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Azsa Parker

B.S. in Inclusive Early Childhood and Special Education '16

Hometown: New York, NY

What made you choose the Syracuse University School of Education?
Because I knew I'd be a prepared and well-rounded teacher once I graduated from the Inclusive Early Childhood and Special Education program. Within my four years, this program provides me with six different field placements in a wide variety of schools, certification in both general education and special education, and a strong connection between faculty in the field and my fellow classmates.

What do you like about being a School of Education Peer Adviser?
As an incoming freshman, I benefited from having an older student in my program serve as a guide throughout my freshman year. I was nervous making the transition into college, like many other freshmen. My peer adviser gave me advice regarding my classes, where to buy textbooks, and general information about the university. Knowing that I had my peer adviser as a resource made the transition less stressful. The role of a peer adviser is very broad in order to assist the diverse needs of students. Some of my advisees come to me with questions about our major, while others ask about different ways they can get involved on campus. By volunteering as a peer adviser, I hope that I can help freshmen and transfer students ease their way into the School of Education and Syracuse University.

What other activities or organizations are you involved in on campus or in the community?
I am involved in Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and I have a work-study job in the Communication and Rhetorical Studies Department.

What do you hope to do after you complete your degree at the SU School of Education?
After I graduate from SU, I hope to work in an inclusive elementary school and teach in grades K-2. After I teach for a few years, I hope to do something involving education policy and advocacy.

What has been your most memorable class/learning experience in the School of Education?
One thing I really like about the School of Education is the small class sizes, especially within the upper levels. We do a lot, and I mean a lot, of community building throughout the semester to help us get to know each other and develop a strong cohort. I feel a sense of belonging in my education classes and I know I can call on anyone in my cohort for help. I remember one night during sophomore year when a bunch of us were stressing out over a test the next morning. The test covered a copious amount of information and many of us couldn't figure out a successful way to study. We decided to meet up later that night in a vacant classroom and brainstorm different methods of memorizing the information. Our study methods consisted of ridiculous songs, silly pictures, and clever acronyms. Tackling the problem as a group helped all of us find effective ways to retain the information for the test the next morning. This experience made me realize that teaching is an incredibly collaborative profession and it is important to call on my fellow professionals for help.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the Jabberwocky Cafe in the basement of the Schine Student Center. The Jabberwocky Cafe is a comfy and quiet hiding spot to get some work done in the middle of the day. Plus, Schine dining center is directly upstairs so I don't have to go far to grab a study snack!

How have you changed during your time at Syracuse University?
Throughout my time at SU, I've grown to be a more independent person. I've learned that I'm capable of handling tougher situations without relying assistance from other people. When I do need help, I know that there are resources available. I take the responsibility upon myself to find the resources necessary for my specific situation. In addition to increased independence, I've also grown to be a more conscious person. I've realized that I've had a fairly privileged lifestyle and not everyone has access to as many resources made available to them. This is especially important within the field of education.

What advice would you give to high school students making decisions about where to go to college and what to study?
First, stay calm! The college process can feel incredibly daunting and you may find yourself getting lost in everything going on around you. Throughout all the chaos, always remember to stay true to yourself. Second, choose a college where you feel most comfortable academically, socially and professionally. Consider the college you choose a home and a place to grow for the next four years. Lastly, enjoy high school! Go out for ice cream with your friends and challenge everyone not to talk about college. You don't want to look back on high school and only have memories stressing out about the future.