Adrianna (Adrie) Van Wonterghem, Peer Advisor: "I always viewed teaching as a profession that could be both rewarding and exciting."
Adrianna (Adrie) Van Wonterghem is a junior pursuing a double major in Political Science and Education Sciences. She currently is serving as a School of Education Peer Advisor to undergraduates.
Below, Adrie shares her thoughts about her time at UCI and her aspirations for the future.
I grew up just two exits down the I-405, in the small town of Lake Forest, CA. Just ten miles away, UC Irvine had always been a part of my life. My mother worked with the UCI extension programs, my older sister completed her B.S. at UCI, and my high school frequently toured the campus as part of its extracurricular involvements. I knew of its prestige and what it could offer its students, but I did not know how greatly the character of UC Irvine would impact my college experience.
Ever since I was a little kid I have been fascinated with the art of teaching. The way in which we learn and why we learn what we learn has captivated me since elementary school. When I wasn’t doing homework or playing sports, I played pretend school with my family, teaching different subjects and skills to anyone who would attend my little classes. I always viewed teaching as a profession that could be both rewarding and exciting. Moving into high school, my honors teachers showed me that teaching could be impactful and raw, as we dove through current events and debated international politics. It was here where my love for teaching and a newfound interest for politics and government collided. I decided to pursue an education in both, hoping to one day join the two together in the professional world.
I began my career at UCI with a double major in Political Science and Education Sciences. I quickly realized how dedicated the staff and faculty were to the success of the student. Within a few months at UCI, I began working for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs as a student administrator. Experiencing the behind the scenes efforts of UCI’s top administrators strengthened my desire to get involved and submerge myself in the academic community. Now as a third year student, I currently work for the School of Education as a Peer Academic Advisor. Engaging directly with students and counseling others on their educational pursuits gives me the chance to give back to my peers. When I am not advising UCI’s current students, I
spend my time inspiring tomorrow’s students through the School of Social Sciences Global Connect program. As a yearlong intern, I teach middle and high school students in the Newport Mesa School District about current issues and global topics. When I am not teaching, I work with esteemed faculty to develop new curriculum for future students. Aside from academics, I also enjoy serving as the New Member Educator for Delta Delta Delta, a Panhellenic sorority on campus.
After completing my bachelor’s degrees in Fall of 2019, I hope to attend graduate school to pursue a Masters of Arts in Teaching and receive my teaching credential. After teaching through my twenties, I aspire to obtain a Ph.D. in Administrative Education or Curriculum Development, hoping to one day become a principal of a high school.
When I first arrived at UCI I thought that teaching was the ceiling for my career aspirations. After working with both faculty and administrators, I have come to realize that teaching is just the beginning. With an education from UCI the opportunities are limitless. I have formed invaluable connections and mentorships that will lead me to that next level. I truly believe that UCI has gifted me with the skills and perspective needed to succeed wherever life takes me.
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