Student group bridges gap between current students, alumni, prospective students
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new initiative of the Penn State College of Education Student Council (ESC), called the Education Ambassadors, is creating connections among students, alumni and prospective students through a partnership with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and Student Services.
Education Ambassadors are student representatives who communicate to the public the scope of the education field and its impact on the global society; create an awareness of the academic programs and career opportunities available to the College of Education students; and share stories of current student life at the College of Education with alumni, donors and prospective students through various means.
Ambassadors also facilitate alumni and donor functions, give tours of the College to alumni and prospective students, and partner with Student Services to help accepted prospective students make a decision to join the College.
“We’re delighted to see our students step so effectively into these leadership roles. Students are uniquely able to represent the College since they have first-hand knowledge of what is happening on the ground,” said Dean David H. Monk. “We’re very grateful for these students’ energy, commitment and willingness to be helpful, and encourage them to continue serving as our ambassadors once they graduate and become Penn State alumni.”
According to Phil Hoy, the assistant director of Alumni Relations who oversees the Education Ambassadors, the initiative benefits students because they have more opportunities to learn about the College and have increased access to the deans, offering ideas that aim to improve student life.
Hoy said the initiative also is advantageous to students because of their increased access to alumni, which can help them with career choices and job searches.
“Our alumni are excited to talk with current students at College of Education events. Alumni are always amazed at the opportunities students currently have including study abroad, linked placement and leadership opportunities through student organizations,” Hoy said.
“I believe these experiences have challenged me to push myself and my career aspirations beyond the conventional classroom and into discovering what innovation means in teaching and how to live the mission of our college,” said Michelle Hart, a junior in the Childhood and Early Adolescent Education (CEAED) program. Hart is a cofounder of the ambassadors and the secretary of ESC. She said that through the program she has seen how innovative educators can be, whether in schools, politics or companies.
“The ambassador group gives me the opportunity to help inspire other individuals to develop and follow passions for education. I am beginning my goal of advocating for education before even graduating from Penn State,” said Taylor Manalo, a junior in CEAED. Manalo is the other cofounder of the ambassadors and serves as the group’s vice president. She and Hart both were part of ESC in 2014 when they were approached by the College deans and Alumni Relations about developing the group of student representatives.
Students interested in joining the Education Ambassadors can attend an information session in September 2015. For more information, contact Hoy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Samantha Schwartz (January 2015)