Ever since she was young, Michelle knew she wanted to be a teacher. At Champlain, I was able to dive into coursework and the elementary education field experience from the first semester of my first year. The Upside-Down Curriculum allowed me to develop my professional skills in a meaningful and beneficial manner. I have been placed in a number of environments, and I have developed the tools to meet the needs of diverse students in multiple ways because of the experiences in the field as well as courses Champlain has offered me.
Her professors made a positive impact on her time at Champlain. The professors at Champlain care about the students. My professors always know my name, my strengths and weaknesses, and my aspirations. They utilize this information to tailor my education in the best ways possible so I feel supported and challenged to grow. The support and interest that the professors have in their students at Champlain make for an enjoyable academic process.
Core has complemented Michelle's major classes and influenced her academic and professionals skills. Core has shone a light on the true interdisciplinary manner of the world. I was able to work on necessary skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, synthesis and other skills that are imperative as an educator. I was also able to supplement my learning of pedagogy with psychology, neuroscience and philosophy while understanding the connections to other majors in various divisions.
On top of her field placements, Michelle finds time to pursue her other passion: dance. I am a co-captain of Champlain College's Dance team. I have danced my entire life and was not willing to give that up when I went to school, so I joined the team my first year at Champlain. Though I originally joined because of my love of dance, I continued because of the friendships and sense of family that developed on the team. Some of my closest friends are from this team, and I am grateful Champlain offered me a way to continue my passion and meet new people.
She decided to minor in Foreign Languages in order to reach her goal of teaching in a Spanish Immersion classroom. Currently, I am interning in a Spanish immersion kindergarten classroom at Jericho Elementary School. My duties in the classroom include implementing behavioral support and aiding in lesson preparation. This opportunity requires me to pull from both my Spanish knowledge base and my education background. The ability to meld my two areas of study is a goal that I did not know would be seamlessly achievable, but through the help of my advisor, I am able to explore a career path I've wanted to pursue as long as I can remember.
Michelle, Early Childhood/Elementary Teacher Education majorStonington, CTStudied abroad in Auckland, New Zealand DIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Anthony wasn't sure what he wanted to do... Honestly I became a Psychology major because people tell me I give good advice. Being so undecided professionally, the Upside-Down Curriculum really helped me get involved and dedicate myself to my major work right away. There was no sense of insecurity once I had my first psychology class. He loves bringing his own touch to the classroom...I've been lucky enough to have a lot of open-ended projects that have allowed me to express myself in any way that I want. My favorite classes are the ones that let me bring a piece of me into the classroom. Sometimes in Core classes, my teachers would ask us to bring in a song to play for the class and analyze. Recently, I brought my dog into my public speaking class and did an interactive speech on how to train your dog. Needless to say, I got a good grade for that. Anthony has been able to try many different things in his field...There has been a lot of space for me to grow professionally here at Champlain. For example, I am currently working on a research study with a professor who also teaches one of my classes. The best part about Champlain is that I've been able to wear many different hats throughout my years here, and it's really bettered me as a person. I've changed my mind so many times about what I want to do after graduation that I'm not sure how this internship will serve me directly. However, I do know that the skills I develop from working on this project-such as time management, communication skills, punctuality and accountability-will serve me well in the working world. Champlain's professors provide a personal touch.They all know my name! Having all your professors know your name is a huge boost and just makes communication with them so much easier. They all engage with students in and out of the classroom, and if they notice you making an extra effort, they will also go the extra mile for you. He has had many positions on campus...I've worked in Admissions as a Student Ambassador for almost four years now. I've also been a Resident Assistant and an Orientation Leader. All three of these jobs have gotten me really good at talking to strangers, and my interview skills are on point.Studying abroad confirmed that Champlain was the right choice...I went to the Gold Coast, QLD (Australia) for about five months. I got to meet people from all over the world, travel independently and experience life at a university completely different from Champlain. It really solidified Champlain as being the right choice for me when it comes to class size and level of faculty involvement on campus. The best part was travelling, without a doubt. In the future...Currently my career path has a lot of forks in the road. There's a lot of opportunities on the horizon, but I would love to work with therapy animals as a trainer-or work in animal-assisted therapy-and help pair people with their perfect companion.
Anthony, Psychology majorCayman Brac, Cayman Islands Studied abroad in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia DIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Champlain gave Samantha the opportunity to she has always known she wanted: to train to be a police officer.I've known since I was about four years old that I wanted to be a police officer. The chief of police in my hometown would sit at the end of the driveway and pull people over which was always exciting for me to watch. As I got older, I realized that I really love helping people, and I want to keep the world safe, so I chose the Criminal Justice major.
I'm only in my second year, and I've already taken six Criminal Justice classes and one Psychology class. I've also done three ride-alongs because it was required for one of my classes, so I've witnessed what they police officers do firsthand. It's good for me to start getting experience this early, so that I won't panic when it comes time to apply for jobs. I'm learning what area I might want to work in, and I am getting an understanding of criminal justice a lot sooner than I would at another college.
She gets to share her passion for the Champlain community through her job as a Student Ambassador.My first year, I was part of the Student Engagement Team. I would help out at admissions events, such as open houses, bus trips and Admitted Students Day. I enjoyed it a lot because I got a taste of what it was like to be a Student Ambassador, which is what I am now. I have learned how to deal with people, and I have also bettered my public speaking skills. It's a lot of fun interacting with prospective students and telling them how much I love Champlain, in hopes that they comes here too and experience the college for themselves.
Some of Samantha's favorite things to share on student tours are...The community at Champlain is amazing, everyone is accepting, and I always feel welcomed wherever I go. The fact that you get to start classes in your major right away is something very rare, so if you are excited,and want to jump right in to small class sizes with amazing professors, come here. I applied Early Decision, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
Samantha, Criminal Justice majorSouth Deerfield, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Absa's experience as an international student...When you first come here [as an international student], you have a week-long orientation where you get to know more about the school and you go out and do things in Vermont and Burlington especially. You meet other international students and engage in activities during the semester that bring the international students together in a community on campus. I didn't know how it would feel to come here, but I love it.
She was able to start her major classes right away.When I came here, I said "I want to do social work," and that's exactly what I started doing from the get-go. Within the first semester that I was here, I was able to go out and do internships. The fact that I was able to do what I wanted from the start helped me understand that Social Work is the right fit for me. If I hadn't liked it, I could have switched my major to something else but it's definitely the right fit.
Absa is pursuing her passion.I am very passionate about the empowerment of women and girls, especially coming from The Gambia where women are less educated and not often involved in decision-making. I started working with non-governmental organizations (NGO) that are involved with supporting girls' education and women's rights; then I came here, and for the first time I am able to do what I love, which is social work. I'm building the skills I need to become the person I want to be.
She is also a student ambassador for the Women's & Gender Center.I love being in the Women's & Gender Center, and that's why I decided to be an ambassador. The Women's & Gender Center provides a safe space for me, and I know I can go there and get the support I need. When you go there, you meet many students who are hanging out, doing assignments, having conversations, playing games... Sometimes there are activities going on, and you're always welcome to participate. That's why I love being there.
Absa loves the opportunity to get involved on campus.I am a member of the African and Caribbean Student Association; a member of Shades of Me, which is the women of color's affinity group on campus; and I am a member of the Cultural Community Alliance. With the African and Caribbean Student Association, we have weekly meetings where we watch and discuss movies, talk about our experiences, and serve as a support to each other. In Shades of Me, we are providing a community for women of color on campus. I also go to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. As a minority student, I go there because I have other students like me who I can relate with, and I love the fact that I can go there and be with them.
On professors...I love my professors, and I love that I can walk up to them and tell them what I want and what I think and whether I'm comfortable in my classes. They are always welcoming to me and open and eager to hear what I am doing, how I feel, and if there's anything they can do to make it better. They are very eager to support you.
In the future...When I graduate, I want to work with programs that support and empower women and girls' rights, especially to education. I am also excited to work on any issues that are geared towards social justice for all. I believe that being here helps me to work with people of diverse backgrounds, and the fact that I have that opportunity will prepare me for the wider world. Being able to do what I want from the beginning gives me enough time to prepare for my future profession.
Absa, Social Work majorThe Gambia, West AfricaDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Tatum was drawn to Champlain's unique approach to environmental studies...I heard about Champlain by doing some research on programs relating to environmental studies. I was really drawn in by the program as it is the only one of its kind in the country. I was immediately excited about how the program dives into environmental issues from a policy standpoint and focuses on legislation, social justice and education. The program focuses on enacting positive change based on scientific facts. It's a perfect mixture of both getting out into the world and applying the data with policy in mind. On professors...My professors at Champlain are eager to see their students succeed. If I have a specific interest, my professors always help me find a way to incorporate it into my studies, as well as incorporating it into their lessons whenever possible. My professors always let me know about opportunities they think I would be interested in, like internships or events. I always feel cared about and valued by my professors here at Champlain. She loves sharing her passion for the environment...As an Eco-Rep on campus, I've had the opportunity to educate and plan events for my peers that are accessible to a broad range of people, which is a really cool way to discuss environmental issues. I have learned so much about peer education and sustainability. And appreciates the travel opportunities that she has had here...My favorite thing about Champlain so far is all of the opportunities that I've had, especially to travel. This past May, I went to Uganda on a service trip where we helped out at a local children's home. This spring I'll be traveling to Iceland as part of one of my courses. Tatum's classes have taught her more than just Environmental Policy...My classes here have improved my communication skills greatly through group work, meeting with professors and advocating for causes that are important to me. This also applies outside of the classroom, working with other people, which is an important part of networking. Her dream for the future...After graduation, I want to join the Peace Corps. I hope to go back to Africa and work in a school teaching environmental or health education, specifically to women and girls.
Tatum, Environmental Policy majorDeerfield, NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
The Upside-Down Curriculum helped Caitlin find her passion.I came in Undeclared, but I knew I wanted to do something like Psychology, Law or Social Work. My first semester I took a psychology class and a law class, and I ended up really liking the law class. I switched into the major halfway through the first semester. It was great because I actually really liked [the law classes], and it was good material to know. Now I know that this is what I want to do.
On professors...All the professors I've had have been really encouraging. My favorite professors are so easy-going, and if you have problems you can go talk to them and they'll help you.
Caitlin's extracurricular activities opened her eyes...I've been involved with PAUSE (People Advocating for Unity and Social Equity) which is a group on campus that raises awareness about what's going on around us and in the town of Burlington. It's really involved with the Ibutwa Initiative, which works with women in Africa who make jewelry to raise money for their families, their education, and for help in cases of domestic and marital abuse. Joining PAUSE definitely helped me to see the problems in the world and decide to take where to take my degree.
She's getting ready for the professional world...Most people who go to law school become lawyers, but I don't really want to be a lawyer. I want to be a legal advisor to help nonprofits or the government form policies that help the most people. Without the Upside-Down Curriculum, I wouldn't be as prepared as I am now, taking classes I'm most likely going to take in law school. It really helps to understand how I'm going to have a career in law and what I'm going to be doing. The Career Collaborative also helped with writing a good résumé and cover letter and, hopefully, getting internships around Burlington.
There's nothing like Burlington's downtown and the waterfront.I love the atmosphere in Burlington. I love going on Church Street and seeing all the people and all the dogs. I've been spending a lot of time by the waterfront this year, watching the sunset and hanging out with my friends.
Caitlin, Law majorConcord. NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Kathryn is in the midst of it all—the Champlain College community, downtown Burlington, and building her professional career.
"The internships were amazing. My duties included the acquisition of discovery, working with attorneys on upcoming cases and clerical work. I was able to work alongside the investigators. I learned how to speak more eloquently and how to organize my findings because I was required to make presentations to attorneys and investigators. The real-world application is invaluable, and the internships also made me more confident participating in class discussions. You learn through experience, which is why Champlain is so adamant about getting students out into the field to gain experience in their chosen jobs. Champlain encourages the full learning spectrum so you are fully prepared. "
"I love the open campus. The community is right there. In the midst of downtown Burlington, you are integrated within the residential area, not separated from the surrounding community. It makes you feel like you are part of the real world. I love Burlington's lakefront, the farmers' market, the downtown scene, the sunsets and the opportunity to walk everywhere."
Kathryn, Criminal Justice majorWellesley, MADIVISON OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Before attending Champlain, Wilson worked in Guatemala for Safe Passage, a nonprofit that helps impoverished families in Guatemala City. "My work in Guatemala really sparked my passion for traveling and helping others. My experiences there have been the greatest inspiration of my life. I knew I wanted to devote my life to helping others, but I wasn't sure how."
"Studying social work has made me realize what my goals are in life. It has really encouraged my passion for helping others. I also feel like I've gotten a true sense of what social work looks like. My teachers have experience in their field, and they bring real-life experiences to their teaching. Champlain has really made me realize my potential and has focused my skills and passion into a field that I am very excited about."
After graduation, Wilson plans to join the Peace Corps and then return to Guatemala to work with the social workers of Safe Passage.
Wilson, Social Work majorYarmouth, MEDIVISON OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
After graduation, Shelby went on to receive her masters degree in Social Work. Now, she is a Social Worker for Maine General Health in Portland, Maine.
Champlain's Upside-Down Curriculum helped Shelby find the two majors that were right for her starting in her first year...
When I was in high school, I was a camp counselor at Camp Wilmot in New Hampshire. They had a week of summer camp for people with mental delays and varying levels of physical mobility. I loved what I was doing and I decided I wanted to major in psychology. When I came to Champlain, I took Applied Psychology, which talked about what we could do with our degree. We had a guest speaker who said the quickest/best way to become a clinical psychologist or counselor was to study social work at the undergraduate level. So I started questioning if I could double major and I met with my advisors. Now I'm on a five-year program, double-majoring in Psychology and Social Work.
Shelby's many volunteer placements and internships have enhanced her résumé, and her skills...
Social Work teaches more practical skills while Psychology teaches more theoretical knowledge. I appreciate the balance of the two and I feel incredibly supported by my faculty. I have a competitive advantage because I have truly had, so far, four years of human service experience and six student placements. I think students at other schools are only expected to have an internship for one semester. At Champlain, students are expected to engage in service learning classes, student placements and internships throughout their entire career. I hear so often that experience is what is truly important. Some employers will hire someone with a lower degree because they had more experience than other candidates. I will have both when I am done at Champlain.
Shelby, Psychology & Social Work Double MajorClinton, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
Laurel knows her role goes beyond the classroom. "I traveled to Europe, worked for a professor, served as a resident assistant and taught school in two countries. I am more than just an education student."
"Champlain has made me more confident. I gained a lot of good skills to market myself. I learned to write well and am proficient in several software programs. In the schools where I train, the teachers like the Champlain students and know that we are on top of things. Other college students usually intern in their senior year for only one semester, so they lack long-term contact and experience."
"After graduation, I do plan to teach, perhaps overseas. I like being out of my comfort zone. That's something I would not have known if I had not come to Champlain. I feel I'm ready to do many things."
Laurel, Middle School Teacher Education majorIpswich, MADIVISON OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES