Meet six future teachers

This week marks National Teacher Week. Campbell University, through our School of Education, founded in 1985, has prepared thousands of students who have gone on to be tireless and selfless teachers.

Just two weeks ago, in fact, Campbell alumna Charla Parker ‘06 was named the National Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Sports and Physical education. Parker teaches physical education at Fuquay-Varina High School. 

That honor came just a few months after our School of Education’s Middle Grades Program received the first-ever Teacher Preparation Program to Watch Award for North Carolina’s Eastern Region. Given by the N.C. Middle School Association and the N.C. Professors of Middle LEvel Education, the peer-nominated award recognizes excellence of middle-grade academic programs and the efforts of faculty and graduates to advance the aims of exemplary middle-grade education. Other universities in the same region as Campbell include East Carolina, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Wilmington. 

We at Campbell are proud of our School of Education and the thousands of our alumni who have gone on to mold and inspire the next generation through their service as educators, and the hundreds of our current students who plan to enter education. 

So in recognition of National Teacher Week, we thought we’d introduce you to six future teachers who took the time to reflect on their time at Campbell. Five of the students will graduate on Saturday, and one will complete her degree in August. 

To all of our current teachers and to all of our future teachers, thank you. 

Amanda Eason’13

Elementary education major from Benson, N.C., who graduates Saturday image

Why I chose Campbell: Growing up in this area my whole life, I never wanted to leave. Therefore, I chose to attend Campbell because it’s so close to my home and my family. I have so much pride in this community. I’ve never regretted my decision!

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: Surreal. The students and professors at Campbell truly helped me grow from an eager child to an accomplished young woman in just four short years. Without the amazing people on this campus, I’m not sure my college experience would have been as successful and smooth.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: The School of Education not only gave me the best instruction possible but also helped me develop the essential communication skills and self-confidence needed to land a job. With the help of my teachers and classmates, I’ve truly found my passion in teaching.

A class that changed my life: Professor Ken Vandergriff’s Christian Ethics course is something that will stay with me forever. His class left me with a better understanding in not only my faith but life lessons in general. Dr. Vandergriff’s enthusiasm for learning is simply contagious.

What makes me Campbell Proud: The students. Whether it’s grieving together in a time of crisis or celebrating a big athletic win, Campbell students have a way of coming together and turning the campus into a community. Here, it’s like having a second family.

What’s next for me: I plan on getting a job teaching at a local elementary school, getting married to my fiancé in December, and hopefully coming back to Campbell for a master’s degree. Once a camel, always a camel!

Brittany Elizabeth Bowen’13

Elementary education major from Winterville, N.C, who graduates Saturday image

How I ended up at Campbell: When I reached my senior year of high school, I dreamed of being accepted into the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship Program. As I applied to the program, I was welcomed to visit many universities as they hosted their annual Teaching Fellows Open House. After visiting Campbell’s Open House, I knew I had found the right place for me. The campus was beautiful, but the camaraderie among the professors and the students was the most impressive. I was attracted to the small class sizes and the close-knit community that Campbell offered. In just one brief visit, Campbell felt like home, and I knew it was where I wanted to fulfill my college career.

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: Absolutely incredible. I have made fond memories and lifelong friends that I will forever be grateful for. I cannot believe how quickly four years can pass by. Graduation is a truly bittersweet time, and I am so thankful for this wonderful chapter of my life that Campbell has contributed.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: Perhaps most influential has been the professional network it has provided. I have made relationships with professors who are supportive in serving as references in regards to job offers. I also now have many colleagues I may turn to for advice and encouragement as I embark on my teaching career. In addition, I have met many other professionals in the field of education who are willing to help beginning teachers in any way possible. The networking opportunities have been endless!

Words I heard at Campbell that will stay with me for years: “Reflect on your past, embrace today, and plan for your future.” – Jennifer Facciolini, the 2011 N.C. Teacher of the Year who delivered a presentation during a seminar for future teachers at Campbell

What makes me Campbell Proud: Each time I drive through my hometown of Winterville, I see the Campbell University billboard on Highway 264. Winterville is a rather small town that neighbors the city of Greenville, home to East Carolina University. Seeing that orange and black billboard standing tall in a town of purple and gold makes me very Campbell Proud.

What’s next for me: This fall I will begin the journey of a first-year teacher at Coats-Erwin Middle School. I’ll be teaching sixth grade mathematics. I’m excited to work at this school, as it is where I completed my student teaching experience.

Casey Lanier’13

Middle grades education with concentrations in social studies and language arts major from Sanford, N.C., who graduates Saturday image

How I ended up at Campbell: My mom graduated from Campbell in 1983, and as I was growing up, she told me about all of the wonderful experiences she had during her time on campus. I also frequently visited Campbell when I was younger due to its close proximity to Sanford, my hometown. Thus, when it was time for me to select a college to attend, Campbell was definitely on my shortlist. After attending a Visitation Day on campus the summer before my freshman year, I walked away very impressed by the various majors and organizations offered to students, as well as the sense of community that existed among the students, professors, and administrators. All of these factors spurred me to choose to attend Campbell, which has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: Transformative. I entered Campbell unsure of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but the supportive community of professors and classmates I found here really allowed me to build my confidence, explore my interests, and, ultimately, choose a career in education.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: I believe all of the courses I have taken at Campbell have prepared me to become a teacher. All of the history and English courses I have taken have given me new insight into subjects I love (education, American history, writing, and literature), while also spurring my interest in other realms, such as world history and grammar. Additionally, all of the education courses I have taken have taught me how to create lessons that embrace technology, critical thinking, and different perspectives in order to teach students about social studies and language arts. My education at Campbell has led me to a rewarding career that I will always love.

A memorable Campbell moment: My student-teaching experience in a 6th grade class at Harnett Central Middle School during the spring semester of my senior year will stay with me forever. It was incredibly fulfilling to be able to implement many of the teaching techniques I had learned about in order help my students better understand topics we were covering in social studies and language arts. Whether it was creating SMARTBoard activities as I had learned about in Dr. Olah’s technology class, creating RAFT assignments I had learned about in Dr. Roukema’s Writing Across the Curriculum Class, or teaching students to diagram sentences as I learned about in Dr. Davy’s Modern Grammar class, it was great to see how practical and relevant all of the information I had learned about really was. Many of my education professors stressed the importance of creating an “intentionally inviting” classroom environment for the students we teach. This maxim inspired me to really get to know all of my students during student-teaching and to create an environment where each student felt valued. I’ll never forget how gratifying it felt to see the students I taught succeed based on the skills I had obtained while at Campbell.

Why I’m Campbell Proud: Campbell is a university where each professor learns your name within the first week of class, and remembers it years later. Professors here are truly invested in your success, whether it involves answering a late-night email containing a question about an assignment, letting you begin an exam a few minutes early when you have three finals in one day during exam week, or simply praying with the class before a difficult test. It makes me Campbell Proud to have the president of the university, Jerry Wallace, sit with my family and me at a school play, and treat us like old friends. It makes me Campbell Proud to wear black and orange, and to know that no matter where my life leads me, I’ll always be a Camel.

What’s next for me: I’m applying for middle grades teaching positions for this fall.

Courtney Lynn Phillips’13

Middle grades education major from Dunn, N.C., who’ll complete her degree in August image

Why I chose Campbell: Growing up I witnessed many people in my community and church attend Campbell. Their Campbell pride was evident and contagious. I loved being from a small town and never wanted to move away from it to attend school. Campbell was the perfect advancement for my career that also allowed me to stay close to home.

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: Campbell was the beginning of a new journey in my life as a student, and what a journey it has been! As a commuting student, it is sometimes difficult at first to find your niche within such a large group of students. At Campbell, I quickly built relationships with friends that I will have for years to come. My journey of perusing a lifelong dream has been nothing short of a blessing thanks to the Campbell’s small-town environment.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: Campbell is responsible for the many opportunities I have been given to attend professional conferences to advance in my career. Not only have I attended these conferences, but I was also a presenter alongside Hayley Redding and Maggie Pogue—both pursing a degree in middle school education. Through conferences, visits and volunteering in local public schools, I have had the opportunity to network with local principals and teachers. This professional, but yet personal, collaboration is what led me to be placed in a middle school that I am proud to be a part of starting in August.

A memorable Campbell moment: As the co-chair of the Collegiate Middle Level Association in 2012, I had the opportunity to prepare a table at Campbell’s Relay for Life. The event was a success, as our organization raised nearly $1,200 for the American Cancer Society. Throughout the night, I met many cancer survivors who seemed to radiate with life. Their stories were inspiring and humbling to say the least. The time and effort poured into the event was paid in full as I was able to witness many survivors and relatives walk in the candlelight memorial walk-through.

What makes me Campbell Proud: First and foremost is the quality of education that you receive as a Campbell student. There are no ‘short cuts’ and every professor truly wants you to succeed. Campbell University is more than a location on a map; it is a community-based university that lends itself to relationships that will last a lifetime.

What’s next for me: Starting in August, I will begin my career teaching at Coats-Erwin Middle School of Harnett County in an eighth grade math class. I’m overwhelmed with excitement and look forward to influencing the youth of North Carolina. My passion for teaching will show through my work as a student, as I continue to be a lifelong learner. I aspire to pursue my National Board Certification, as well as a master’s degree in education.

Lindsay Rusche’13

Spanish major with teacher licensure from Holly Springs, N.C., who graduates Saturday  image

How I heard about Campbell: A woman at my church is a Campbell graduate, and she recommended that I look at the school during my college search. My family was in the process of moving from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, so I really needed help knowing what colleges in North Carolina to look at.

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: It has flown by! I have enjoyed all of my classes and the opportunities I have had along the way. Being so involved around campus makes your time more meaningful and memorable.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: Being a student ambassador for the College of Arts & Sciences and a resident assistant has helped me become more personable and comfortable talking to any type of person. Also, through all of my field experiences and student teaching, I feel that I am most prepared to begin my career as a teacher.

A memorable Campbell moment: I had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica with the summer program that is offered. It helped me strengthen my fluency in the Spanish language and learn more about the Costa Rican culture while living with a host family. I still talk with my family and hope to return to the country in the near fuWhy I’m Campbell Proud: Throughout my time at Campbell I have been blessed with so many experiences that have helped me grow academically and spiritually. I know that so many other universities do not offer these same experiences that change people’s lives for the better. I think it also is because of the amazing faculty and students at Campbell. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful community and to hopefully have helped others grow as well.

What’s next for me: I’ll be teaching Spanish at Midway High School starting in August.

Samantha Medlin’13

Special education major from Goldsboro, N.C., who graduates Saturdayimage

How I ended up at Campbell: I had a friend who was planning on attending Campbell and I decided to apply. Once I visited the campus, I absolutely fell in love with it.

How I’d describe my time at Campbell: Amazing. I have made a ton of memories on this campus that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

How Campbell has prepared me for the future: Campbell has given me the opportunity to enter professional settings similar to the ones I will be working in. This university has also provided me with the opportunity to develop relationships and social skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life – both professionally and personally.

What I’ll never forget about Campbell: The people I’ve developed friendships with over the past four years will remain in my heart and memory for many years to come. From the roommate I was assigned freshman year who became the most amazing best friend I could ask for to my advisor who made a tremendous impact on my life by sharing his love of teaching with me, I will never forget the relationships I have built with these phenomenal people.

Why I’m Campbell Proud: Because this school has become a part of me. The close, tight-knit community has made me feel at home from the moment that I stepped onto the campus. After graduation, I will be more than happy to tell people that I was a Fighting Camel.

What’s next for me: I plan to begin teaching in the fall. Shortly after that, I will be going back to school in order to get my graduate degree in severe/profound disabilities.

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