Laurie is currently teaching Kindergarten full time in the Greater Latrobe School District.
This is my fifth year teaching, and “I love it!” I have always loved working with children. I originally chose Saint Vincent because of the partnership with Duquesne University for the Physical Therapy program. As I got into this field of study, I realized that I loved teaching and helping children. While at Saint Vincent, I was active in lifeguarding and taught swimming lessons for four years. I also coached soccer and was involved in teaching horseback riding lessons to handicapped children. These activities helped to solidify my decision that teaching was the career for me. I decided to return to Saint Vincent for a Master’s Degree in Special Education because of the growing need for dual-certification; especially in competitive areas like Western Pennsylvania, where teaching jobs are hard to find. I firmly believe that without my Master’s Degree, I would not be teaching. I am triple-certified and can teach a variety of subjects from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Without my degree from Saint Vincent, I would not be able to teach in Pennsylvania. Immediately after graduation, I was hired at my first school district in western Pennsylvania. I completed one year of teaching full time and applied to Greater Latrobe, and soon after was hired. Securing two full-time teaching positions (in great districts!) in two years is almost unheard of in Pennsylvania. The one person who truly made my experience at Saint Vincent invaluable was Dr. Kristin Harty. The two of us “clicked” right away because we have similar personalities, learning styles and opinions! Dr. Harty was instrumental in teaching me many of the practices I use in my classroom now. Her classes were practical, hands-on, and fast-paced enough for students who were completely dedicated to the Graduate Program! I still keep in touch with Dr. Harty and I enjoy her surprise visits to my classroom when she is observing current SVC students who are student teaching in my building.
Having 7-week classes throughout the year is a great option for graduate students. If the classes were held more often throughout the week (rather than just one night) or if they were one course per semester, the graduate program would be far more difficult for many adults to fit into their schedules. The graduate program is geared toward working adults and keeps this in mind when scheduling classes. Having to commit only one night a week was great for a working adult with multiple commitments outside of work. I really liked having classes with other adults who could provide real-world experience. It was also great to get to know all of the professors.
Advice that I would give to incoming students is to talk to your advisors whenever you have questions or concerns; they are excellent resources! The faculty will work with you to ensure that your needs are met and that you are comfortable every step of the way. They understand working adults who are returning for post-grad education!
Quote: “When employers see “Saint Vincent College” on your resume, they know they will have a quality employee!”