly presentations Tuesday afternoon. Students, like Barnes, were informed about upcoming events, deadlines, admission requirements and organizations they could become involved to help round out their education degree.
“It’s really helpful, even if you’ve heard (the information) before,” Barnes said. “Just hearing it again, it just reminds you of what you need to do in order to stay on track.”
Joy Korman, a recruiter and adviser for the School of Education, collaborated with her colleagues to plan a way for students to become more knowledgeable about the program.
“Because there’s a lot of information to cover in an hour advising appointment where you’re supposed to be planning their schedule – now a year-long schedule – plus keeping them on track and knowing all this vocabulary and all those acronyms,” Korman said.
She sees the new monthly presentations as a good way for advisers to keep in contact with their students and continue building relevant relationships.
“There are a lot of students on campus that are looking for a major,” she said. “They’re undecided or (they know) their content major, like math or science, but they’re not really sure what to do with it, so it was advertised for anybody who’s interested in education.”
Recruiter and adviser Kendra Howard was present Tuesday to recruit people for a new School of Education ambassador program starting in the spring.
“Essentially, they kind of serve as liaison between high school students and the School of Ed., so it’s a way for high school students to interact with college students for a little bit while they’re here on campus,” she said.
Students interested in being a part of the new program, modeled after the student ambassadors program in the Admissions Office, were welcomed to watch for applications in January.
The next School of Education presentation planned for Oct. 20 will focus on creating attractive resumes and cover letters.
“We just hope that more of the secondary content areas that might be looking at education but they haven’t declared it yet, we really invite them to come and see what it’s all about,” Korman said.
(Photo: Sophomore Paige Wright spoke to student attendees about the South Dakota Education Association and the many ways in which they could get involved during the first of several monthly School of Education presentations on Sept. 15. Other organizations that were represented included the Sport Management Alliance, the USD Reading Council and the Council for Exceptional Children. Josie Flatgard / The Volante)