Junior Melia Watson explored many education paths before finding her calling in Special Education. The comfort and acceptance extended to Melia on her journey by the College of Education is something she will take with her to a future classroom of her own. For students who come from backgrounds with less opportunity, the classroom doubles as a place to call home.
A little bit about Melia
Q: Where is home for you?
A: Naperville, Illinois
Q:What is your major?
A: I'm a junior in Special Education.
Q: What do you enjoy about your campus experience, so far?
A: I love that the University of Illinois campus is so diverse and welcoming to all types of people from many different backgrounds. I have really enjoyed getting to know a huge variety of people and growing relationships with them in a way that would have never been possible outside of U of I.
Q: How did you know you wanted to go into the field of education?
A: I have wanted to be a teacher since I could remember. I fumbled between elementary, early childhood, bilingual, secondary mathematics, etc. before finally realizing that special education was my calling. After having a brother with special needs and working with children and peers with special needs from my church, high school, and community I realized that I had found my lifelong passion.
Q: What do you enjoy about the College of Education?
A: I love that the College of Education genuinely values and cares about every student that walks through their halls. I am so impressed by the staff and students that are a part of the College of Education and how they are some of the most welcoming and kind people that I have met on this campus. I wouldn't want to be in any other College.
Q: Do you have a favorite professor, or course? Why?
A: Professor Jim Shriner is my favorite professor so far because he is so fun and always wants to tell us stories that will actually make a difference in our future careers. I love that he is so brutally honest and he isn't afraid to make light about situations and put a positive twist on everything. Jim is also super funny, even when he isn't trying to be.
Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?
A: I am obsessed with collecting water bottles of all different types!
Q: Tell us about your future career plans after graduating and why you want to pursue that field.
A: I plan to teach in a Title I school after graduation so that I can work with students who may come from a background with less opportunity. I want to give an exceptional education as well as a place where students feel they are able to call home when they come into my classroom.
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