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The School of Education Students Attend the Maureen A. Hartigan Forum Honoring Prominent SOE Alumna

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The School of Education, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations and University Career Services, hosted the annual Maureen A. Hartigan Forum on February 23.  Dedicated to the memory of Maureen A. Hartigan ’55Ed, former president of The School of Education Alumni Association and an alumna committed to her alma mater, this annual forum provides current School of Education undergraduate and graduate students alike with the opportunity to network and gain insight from prominent alumni currently employed in the field of education. 

The afternoon kicked off with an inspirational address from keynote speaker Moses Ojeda, principal of Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School  in Jamaica, NY. In his remarks, he spoke to the importance of remaining positive, creative, and adaptive to change during one’s first year of teaching, in light of ever-occurring modifications being made in the field of education at the state and national levels.

According to Mirella Avalos-Louie, Ed.D., director of field experience, Ojeda “embodies all the characteristics we want our student teachers to model. As a teacher and administrator, he has demonstrated passion for his work with his faculty and students…He also makes it a priority to network with higher education institutions to create bridges for his students after graduation. We are pleased to have reestablished our school partnership with Thomas A. Edison Career Technical High School.”

In addition, the Office of Alumni Relations also presented the prestigious endowed Hartigan Scholarship to its 2015 recipient, Lauryn Weigold ’18Ed. The Maureen A. Hartigan Scholarship was established by Maureen’s three sisters, Anne, Grace, and Katherine in 1988 and is awarded annually to an outstanding full-time undergraduate student in The School of Education. Weigold, a sophomore childhood education and English major from Las Vegas, NV, plans on joining the Peace Corps upon graduation to teach young children abroad.

In a new change to the program this year, all participating students were able to practice and hone their interview skills via mock interviews conducted by the alumni mentors.  According to Joni O’Hagan, senior associate director, University Career Services, “a strong résumé that effectively markets your experience and accomplishments will get your foot in the door, but it is the interview that may land you your dream job. That said, it was exciting to provide the opportunity to practice interviewing to each student participant at the annual Hartigan Forum versus just a few students, as in the past.”

The change in formatting received positive feedback from the participating students as Cameron Dickson ’15Ed, ’16GEd, a senior enrolled in the combined 5-year Ed./M.S.Ed. in Childhood and Special Education, noted that the mock interviews were “greatly beneficial for me to practice answering common interview questions and then receive feedback. I appreciated the guidance of the mentors as they complimented my strengths, offered areas of improvement, and gave me new insights about the field of education.”    

The Hartigan Forum continues to be one of the most successful and rewarding School of Education events for students to participate in prior to graduation. According to O’Hagan, coordinators “are already working on ways to enhance the format for next year to allow for more time for each practice interview session.”