At the 2016-2017 Master of Arts in Teaching Recognition Ceremony, Adriana Mancilla was awarded a Mary Roosevelt Honor Scholarship in Teaching and Learning for excellence in academics, demonstrated leadership skills, and dedication to improving the lives and educational opportunities of students. Adriana is pursuing her MAT with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Below, she shares her thoughts about her educational journey and her chosen career.
I am the middle child of three children. I grew up in a Spanish speaking household in the city of La Puente, California and I currently reside there. Growing up I developed a love for reading at a very early age because of my mom. One day, my mom took my younger sister and me to our public library and introduced us to a whole new world. I remember how excited I was walking in, seeing all those books, and then learning that I could get my very own library card and take books home. From then on my mom would read to my sister and me every night before we went to sleep. I loved our story time, and I even began to take over my mom’s role and pretend to read the books to my sister. I loved being around books and visiting our public library as often as I possibly could. From there I learned about how books would be available to me once I started school, and I associated books and reading with school. I remember playing “school” around my house, and when I was finally old enough to attend, all the love I had for books and reading just transitioned over to school in general.
Before graduating from high school, UCI was one of the first universities to contact me and bring attention to their campus. I loved the UCI campus upon arriving and the people I encountered were helpful, kind, and overall just great, so choosing UCI as the place to continue my studies was one of the easiest decisions I have ever had to make.
As an undergrad I enrolled in a few education courses and enjoyed them very much, which led me to the decision of officially enrolling as an education minor. After declaring a minor in education I started working with educators and students around the area. I joined Think Together in the Santa Ana area and helped students in an after school program with homework assistance. I also spent a year being a teacher’s assistant in a second grade classroom at Turtle Rock Elementary in Irvine, where I got my first real take on managing a class. Then through a child development course with an emphasis on the importance of exposure to early literacy, I partnered up with Think Together once more and became a story time reader at the Kaiser in Costa Mesa where I interacted with both children and parents. In the fall of 2010 I enrolled in a direct research in education course that focused on literacy development under the direction of Laurie Hansen. Through this course I became a research assistant and worked with students in various schools in the Fullerton and Placentia areas. All these great and rewarding experiences I was involved with during my time at UCI helped keep me on the path of education.
Even after graduating from UCI I always found myself in the education setting. I was employed at two different school districts in an ASES (After School Safety and Education) Program, where my role as a program leader meant managing a group of students on my own with homework assistance, recreational activities as well as enrichment activities. I also became employed as a media center aide at an elementary school where I organized and managed the entire school library. All these experiences I have had both during my time at UCI and post-UCI has helped me develop a love and passion for education. It is something that I greatly look forward to pursuing. I know that any role in the education system whether it is a teacher, principal, or volunteer has great value and importance for children and our society in general, and it is something that I want to be a part of.
Completing the UCI MAT program and becoming a great and influential elementary school teacher is my current goal, but my dreams don’t stop there. I want to be able to change students’ lives for the better and hopefully in the future help make a difference in education system in general; possibly focusing on literacy and the importance of it. Wherever I end up, I know that I will have great love and passion for it, and I am very thrilled to be returning to UCI to start this new chapter in my life.