At the 2016-2017 MAT Recognition Ceremony, Master of Arts in Teaching Multiple Subject Credential Candidate Jessica Russo was awarded a 2016-2017 Dean's Scholarship for her academic achievement and her commitment to developing her skills and knowledge as a new teacher. Below, Jessica shares her thoughts about her educational journey and her chosen career.
I was born and raised in Fullerton, California. I have a couple of interests that have stuck with me from early childhood until now. I have always loved to read for pleasure, which I think made me partial to studying English as an undergrad. Some of my favorite authors and poets include James Baldwin, Sara Teasdale, and Sherman Alexie. I also love to be outdoors (hiking, biking, and sightseeing), and I have an interest in biology and zoology, which led to my volunteering at the Orange County Zoo in high school and working at the Santa Barbara Zoo in college.
When choosing a credential program, I considered a lot of different programs, but I felt that UCI was the right fit. As a student here I would have the opportunity to student teach in classrooms close to the community where I was a primary education student. Ultimately I want to teach in or around the area that I grew up in, so attending UCI was a great opportunity to be integrated into the Orange County education system as an aspiring teacher this time instead of as a student. It means a lot to me to think that some of the younger siblings of my peers or old high school friends may be in the classrooms that I teach in some day.
I am drawn to education because the experience of introducing children to books, ideas, or any type of information (academic or otherwise) that they can use as tools to facilitate their intellectual growth in the future never gets old. It’s an exciting, meaningful experience to see children interact with new information that redefines the possibilities for them as learners and thinkers, and that’s what I want to dedicate my life to.
Dean Richard Arum and Jessica Russo