Recognized for Outstanding Service

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   Apr 27, 2018

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Graduate student Misty Krippel doesn’t hide her exuberance when reflecting on her educational experience at Illinois.

“I could not have dreamed of the opportunities that I would encounter, the connections that I would make, and the depth of how my journey at the University of Illinois would impact others.”

Krippel is referring to her experiences with C-U Early and the families she served in the Champaign-Urbana community.

C-U Early in the Urbana School District partners with several university units and serves at-risk families in the area, including teenaged parents. Designed for families with children (prenatal up to 3 years of age), the organization provides support to parents through developmentally appropriate play-based education, home-based services, resources, referrals, and a toy and book-lending library. Krippel, whose area of focus at Illinois is in early childhood special education, has worked full time at the organization as a parent educator since 2012.

“We support these individuals so that they can gain confidence as parents,” Krippel said.  

Krippel’s work in graduate school led to her proposing an alternative practicum course to implement the model of a PIWI (Parents Interacting With Infants) playgroup at C-U Early. Thanks to her initiative, the College of Education will offer future master’s students the opportunity to gain experience through C-U Early. The logistics are still being discussed, but the college-community partnership is expected to begin in August.

“We are all very excited about the opportunities that this could bring to the Champaign-Urbana community, to families, and to future master’s students,” she said.

As a mom with two children, Krippel was grateful for the support the college provided in helping her balance family life with her academic pursuits.

“The early childhood special education program is great at mentoring students and making it a priority that family comes first. They support you to accomplish that very thing,” she said.  

After receiving her master’s degree, Krippel will continue to serve families in the community in meaningful ways through C-U Early, using her degree to help ease the barriers that at-risk families face. She will also keep working with Department of Special Education scholars Robyn DiPietro-Wells, Michaelene Ostrosky, and Amy Santos on the Early Intervention team of the Military Families Learning Network.

Krippel’s hard work and dedication to the community has not gone unnoticed. She was named the graduate recipient of the college’s 2018 Outstanding Student Medal and will accept the honor at commencement.

“I cannot thank enough the faculty at the University of Illinois, my team at C-U Early, and all of my friends and family in supporting and believing in me,” she said. “These people are the root of my success and growth in this U of I program and in my professional career.”