Pioneer Profile

Carley Mueller '20

Major: Special and Elementary Education
Minor: Early Childhood Education

What made you choose this major?

Ever since I was in elementary school, I wanted to become a teacher. During high school, I realized my passion for becoming a special education teacher. I have had many great role models throughout my life, from relatives with disabilities to teachers in school, who have influenced me to pursue this degree. My grandma was co-founder of New Hope Center, which gives adults with disabilities multiple employment opportunities. Two of my relatives, my cousin and uncle, were employees at New Hope. These three individuals have inspired me to continue that work and helped me develop into a strong advocate for all individuals with disabilities. When I become a teacher, I will strive to push them to the best of their abilities and acknowledge their full potential.

How has what you've learned prepared you for your future?

Carroll's education department has helped me develop my own understanding of what kind of teacher I want to be and helped me change my perspective to one of a teacher. What I love most about this program is that we are placed in a classroom our sophomore year. This early placement helped me connect what I was being taught to a real life classroom setting.

What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?

A reason I chose Carroll was specifically for the small class sizes and one-on-one time with professors. I found out quickly that all my education professors are kind and welcoming. One faculty member in particular that I have gotten to know on a personal level is Dr. Rachel Stickles. I am fortunate to have her as my professor as well as my mentor. She is always open to any questions I have and makes sure I am comfortable with all that needs to get done over my time in the education program.

What's a unique experience you've had relating to the coursework for your major?

The most unique experience I had was during my first education course when we took a fieldtrip to a Waldorf school, which is a school that focuses more on emphasizing imagination and creativity into learning. I was not familiar with this type of school but really enjoyed learning about it. It opened my eyes to realize more opportunities I have beyond college.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you're learning in the classroom?

Before starting school, I was advised numerous times to "get involved." In the beginning of fall semester of my freshman year, I attended the Student Involvement Fair and joined three clubs on campus. Those three clubs are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Best Buddies and InterVarsity. In Big Brothers Big Sisters, I am paired with an elementary student to be a role model/mentor for them. I have a little brother in fourth grade that I see for an hour each week. In Best Buddies, I am a peer buddy with an adult with disabilities. I see him twice a month on or off campus and talk on the phone with him at least once a week. InterVarsity is a Christian Fellowship group on campus that has many small bible group meetings throughout the week and meet as a large group every Thursday night. I truly enjoy all the clubs I am in and all the relationships I have formed throughout them.

If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?

I would highly recommend pursuing an education degree at Carroll University. The education professors truly value each and every one of their students and push them to the best of their abilities. It is clear that they are strong advocates for teaching and guide their students to develop their own educational philosophy. I have learned so much about teaching over my first years of college and have enjoyed my time in the education program.

Why did you choose to attend Carroll University?

I love the small size, because everywhere I go on campus, I know at least one person. The small size classes are perfect for me as well. I have the opportunity to know everyone in my class, including my professors. In the education program, I love how we are put into education courses right away in our freshman year and have a field experience our sophomore year. I am enjoying my time at Carroll and it truly feels like home away from home.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience at Carroll University?

Get involved in anything that interests you. Carroll has so many different opportunities for all students and through the clubs I am in, I have met so many great people. Carroll is a great place so enjoy every moment!

Learn more about the Elementary Education and Special Education Dual Certification program

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