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When she was 9-years-old, Maude Graham dreamed of replacing the lined-up teddy bears in her bedroom with her own classroom of students. Today, she’s an experienced third-grade reading teacher at Rosabelle W. Blake Academy and was honored as the 2021 Polk County Teacher of the Year—a recognition that’s reserved for only one out of 6,800 educators in the county’s school district.
April 14, 2021Student Life
Having witnessed the impact education had at home, Kianna Pintado began her academic journey years later as an elementary education major at the University of South Florida.
Laura Meehan knew her passion for music and students with disabilities would guide her to make a meaningful difference. Driven to learn more about policy, Meehan took on leadership roles within her school and began working toward a PhD in Educational Leadership in USF's College of Education.
March 3, 2021Student Life
A self-proclaimed "later-in-life" graduate student, Donna Knudsen didn’t think she could take her academic journey any further—until she discovered USF’s Ed.D. in Educational Program Development.
Julia Genkinger always knew she wanted to become a teacher. The USF graduate, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education, says she was eager to take on every opportunity she could while a university student.
Dedicated to her role as director of a STEM schools project in Cairo, Egypt, USF graduate student Sara Leikin had no intention of pursuing a doctoral degree. When she learned about USF’s Doctor of Education in Educational Program Development, she felt confident in her ability to continue her studies from a distance.
January 14, 2021Student Life
Becoming a school counselor wasn’t something Wilfredo Pena originally set out to do. After earning his bachelor’s degree in special education from St. Petersburg College, Pena’s plan to continue his studies and work as a school administrator shifted when one of his mentors encouraged him to consider a career in counselor education.
During her master's program at USF, Hillary Van Dyke's fascination with studying equity in schools grew and inspired her to pursue an unanticipated career direction—academic research and the creation of a not-for-profit organization that supports Black-owned businesses in the Tampa Bay community.
After earning two degrees and pursuing a career in early childhood education within her home country of India, Deeksha Aradhya wanted to continue her studies to view the field through a research lens.
September 3, 2020Student Life
Establishing a career centered on history was what Cristina Viera aimed for when she started her college journey. After commencing a career in education, she transitioned to a civilian position with the Department of Defense (DoD). During her 12 years with the DoD, Viera realized teaching was her true calling.
At the start of her studies at USF, Merritt Smith overcame obstacles in earning her state of Florida teaching certification. Today, she is a soon-to-be graduate of USF’s Physical Education program who stands out amongst her peers by being recognized as the university’s 2019-20 Outstanding Intern of the Year.