Kaitlyn Martin '16
Education - Early Childhood and Special Education
Vanderbilt University - Peabody School of Education
Graduate/Professional School, I got a job!, Research
Special Education Teacher - Reading Support
Pan American Academy Charter School
Briefly describe your position.
"I just started a new teaching job. I work as a special education teacher who provides reading support to students in grades 4 through 6. The school I work at is very unique because it is an inner-city charter school that provides bilingual education (50:50 ratio of education taught in Spanish and English) to students living in Philadelphia."
How did you first get connected to your current position?
"I uploaded my information to PAREAP, which is a teaching job database and the school saw my information. Their recruiter emailed me and suggested I apply for a position that opened in special education. I applied for the position, completed a Skype interview (while I was at school in Nashville), and sent in a video demo lesson. The week I moved back to PA, I completed an in-person demo lesson and was offered a position that day. I was very fortunate to have secured a full-time position within 48 hours of completing my graduate education."
How did your SJU education impact your professional goals?
"SJU provided me with the educational knowledge and experience to be a confident and effective classroom teacher. I feel that my academic and leadership skills, which were fostered as an SJU student, have helped me become a competitive candidate in the job market. SJU and the Faith-Justice Studies program have strengthened my passion for urban education, which led me to accepting this position."
Did you participate in any experiential learning activities while at SJU?
"I participated in field placements every semester at SJU. As an education student, I observed and assisted in classrooms in the Greater Philadelphia area. During my freshman year, I participated in Service Learning, which was a transformative experience. My first placement was with the Congreso after school program at a local elementary school; surprisingly, the school I currently work at is founded by the Congreso program. I feel that my SJU experience has truly come full circle and it is only fitting that my first service learning experience is so connected to my first teaching job."
Briefly describe your experience in your graduate program.
"Shortly after graduating from SJU, I moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt to study Special Education. I was fortunate enough to acquire federal funding through the program, so my master’s degree was fully funded. While at Vanderbilt, I conducted research for studies and federal grants and I was published as a co-author on one of the studies. I worked as the Research Assistant of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program, an inclusive higher education program for students with intellectual disabilities. A fun fact I would like to share is that while on Vanderbilt’s campus, I was told to give a tour to a visitor who was a director of an inclusive Higher Ed program in Syracuse, NY; as I was giving the tour, I learned that the director was also a graduate of SJU’s education program. She was so excited to meet a fellow Hawk and provided me with some career advice and networking help; instances like these remind me of how small the world is and why being an SJU grad opens doors to the future."