MEd in Special Education, Leadership & Research-Track Graduate
“I loved being able to do my own research. The program set me free and allowed me to delve deeply into my personal area(s) of interest.”
- MEd, SPED: Interdisciplinary
Where do you currently work?
I currently work as a K/1 special education teacher at Konawaena Elementary School in Kealakekua, Hawaii.
How did you become interested in special education?
I wanted to work with young exceptional children.
Why did you choose to pursue this program?
The PBSpEd program was an excellent introduction to special education and prepared me for teaching. I pursued the M.Ed. program immediately following completion of PBSpEd because I wanted to know more: I wanted to understand special education history and law to broaden my knowledge of the field. I knew this knowledge would strengthen me as an advocate for my students and their families.
What was the best part of the program for you?
I loved being able to do my own research. The program set me free and allowed me to delve deeply into my personal area(s) of interest.
What advice or recommendations would you give to someone who is interested in this program?
I would suggest that an interested student reach out to UH faculty with questions. I found the faculty to be available and open to student questions and concerns. I would also suggest reviewing the program course descriptions and giving serious thought to what research topic(s) are of interest to you. Being ready for and excited about the course content and clear about your area(s) of interest will ensure you get the most out of the program.
In what ways do you hope to make a difference using the knowledge you have gained?
The program prepared me to be a powerful grass-roots advocate for exceptional students: I can serve my students effectively and advocate on behalf of other children, I can connect with families, and I can help provide ideas and insight for my colleagues and administrators.
How did the people and the program in the COE help you along your way to becoming a teacher?
I found the UH faculty and staff to be warm, available, and supportive. They were always there for me: when I needed advice on how to work with particular students, when I wanted more research, and when I struggled to balance being a teacher, student, and parent.
What are your future plans?
Although I was initially licensed to serve young children with mild to moderate disabilities, I expanded my license and experience to include service of children with severe and multiple disabilities. My M.Ed. program prepared me perfectly to set up and run my own FSC classroom with a focus on the service of students with ASD. In the near future, I envision setting up a new FSC classroom at my new school that addresses the needs of students with serious behavioral challenges.
Anything else you would like to share?
I loved both of my programs at UH. I will always be thankful for being given the opportunity to change my life and the lives of others.