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Experience Education at Illinois

Student Experiences at the College of Education

Imagine living and learning on an iconic campus, attending classes with students from around the globe, and belonging to a top-tier research university known for nurturing some of the most passionate, inventive, and committed graduates the world over. State-of-the-art labs and classrooms, research opportunities with leaders in the field, funded study abroad, and outreach opportunities — ILLINOIS sets the stage — the rest is up to you.


THE UPDATE is a weekly digest of news and opportunities for College of Education undergraduate students. Each week, we feature stellar Education students to build community in our Student Spotlight—and we'd like to highlight YOU. Complete the quick Q&A below and submit your story!

Realizing Her Passion for Equitable Education

Senior Allie Gilbert has truly made the most of her student experience while at Illinois. From her involvement in Epsilon Delta and Student Alumni Ambassadors to doing a pandemic-shortened study abroad semester in Spain, she's explored many opportunities to learn where her true passions lie. Now, she waits to hear back about her Fulbright Scholarship application—staying true to continuing to learn about herself, the world, and how to provide equitable education to her future students.

Read More About Allie Gilbert

Advocate and Inspire

As her senior year comes to a close, Special Education major Kapri Dowdell has her eyes set on her future as an educator. After graduation, Kapri is heading home to Chicago Public Schools, with plans to return to school for a Master's in Administration in a few years. When asked about her dream job, Kapri stated, "I want to return to school or have a higher power in our education system to advocate for our students with special needs for academic, emotional, and mental support."

Passionate About the Next Generation of Learners

As the 2021-2022 school year kicks off, meet sophomore Julie Ross. She's thrilled to be back on this bustling campus for classes this fall and we TOTALLY get that vibe. She's even more excited to lead her own classroom of crazy busy middle school students one day. Learn more about why Julie loves being part of Education at Illinois.

"Everyone Has Dignity"

Senior David McCormack has enjoyed his time on campus with involvement in Best Buddies, the Newman Center, and intramural sports. Most of all, he cherishes his experiences in his chosen field of Special Education. He recalls the beginnings of his affinity for special education back in high school, "I decided that I want to follow this passion and start to devote my life to it." Now, David is looking forward to starting his professional career as a Special Educator in a classroom of his own at Lincoln Jr. High this fall.

Read More About David McCormack

Jerny Walls, Learning and Education Studies

I enjoy that I’m not in huge lecture halls, and that I have the opportunity to connect more with my classmates and professors. There is also a huge supportive nature not only from my advisors but also my fellow classmates.

Sydney Stephens, Early Childhood Education

The College of Education is at the forefront of new information in the field. I feel like the education I am receiving is the latest and most applicable education in the country regarding Early Childhood. I enjoy the small cohorts we are in on the professional ed sequence. It's small, but I know the people in charge and my peers very well and feel like I can talk to them about anything.

Jasmine Castillo, Secondary Education minor

I came to visit during my freshman year of high school and immediately fell in love with the campus. I instantly knew that this was the place for me. UIUC is filled with endless opportunities for students; I am reminded of that every day.

Shelby Oertel, Learning and Education Studies

What made me choose Education, and ultimately Illinois, was the deep dive into Human Resource Development that is not typically available to undergrads. This unicorn of a major has propelled my career trajectory in ways that I could not have foreseen when I chose the major in high school!

Ivy Moore, Elementary Education

I enjoy that there is always someone to talk to at the College of Education. No matter when I choose to head to the education building, there is always someone I know hanging around!

Ian Copple, Secondary Education

I've participated in Illinois Geometry Lab (Developing Exciting Outreach Material) under Phillip Hieronymi for two semesters. This fostered my desire to be an educator and led to my transfer into the Secondary Education minor.

Yudany Diaz, Secondary Education

I want to make students feel safe when they're in my classroom. My goal is to motivate my future students and make them believe they are capable and know they are worthy of a good education.

Alexis Frieman, Secondary Education

I have always had a passion for helping others learn, it can feel so rewarding. Especially in math teaching, when many students feel discouraged is when I love to step in and help show them their potential as a mathematician.

Erin Dickett, Special Education

The University of Illinois is great for every single major, filled with tons of opportunities - and I have definitely seen that to be proven true in my two years of being here!

Kay Tetlak, Secondary Education

I enjoy how much the College of Education communicates with us and organizes events for us. It's wonderful.

Ana Garcia, Early Childhood Education

I love helping others, and I knew that teaching small children would fulfill a part of that purpose in my life.

Xochitl Mondragon, Elementary Education

What I enjoy about the College of Education is how many genuine and caring professors there are.

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