Last week, over 100 high schoolers – all aspiring educators from River Ridge and Pasco e-School High Schools – were welcomed to the USF Tampa’s College of Education (COEDU). These students experienced a full-day of activities facilitated by college students, staff, and faculty; and, were able to engage in examples of hands-on, highly adaptive methods of instruction in the Collaboratory (i.e., a multi-functional STEM demonstration lab).
As part of their USF COEDU experiences, these future teachers learned from and interacted with a panel of College of Education representatives who shared inspirational accounts of their personal journeys into the profession. One student commented, “I feel that I relate to your [a USF representative] journey as I have very similar interests in wanting to work young people.”
In addition, students were taken on a campus tour of USF that included: the Marshall Student Center; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Castro beach; and, the library. Specifically, the students visited one residence hall where living learning community (LLC) students reside. They had an opportunity to take a peek into students’ dorm rooms and talk with current students. Fatima Ruiz-Reyes, current USF sophomore, shared her experience of how she pursued her academic career choice with the USF College of Education. She explained how her initial concerns about feeling homesick were alleviated almost immediately after she developed an instant, personal connection with members of the College of Education!
Throughout the day-long visit, COEDU student guides shared the benefits of living on campus and support services offered from tutoring in the library to convenient access to health care. While at the Marshall Student Center, Dean Rolle treated the students and their chaperones to lunch, helping to ensure they had a good feel for a day in the life as a USF College of Education student.
The high school visitors finished their day by participating in a team building exercise that had no shortage of energy, creativity, and fun! Ilana Gunson, a USF first-year student, helped to facilitate the activity. She was impressed with the students and said, “It was wonderful to be able to engage with so many future educators and encourage them to work together and think creatively in ways they may not have otherwise!”
Before leaving, students had fun taking pictures in front of the USF College of Education branded backdrop. And, of course, a day at USF would not be complete without capturing a “Horns Up” moment and yelling the University of South Florida chant! Ms. Beth Hess, lead teacher of the New Teacher Academy at River Ridge High School and champion for aspiring students to enter the teaching profession, shared “This was absolutely and amazing opportunity for our students!”
As the students and teachers began walking to their buses, students casually remarked about feeling excited and confident about the possibility of becoming a USF Bull and pursuing their undergraduate degrees with the College of Education! In fact, many students left with a newfound interest in the wide array of possibilities that the field of education has to offer. Ms. Stephanie Carter, Pasco e-School teacher of Introduction of the Teaching Profession, commented that her students “had a great time and was completely impressed with the campus and the LLCs”.
Anyone interested in visiting the USF College of Education, contact Emma Alexander, Undergraduate Recruiter, at firstname.lastname@example.org