Six Baylor School of Education students — two undergraduates and four graduate students — have been named Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for the 2016-2017 academic year. They were honored at a ceremony on Feb. 24 at Baylor University.
Gabriela Ortiz, Elementary Education major
Rachel Vaughn, Elementary Education major
Graduate Student honorees:
Cara Allen, doctoral candidate in Higher Education & Leadership, Dept. of Educational Leadership
Abby Hodges, doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology, Dept. of Educational Psychology
Laura Phipps, graduate student in School Psychology, Dept. of Educational Psychology
Caroline Pollard, doctoral candidate in Curriculum & Teaching, Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Meet the undergraduate honorees:
• Ortiz is from North Richland Hills, Texas. She is a member of the Baylor Women’s Club Lacrosse Team and serves as a student teaching intern in a fourth-grade classroom at Castleman Creek Elementary School.
Ortiz said she grew up babysitting and nannying, so children have always played a large role in her life. She said that she enjoys the fact that teaching is more than just helping kids learn math or English.
“I want to be a teacher because I think that teaching is a profession that seriously impacts lives,” Ortiz said. “You are not a just a teacher, but a mentor, friend, and caregiver to your students.”
• Vaughn is from Houston, Texas, and is a student teaching intern in third grade at Spring Valley Elementary School, a Professional Development School campus of the School of Education. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, and she volunteers as a Daisy Girl Scout Troop leader.
The challenge of teaching keeps Vaughn motivated. She said that she tries to understand her students as individuals and help them find the best way to be successful.
“I want to be a teacher to inspire young students to be life-long learners who seek out academic challenges and explore their interests,” Vaughn said.
Meet the graduate honorees
• Allen is a doctoral candidate in Baylor’s School of Education in Higher Education Studies and Leadership. She received her bachelor’s degree while majoring in English literature and minoring in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2013.
Allen, MSEd ’15, earned her undergraduate degree at Oklahoma Baptist University in 2013 and a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Baylor School of Education. She said she hopes to pursue a faculty position in a higher education program, teaching the next generation of college administrators to excel through implementing research-supported practices.
“My personal research interests focus on addressing the needs of marginalized populations on college campuses,” Allen said.
• Hodges, doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology, is from Jones, Okla., and graduated from Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish in 2014.
Hodges said that her teachers and program advisors at Baylor constantly inspire her to pursue teaching. She was recently awarded the 2017 James Kopp Memorial Scholarship and poster competition winner for her work with children with autism.
“I thoroughly enjoy getting to know my students in order to better relate to them and inspire them to enjoy learning also,” Hodges said.
• Phipps, a School Psychology student from Herndon, Va., graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in music business in 2013. Phipps chose Baylor’s School Psychology program because of the unique program features, she said.
As part of her graduate assistantship and as a student on the ABA (applied behavior analysis) track in the School Psychology Program, Phipps works at Baylor’s Clinic for Assessment, Research and Education (CARE), part of the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities.
“This field incorporates my curiosity for psychology and human behavior, my value of learning and education, and my love for children — all into one,” Phipps said.
• Pollard, MDiv ’09, from Gatesville, Texas, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. She graduated from Howard Payne University in 2002 with her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Pollard serves as a Graduate Student Association representative at Baylor. As a part of her program, Pollard spends time researching and presenting at various conferences. Pollard said she hopes to provide students an education that fits them and pushes them.
“There are times I wish I could just let myself relax and be happy with the particular course plan I’ve created, but I find myself unable to set aside the desire to consistently evaluate and re-evaluate the structure and activities of the courses I teach,” she said.
—story and photos by Olivia Berry
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ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.