Master's Credential Cohort Program: Special Education
What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?
With my graduate degree and credential I hope to teach elementary level mild to moderate students in a special day class. I have always loved children and my goal is to be able to assist as many as possible. I also hope to obtain my moderate to severe credential in the future.
When did you begin your program, and when do you anticipate completing it?
I began my program in August of 2014 and will be finished with my Masters and Credential in Special Education in May 2016 and my Multiple Subject Credential in the Summer of 2016.
How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?
I learned about SOLES through my older sister who is a graduate of the TESOL program. She had an amazing experience and it motivated me to learn more about the special education program. I chose to enroll because I felt true dedication from the SOLES staff and I believed I was viewed as a peer and not just a student.
What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?
I was born and raised in San Diego and have lived in Mission Beach my entire life. I attended California Lutheran University as an undergrad and graduated in May 2014 with a degree in Liberal Studies (Elementary Education). I have worked as a summer camp counselor at the La Jolla YMCA for the past 5 years and during the school year I worked at the Triunfo YMCA. As an undergrad I had the opportunity to work in classrooms as part of my degree and gained a lot of hands-on experience. I always knew I was going to go into education, but it was not until my last semester that I began working with students with special needs and my future plans changed. I had already been accepted to USD’s Master's Credential Cohort Multiple Subject Program but decided to switch in June of 2014 to Special Education. I am incredibly lucky that USD has created an amazing program where I can also receive my Multiple Subject Credential with very minimal extra work. I am excited for the all the opportunity my degrees will hold for my future.
Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time or part-time, and what do you do?
I am currently representing USD as a fellow at Francis Parker Middle School. I work 20 hours a week as a teacher’s assistant in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade language arts classes and in the after school learning center. In my first semester of the program I worked at the La Jolla YMCA providing after school homework assistance and worked about 10 hours a week. I feel that it is very doable to work part-time while in the program if you are willing to commit to managing your time well.
Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?
In my first semester at USD I completed 100 hours of practicum at Valencia Park Elementary School. I worked in a second grade classroom that was inclusive to students with disabilities. I spent most of my time working with a student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The experience really made me see how students with any level of disability can be included in the classroom and that ALL teachers, no matter their credential have the obligation to provide the best for all students. In November of 2014 I was awarded a fellowship through USD in which I began working at Francis Parker Middle School. Other than attending private school in my elementary years I have never worked in a private school and the experience has been truly amazing and one I will continue until June 2015. I also currently spend one day a week in a kindergarten classroom at Valencia Park Elementary. The youngest I have taught is first grade so I am nervous, but excited for the adventure of working with kindergartens this semester!
Have you completed an international experience? What did you do?
In June of 2015 I will travel to Oxford through SOLES to complete my international experience. I am so excited for the adventure and feel that it is an incredible opportunity that everyone should take advantage of. I can’t wait to share more details once I have completed my trip!
Which class has impacted you the most? Why?
The class that has impacted me the most is EDSP 574-01 Global Perspectives by Dr. Krysti DeZonia. I really credit Dr. DeZonia for why I chose this class because she made learning about the enormous world of special education an exciting experience. There are so many different factors to special education and Dr. DeZonia used her resources to make the class exciting. We always had a speaker that was currently in the profession of the sector of special education we were discussing in class. Hearing someone talk about their first-hand experiences was invaluable and the best way to learn in my opinion.