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Stephanie Zirbes

Education Major Excited to Start Her Career

Stephanie Zirbes ’13Ed always wanted to be a teacher, and has felt at home in the classroom since she was a student in kindergarten. “There is something about helping a child learn something they never knew before that is so rewarding,” she observed recently.

A junior pursuing a dual degree in Childhood and Special Education, Stephanie attended a St. John’s Open House with her sister, who was considering St. John’s. She found herself inspired by the words of several Dean’s Scholars (which she would later join) during a presentation for The School of Education. She investigated St. John’s for herself and realized its Education program was the perfect fit.

Since she was a freshman, Stephanie has had many opportunities to interact with students in a real classroom setting, experience she feels is invaluable and sets The School of Education apart from other programs. “During each visit I have learned something new and had a meaningful interaction with a child. I can't wait to have my own class.”

Preparation and Inspiration

“I feel well prepared,” she asserted. “Having the chance to interact with students in a classroom setting since my first semester has allowed me to see classroom theories applied in reality.”  Stephanie added that she has had many opportunities to present her own lessons to classmates, giving her a taste of what she will experience in the classroom.

Stephanie has been particularly inspired by Professors Mark and Helen Levy, teachers of several undergraduate courses in The School of Education. “They taught me more about the profession than any other course I have taken. Thanks to them, I learned how to interact with students in a way that engages them, and actually makes math and science – two difficult subjects for most students – fun and accessible. I see myself applying these ideas towards other subjects in the future, such as reading and writing.”

In addition to the Dean’s Scholars, Stephanie is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international Education honor society. She stressed that membership in these organizations has built her professionalism and confidence, bringing her leadership qualities to the forefront. They also keep her in the loop regarding critical new trends in her chosen field.

“I have never been so busy in my life, but I have learned how to balance these different responsibilities, which will be a great help to me when I begin my career as a teacher, one which requires many different hats.”

Stephanie intends to work with special education students, an idea that dovetails with St. John’s University’s Vincentian Mission. “Being able to help a child learn and grow in life is the best feeling in the world.”