Last summer, Elementary Education Junior Nia Curtis took an 18-hour flight out of the country for the first time. She met her mother, a high school English teacher and Fulbright Recipient, in South Africa. Over the summer they traveled to Botswana, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Zimbabwe. Her mother was working on literature curriculum in secondary schools as part of her Fulbright program and Nia got to visit one. She said she met a group of teen moms who despite challenges, were still eager to finish high school. While traveling Nia was able to visit two of the world's natural wonders, — Table Mountain and Victoria Falls — almost come face to face with an elephant, and watch her mother encourage young girls to pursue an education; however, one of the greatest things this trip taught her was the perspective of Americans in other countries, and in return, Americans perspective of them. She said that the students she met with were excited to meet Black Americans becuase most Americans they had seen did not look like them. Nia said it was an amazing experience for both them and her.
More about Nia
Q. What do you enjoy about your campus experience, so far?
A. This campus has become a second home where I live and study with my friends. We all take the same classes and have the same college struggles. It's fun to be in an environment where I can share my thoughts and worries with students who get it. I also love the faculty and staff in the education building because they truly make the school feel like a family of gifted professionals that care about my learning experience.
Q. How did you know you wanted to go into the field of education?
A. I am a five year Chicago Park District veteran and have gained experience with children as a summer recreational leader. This experience shaped my vision of leading and teaching children. After my first year of counseling, I knew that I wanted a classroom and space where I could teach children.
Q. What do you enjoy about the College of Education?
A. The College of Education is truly an amazing family. I remember my first class with Dr. Zola and how he was adamant about making sure that we took something from our experience in class. Other Professors like Karie Brown, April Hoffmeister, Sheila Dean have gone above and beyond to shape the best teachers of tomorrow. I believe that I will be a successful teacher because of their hope and belief in me.
Q. Do you have a favorite professor or course? Why?
A. I have a number of favorite teachers. Most notably, April Hoffmeister who teaches Math 103 and 117. She is accommodating to her students and truly helped me with some of the anxiety that I had with math. Effective teachers are teachers who help students grow in small ways and she definitely has had an impact on me.
Q. Fun fact?
A. I am Disney lover and have been to Disney world twice. Over Winter Break I went to New York and saw the Tony-nominated Broadway Musical Frozen.