Della Rao, from Levittown, Long Island, was blessed to be raised in a family that encouraged her to pursue her scholastic goals. She has always been especially drawn to English, reading voraciously even as a child and even having her own written work published.
This brought academic ambitions and the desire to help others, oddly enough strengthened by the bullying that she experienced as an adolescent. Rather than remain a victim, Della decided to use what she had experienced in order to help others. Through her work in youth ministry, Della discovered that she was using her passion for linguistic expression as a tool to help struggling teens find their voices. This brought her to the School of Education and her career decision to teach and counsel students.
Della graduated from General Douglas MacArthur High School in her native Levittown at the top of her class. She could not wait to join the St. John’s community and was especially excited to take her place in the University Honors Program. The School of Education’s philosophy that every student matters dovetailed perfectly with her own and has made a perfect fit.
Since beginning her collegiate career, Della has earned induction into Kappa Delta Pi (the International Honor Society in Education), a mentorship in the Students Teaching Academic Responsibilities (STAR) Program, and a place on the School of Education’s Dean’s List.
Della believes that the most important asset of the Honors Program is its ability to make every student feel appreciated and significant and that this is one important element of the educating process. With each encouraging e-mail and caring conversation, Della continues to be reminded that the Honors Program has become her academic second home.
Della has fully dedicated herself toward fulfilling her high goals. She is currently enrolled in a five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree as well as a Master’s Degree in Literacy, all of which will culminate in a license to teach English at the secondary school level. She also hopes some day to become an adjunct professor and to further pursue writing professionally.
Nothing pleases Della more than knowing that she is using her love for English as a tool to influence and inspire others. She holds firm to the belief that if she can use her passion for academic service to make a difference in just one young person’s life, then she has truly become the best educator, and person, she can be. Overall, she cannot thank the directors and faculty of the University Honors Program enough for reinforcing that dream and for being prime examples of what great educators can create.