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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Outstanding COE Graduates

Outstanding grad
Faculty and staff within the College of Education have selected the following students based on their respective accomplishments as Outstanding Graduates. Congratulations to our new alumni!



Jonathan PiliserJonathan Piliser

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
There are too many memories to choose a clear favorite, but I know that I will never forget my trip to Anchorage with the Native American Scholars and Collaborators Project (NASCP) last year. Our cohort of graduate student school counselors and school psychologists attended incredible workshops, collaborated with educators and Indigenous leaders, and explored some of the most indescribably fantastic areas of Alaska.

Post-Commencement Plans
Following commencement, I plan to work at the school level in a school counseling and leadership capacity. I want to integrate myself within my school and the greater community, so that I can have the most significant possible impact on supporting student achievement and well-being.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
The College of Education has surrounded me with talented, passionate professors and fellow students - all of whom have had a major impact on my experience at San Diego State. I am also particularly grateful for the grant opportunities that I was able to participate in during my time here. The College of Education has renewed my commitment to working relentlessly until all students have access to a great education.

Victoria Couch
Victoria Couch

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
It's hard to choose just one, but my favorite memory is when the College of Education sent me and several of my classmates to attend the Annual NASPA Conference in New Orleans during the Spring 2015 semester. For many of us, it was our first time attending a conference of this caliber. I enjoyed the professional development opportunities and sightseeing with my classmates.

Post-Commencement Plans
I plan to stay in Southern California and pursue a career in institutional research and assessment.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
My graduate assistantship working in the College of Education allowed me to connect with students, faculty, and staff across the college. I was also given the freedom to pursue a variety of projects, such as starting a student-run Alumni Newsletter produced at the end of every semester.

Matt Lawson
Matt Lawson

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
My favorite memory from the college of education was evaluating the success of my target group improvement plan. Together 5 teachers and I were able raise English Learner proficiency scores by 29%. Seeing these results was exciting and validated the hard work we had put in together.

Post-Commencement Plans
Following commencement, I plan to resume my role as Dean of Students, Athletics Director, and Math Resource Teacher at Mira Mesa High School. By June 15th I am hoping to see positive results on the Integrated 1 Mathematics Competency Based Program I have been facilitating and hopefully this data will lead us to resuming the program next year. Following the close of the school year, I plan to seek a position as a high school Vice Principal.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
The College has been one of the most positive educational experiences for me. I think the curriculum is realistic and can be directly applied to my career. The education I have received is a major factor in my career advancement. The professors have been role models and I have been able to use their leadership to direct my career path.

Gina Vattuone
Gina Vattuone

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
A highlight of my experience as a student in the DLE program was attending the symposium at Chapman University 'Teaching Critically and Democratically in Times of Crisis' re-dedicating the Paulo Frerie Archives. The purpose was also to re-imagine and affirm what it means to be a critical educator in the 21st century. It was an opportunity to see my professors as students and fellow students as leaders. I was inspired to hear scholars, whose works I have read, speak. Teaching can sometimes feel like a solitary pursuit and this made me feel connected to part of a global movement.

Post-Commencement Plans
I plan to continue teaching and working in my current position as a district curriculum specialist for ELA. This role allows me to develop culturally relevant curriculum that engages students in current events and issues. I also get to collaborate with fantastic teachers from across my district. I am inspired to see teachers’ interminable creativity, dedication and professionalism. My plan is to continue to be an instructional leader and seize future opportunities.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
My experience at SDSU has been almost solely as a student in the College of Education. I received both my teaching credential and M.A. degree here. Through the College of Education I have developed life-long friendships, made professional connections and received invaluable mentorship. It has shaped who I am as an educator and even as a parent!

Lynn Allinger
Lynn Allinger

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
My favorite memory was undoubtedly working at the literacy center with the students in those rooms with the two-way mirrors. It was fascinating to watch the children, and it was quite interesting watching the teachers! Everyone's manners and methods were a bit different, and that felt like a privileged opportunity to peek into how others teach.

Post-Commencement Plans
I am seeking a job as a reading specialist. Also, I may remain in my spot as a kindergarten teacher. Teaching children to read is a real joy, so that will be involved in whatever job I take.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
The professors at SDSU truly were inspirational. At the Master's level, I found all the courses really interesting, in spite of the clinical approach to writing that researchers must take - and we read so many research papers! Discussions in our classes focused on recognizing the essence of the articles and critically analyzing them, positively as well as sometimes negatively. I thought the COE teachers communicated the tremendous value of research and how to use it in our own teaching.

Megan Matthews
Megan Matthews

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
One my favorite experiences at SDSU, has been volunteering at Partners Therapeutic Horsemanship for special needs children. This non-profit allowed me the opportunity to create trusting and lasting relationships with the children and their families, while seeing the benefits of participating in therapeutic horseback riding. My second favorite experience has been working for SDYS in the foster care center. This job opened my eyes to the importance of providing trauma informed care, and getting down on children’s level to play and have fun. I have grown from these experiences and will use them to guide my work later in life.

Post-Commencement Plans
I am planning on attending the University of La Verne Master's Program in Child Life in the Fall 2015. Once I finish my Master's program, I am hoping to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. I would love to take everything I have learned at SDSU and give back to the San Diego community, especially to the medically fragile children and their families.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
My experience has allowed me the opportunity to seek out becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist. Very few schools in Southern California provide students with the opportunity to learn about this field, while also gaining hands-on experience. However, I have been able to volunteer at the Kaiser San Diego Medical Unit and participate in the Rady Children’s Child Life Practicum, where both of these experiences have allowed me to explore my passions in helping children and their families during hospitalizations. SDSU has provided me with a strong knowledge base, and I am now ready for my next chapter in life.

Sasha Elbaz

Favorite Memory Within the College of Education?
One of my favorite memories is talking to my professors about my practice as an educator, and getting excited about what I was doing in the classroom. I always felt inspired when I was through with class. I also appreciated the family feeling through the cohort.

Post-Commencement Plans
I would like to earn my reading certificate, and implement effective interventions for secondary students. My experience in this process has shown me the importance of reading intervention for older students. This program gave me the tools to inspire change and implement programs to support students reading achievement.

How Has the College of Education Helped You?
College of Education has made my experience at SDSU memorable. I appreciate the opportunity to receive my degree and clear my credential.