Suzanne Duda is a 2021 Master’s Program graduate from Albany, Oregon. She is majoring in Elementary Education.
Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU for several reasons. First, I was already familiar with WOU, having earned my paralegal certification there, and because I had worked in the Public Relations department for a year. Second, living in this area, I knew that WOU was known as the “education school.” Finally, the eMAT program allowed me to attend school close to home and was compatible with my work and life schedules.
What has been your most memorable class?
The first two classes of the eMAT program were focused on children’s literature and creative arts, and [they] culminated in a project that had us write and illustrate our own picture books. Not only did these two classes provide me with a creative introduction to what would become common themes throughout the rest of my classes, but they also allowed me to spend class time coloring, painting, and reading children’s books, which, in my opinion, is a pretty good way to take summer classes.
Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?
My advice to current and prospective students is to use the resources around you. Become familiar with the various supports that are available. Anything from the Writing Center, to student clubs, to advisors, professors, and friends, there are many options to help you out along the way if you are proactive in finding them and utilizing them.
What do you love most about the major/minors you completed?
The thing I love most about the major that I chose is that completing this program takes me another step closer to doing something that I love to do, which is working with children. This program provided me with the knowledge and the strategies that have enabled me to feel confident in my ability to pursue a career in education.
What has been your biggest achievement in college?
I believe that I am a student that would fall under the category of “non-traditional student,” which means that I decided to return to school to earn a master’s degree many (many) years after receiving my bachelor’s degree. I suppose making that decision was an accomplishment in itself. I try to instill in my children, and in the children who I teach, that learning is a lifelong process. Time will pass whether we choose to do something or we choose to do nothing, and I will be able to say that in the passing of these two years, I chose to do something and will have knowledge, skills, a license, and a degree to show for it.
How have you adapted your learning process for COVID-19 restrictions and virtual classes?
Because the eMAT program was a hybrid program, most of our classes were already online classes. This probably worked to our advantage once COVID-19 restrictions were put into place, because, aside from no longer attending classes on-site during the summer or on Saturdays, we didn’t have as much of a transition once the rest of WOU switched to a virtual environment. That being said, the virtual environment requires more self-discipline when it comes to completing classwork. Setting deadlines and blocking out specific times to work on assignments helped [me be] successful in online classes.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to become a teacher in elementary education.