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Student Spotlight

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  • Xochtil's professional headshot

    Xochitl Mondragon | Reflection and Gratitude

    As the school year comes to a close, we reflect on our growth and look to the future. Elementary Education senior Xochitl Mondragon is taking this time of reflection to show her gratitude to the educators that got her where she is today. From formative years spent with outstanding grade school teachers, to the inspirational difference teachers made on her young niece, to the guidance and "pure heart" of professors in the College of Education, this Teacher Appreciation Week (and every week) we celebrate teachers. Now, as Xochtil says her goodbyes to Illinois, she prepares to join the ranks of impactful educators everywhere.

  • Julie Ross

    Julie Ross | Passionate About the Next Generation of Learners

    As the 2021-2022 school year kicks off, we introduce you to Julie Ross who is thrilled to be back on this bustling campus this fall! She's even more excited to one day lead her own classroom of crazy busy middle school students. Learn more about why Julie loves Education at Illinois!

  • Dante Studamire

    Danté Studamire | Here to Support First-year Students

    Danté Studamire knows the value of sounding boards in life. In his relatively short time here at Illinois, he can already point to a handful of mentors and faculty who are helping shape his goals, vision, and future academic pursuits. (Not to mention his Ph.D. dissertation!) This year, the Office of Minority Student Affairs has appointed Danté to serve as a mentor to College of Education first-year students who are finding their way. He's part of the College's academic advising team, and is excited to meet Education students and learn about their ideas and passions.

  • Sophomore Lily Greenberg

    Lily Greenberg | Advocating for Marginalized Students

    Meet Lily Greenberg, an Elementary Education major who feels strongly that kids of all different backgrounds deserve a teacher who they feel represents them.

  • Kerrigan Lane

    Kerrigan Lane | Having Fun is Crucial to Learning

    Kerrigan is a freshman in the College's Early Childhood Education program. She's loved her own "classroom life" experience and the fun of learning in community. Kerrigan can't wait to creating a welcoming, inclusive, positive classroom environment for all her future students to grow.

  • ECE student Ana Garcia

    Ana Garcia | Teaching to Fulfill Part of Her Purpose

    Ana Garcia is a Chicago native who knows that teaching young children and serving in a low-income community is part of her life's purpose.

  • Kay Tetlak

    Kay Tetlak | Connecting Students to Their Community

    As a Chicago Public Schools alum, Kay Tetlak wants to give back to the school district that provided so many resources to her.

  • Erin Dickett

    Erin Dickett | Valuing Students' Unfiltered Cultural Perspectives

    Middle school can be tough, but Erin Dickett says the College's new IGlobal Program helps students connect with each other around the globe. Which is inspiring for everyone.

  • Allie Gilbert

    Allie Gilbert | Realizing Her Passion for Equitable Education

    Senior Allie Gilbert has truly made the most of her student experience while at Illinois. From her involvement in Epsilon Delta and Student Alumni Ambassadors to doing a pandemic-shortened study abroad semester in Spain, she's explored many opportunities to learn where her true passions lie. Now, she waits to hear back about her Fulbright Scholarship application—staying true to continuing to learn about herself, the world, and how to provide equitable education to her future students.

  • Ian Copple

    Ian Copple | Loving the 'ah-ha!' Moments

    When Ian Copple came to the University of Illinois, he knew he loved math. It took until his junior year to realize he also loved sharing his understanding with others. That's when he transferred into the Secondary Education minor program.

  • Alexis Friedman

    Alexis Frieman | Nothin' But Love for Education

    When asked about what she enjoys most about the College of Education, Alexis' reply: the building, the courses, the people, what's not to love?!

  • Yudany Diaz

    Yudany Diaz | Everyone is Worthy of a Good Education

    Yudany is a freshman in the College's Secondary Education minor program. Her major is History, and she's also double-minoring in Spanish. But Yudany's end goal is a becoming a school administrator, where she can affect change and progress on educational systems and help all students feel safe and be supported. 

  • Ivy Moore

    Ivy Moore | Engaged In Her Community

    "What I love about campus is that there is always something new to try."

  • Kenna Ashton

    Kenna Ashton | Inspired to Have a Positive Impact on Students

    "I love how close the College of Education is and how much support is provided for students."

  • Jaclyn Wittrock

    Jaclyn Wittrock | Helping All Young Minds Grow

    "I love learning how young minds develop and better ways to teach every kind of learner!"

  • Jerny Walls

    Jerny Walls | Interested in How Disparities Impact the Lives of Students and Teachers

    "I love how supportive my classmates are, they really have helped me stay motivated during my college career."

  • Amy Heinrichs

    Amy Heinrichs | A Non-Traditional Journey To Finding Her Passion

    "After working with children in many aspects I realized this was my passion and wanted to do."

  • Cal Callahan

    Lauren "Cal" Callahan | "We Teach Them and They Teach Us."

    "We Teach Them and They Teach Us."

  • Shelby Oertel

    Shelby Oertel | A Passion for Adult Learning

    "I have a passion for adult learning."

  • Abby Lynch

    Abby Lynch | "Equitable Opportunities Begin in Schools"

    "I want to be involved in shaping the youth, and I believe education is more than just standards and schooling."

  • Ryan Eleveld

    Ryan Eleveld | Making School Feel Like Home

    Ryan Eleveld has a passion for science and teaching. The senior Specialized Chemistry major and Secondary Education minor can't wait to get into the classroom. Learn more about Ryan in this week's student spotlight.

  • Audrey Wong

    Audrey Wong | "I want to be one of those teachers."

    Audrey Wong is passionate about two things: biology and teaching. She decided to be a teacher after being inspired by her own high school teachers. Now at Illinois, Audrey is involved in research and has her sights set on bringing her love for biology to a new generation of students.

  • Xosa Cox

    Xosa Cox | "It has always been a dream of mine to support others and understand cultures on a global scale."

    Xosa Cox, a Learning and Education Studies Major from Chicago Heights, IL is our Student Spotlight this week.

  • Jasmine Castillo

    Jasmine Castillo | "Everyone has a voice, and as a teacher I will encourage each student to use theirs."

    Jasmine Castillo, a History major with Secondary Education and Spanish minors, Illinois is our student spotlight this week.

  • Audrey Kermgard

    Audrey Kermgard | Educators Shape Worldviews and Values

    Audrey Kermgard is our featured undergraduate student in this week's student spotlight.

  • Grace Schlichter

    Grace Schlichter | Helping People & Inspiring Students

    Grace Schlichter is our featured undergraduate student in this week's student spotlight.

  • Sydney Stephens

    Sydney Stephens | "Teachers are the foundation for everything."

    Sydney Stephens is a junior Elementary Education major and student-athlete on the Illinois Soccer team.

  • Anisa Chatman

    Anisa Chatman | Creating Positive Change

    Anisa Chatman is a sophomore Learning and Education Studies major.

  • Cyrus Murray

    Cyrus Murray | Changing Lanes

    Cyrus Murray is a junior English major, minoring in Secondary Education minor. 

  • Kate (left) and Meghan (right) McCurdy in Verona, Italy

    Kate & Meghan McCurdy | Born to Teach

    Kate and Meghan McCurdy are both Middle Grades Education majors with concentrations in mathematics from Orland Park, IL.

  • Jill Kartsounes

    Jill Kartsounes | Being a Leader

    For Jill Kartsounes, being the leader came naturally. As a child, she always wanted to be the one in charge. The feeling of leading made her dream of her future classroom and career as a teacher. Now she's here at the College of Education, working to become an elementary teacher. 

  • Emily Crosswell

    Emily Crosswell | A Future Serving Students and Her Country

    Emily Crosswell is involved all over campus and Central Illinois. The sophomore from Watseka teaches with IGlobal, has studied abroad, and spends some time with the Illinois Army National Guard. She's taking her life experience and passion for people into her future classroom. Read more about Emily in this week's Student Spotlight.