2020 News Stories
Elementary Education major Ryan Blew selected for College of Education Graduation with Distinction Award
TAMPA, Fla. (May 7, 2020) — College of Education student Ryan Blew was selected to receive the College of Education’s Graduation with Distinction Award for the Spring 2020 semester.
The Graduation with Distinction Award is presented to select undergraduate students
in the College of Education who stand apart from their peers based on their academic
excellence, professional development, community service or research and scholarship
while a student at USF.
Blew, an Elementary Education major from Sinking Spring, Pa., got involved right away when he arrived at USF’s Tampa campus. He worked as a student assistant in the College of Education’s Student Academic Services office, helped coordinate an annual volunteer event with Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay and presented his research at national conferences.
Inspired by his former elementary teachers to become an educator himself, Blew says what he enjoyed most about his studies at USF was the connections he made with fellow aspiring educators in his program.
“I built a lot of my friends in college throughout my cohort,” Blew said. “We’re all super connected and we built a professional education family, which has been super helpful as we’re all beginning to look for jobs. It’s nice to be able to have a group of people that we can rely on, and if we have questions or just need advice on things, we have those people.”
One of Blew’s favorite memories from his time at USF was serving as President for Bulls For Kids, a student organization that hosts USF Dance Marathon, an annual fundraiser benefiting the children at Shriners Healthcare for Children in Tampa.
“Being able to go through that whole process of helping kids and being able to relate that back to students that may be in my future classroom, and being able to help support them outside of the classroom as well was super empowering and impactful,” he said.
Blew thanks his family and friends and his former teachers for inspiring him to continue on in his academic journey. Looking back on his time at USF, Blew says he’s also thankful for the team at Student Academic Services who helped him throughout his studies.
“The fact that I had a group of educators who cared about me being successful in my position but also within my major and future career goals is something I will be forever grateful for,” Blew said. “It helped me build a family away from home.”
He said he’s also grateful for the instructors and mentors he’s had throughout his coursework in the Elementary Education Program, including Natalie Gutierrez Reiser, Jennifer Perez, Raven Robinson and his collaborating teachers Lora Darby and Sara Kelley.
As his time at USF comes to an end, Blew encourages future and current students to get involved through student organizations, volunteer opportunities and work experiences that are connected to their major. It’s through these opportunities that Blew received a great deal of support, and it’s what he’ll fondly remember as he reflects on his college years.
The motivation to make the best of his time at USF is what Blew attributes to his success while a student at the university, and he feels honored to receive the Graduation with Distinction Award to celebrate his accomplishments.
“I am honored to be recognized for the work that I’m doing, even though I wasn’t doing the work to be recognized,” Blew said. “I truly cared about my time at USF and making it the best experience that I could have by helping others.”