At the 2016-2017 Master of Arts in Teaching Recognition Ceremony, Shay Sharp 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. Shay is pursuing her MAT with a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. Below, she shares her thoughts about her educational journey and her chosen career.
I was born and raised in Orange County, California. Family is very important to me and has been my source of encouragement and strength throughout my education and personal life. In my free time, I love to spend time with family, bake goodies, read books, and hike beautiful trails.
I am a proud graduate of Our Lady of Fatima grade school and Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Both schools provided me with a strong foundation for college. In 2014, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saddleback Community College with an Associates in English, and in December 2015, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in English Education and two minors in Communication Studies and Religious Studies.
I was fortunate to be able to engage in a variety of education-related activities. I tutor high school students in English, Spanish, Science, History, Economics, and Religion. Tutoring has given me the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with students with various learning styles and aptitudes. The experience has been priceless. I served as the Secretary of Community Service during my first year at Saddleback and as the Director of Student Clubs and Organizations during my sophomore year. Both roles taught me the importance of communication skills, group collaboration, effective leadership, and organization. I have graded freshman and sophomore English essays for three years and taught a few mini-lessons on grammar and essay writing. A challenging yet very rewarding learning experience! And, working in the business world has given me a new perspective on teaching English. In addition to helping students grow their critical thinking and analytical skills with fiction and non-fiction books, I want to make more “on the job” connections in the classroom by incorporating business writing and website copy writing.
Choosing UCI for my graduate studies was a difficult decision for me. The English Education program at California State University, Long Beach was excellent; the dedicated and intelligent professors at CSULB made the experience all the more fruitful. The campus diversity also made for interesting and fruitful classroom discussions. Ultimately, I made the move to UCI because I thought it was important to gain yet another perspective and philosophy of teaching and education. Both Saddleback College and CSULB had unique approaches and philosophies, and I believed that I became a better, more well-rounded learner by experiencing different collegiate communities. UCI’s accelerated and combined credential and MA program was certainly a practical appeal for me. Additionally, after reviewing the curriculum for the program, I believed that the classes would help build and hone my teaching skills, provide practical applications to the classroom, and introduce me to the latest theories and research. Most of all, UCI’s Education Department gave me the impression that it was a composed of a community of lifelong learners, and I think it’s important that all teachers are lifelong learners.
I want to be an educator because I want to be a problem-solver, a guide, and a source of knowledge for both my students and for the educational field as a whole. I believe that education is the most important aspect—the foundation—of any great society, and I have seen the impact that teachers in my own life have made on their students. Plus, I want to be a life-long learner. My desire is to teach (and learn!) from a variety class levels (academic, college prep, IB, ELL, etc.) and from students with different socio-economic backgrounds, learning styles, and personalities. I hope to gain this experience and knowledge and one day contribute to the research and curricula in academia.
Mary Roosevelt and Shay Sharp