Hannah Sullivan is a student in the master's of education in early childhood and childhood education. She is also a graduate assistant for Accessibility Services in the Academic Success Center.
Thanks to a life-changing opportunity offered by Niagara’s College of Education, I’ve spent much of my past two summers at a school in Saint Marc, Haiti. I worked with other NU students and coordinators at the Haitian school to provide activities for students in pre-K through 6th grade during the school’s summer camp. Anything from reading skills, language practice, or tennis lessons were fair game. Building relationships with the children and seeing how a different part of the world lives sparked passion within me.
Having graduated from NU with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I had intentions to earn a master’s degree in mental health counseling. It wasn’t until my second stay at the school in Haiti that I realized teaching is my calling. A combination of building greater rapport with the students, experiencing what it’s like to teach a child something new, and the way I felt when these two things combined is what led to my "aha moment." The opportunity to travel to Haiti twice, discover the career path meant for me and gain priceless experiences is all thanks to Niagara’s College of Education.
One of the perks of this master’s program in education is that it’s based on a two-day-a-week course schedule. During the fall and spring semesters, courses take place two consecutive days a week. This allows teacher candidates to prepare our work schedules and classroom placements around course times. Prior to student teaching, I’m required to complete 150 practicum hours in different classrooms and grade levels. Being in the classroom is my favorite part of the week, as it allows me to put everything I’m learning in my coursework to practice. I’m confident putting my knowledge to practice because Niagara is CAEP accredited.
Having a graduate assistantship in the Academic Success Center has broadened my understanding and appreciation for Niagara’s commitment to student achievement. This opportunity allows me to support and interact with the undergraduate community while also developing professionally. Much of my graduate assistantship experience can relate to my future career path as a teacher. Working in an office that promotes the support of students with accessibility needs has provided unique opportunity to confidently accommodate the needs of my own students in the future.
I owe much of my personal and professional growth to Niagara University. NU is filled with an endless amount of opportunities for you to take advantage of. Build relationships with your professors, study abroad, get involved, and apply for assistantships and scholarships you qualify for. You’ll be surprised how much gets accomplish when you have the courage to take that first step.
For more information on the master's of education in early childhood and childhood education, please contact the College of Education Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716.286.8336.