- ’15 BA Secondary Education
- ’18 MED Elementary Education
What drew you to pursuing a career in education and why did you choose the University of Nevada, Reno, and the College of Education & Human Development?
I wanted to influence the lives of my students. Coming from a family with a long-established commitment to education, it was natural for me to gravitate towards education. I also had some very influential teachers in my schooling. In particular, Mrs. Egan was one of my 7th-grade teachers who impacted me. She was very real and grounded, and gave me the room to be who I was. That stayed with me and influences how I am as a teacher with my students.
I always knew I wanted to attend the University of Nevada, Reno. My family are alumni, and I have deep roots in Reno as a 6th generation Nevadan. I have so many fond memories of going to basketball and football games growing up. There never was a question that I would join the Wolf Pack – it was ingrained in me from the start!
What were your favorite traditions at the University of Nevada, Reno?
I joined Tri Delta and had so many wonderful experiences with my sorority sisters as well as my cohort in the College of Education & Human Development. Of course, the tailgates and games were always my favorites!
How did your education in the College of Education & Human Development contribute to your career and life journey?
In both my undergraduate and graduate classes, I had many influential teachers. One influential teacher was Dr. (Margaret) Ferrara. She not only saw me as a student, but as a person. She was authentic and took the time to connect with me.
These gestures helped shape how I would like my students to view me in the future. I realized how much authenticity matters in any grade you are teaching.
I also really enjoyed the practicum and internship experience. It allowed me to have hands-on learning and to build relationships in the community. I originally thought I wanted to be a high school teacher, but once I was at Billinghurst, I loved it and knew that is where I wanted my career to begin.
My degrees helped expand my skill sets in writing, speaking and listening. Those skill sets have helped me to be versatile- which is demonstrated in my work as an author for my new book “Fate, Faith & a Feral Feline”.
What are you most proud of in your professional life?
I am so proud of my ability to adapt. I have taught several different grade levels and had to rise to many challenging occasions. However, these experiences have made me a stronger leader and person. My writing is the perfect complement to teaching. Having an ambitious personality, I always knew I wanted to write a book. When the topic came to mind, I knew that I had to pursue the writing process. The book is very dear to me. I am confident that I’ll continue writing in the future.
What advice would you give to students following in your footsteps today?
My advice to students in the College of Education and Human Development today would be to stay flexible and open to new opportunities. Become a sub first to get a feeling for your style. Additionally, bring your personality to your classroom. Authenticity is crucial to connecting with your students. This will help sustain you through challenging moments. It is important to build your confidence by getting out there and making community connections – you never know what’s waiting for you! Lastly, stay active and invest in your health and wellness.
What has been a recent meaningful moment for you in your teaching? We are calling these “Moments that Matter.”
Sometimes a teacher needs the kids more than they know. After a very hectic week, I received a note that stated, “I always love all your outfits. You are so happy, calm and real. You give it to us straight.” These simple words helped affirm that students are always watching. Making a difference starts with leading by example.
We all need connection and the little moments and gestures truly matter.