February 18, 2010
On Wednesday, February 17, 2010 alumni from St. John's The
School of Education shared their first-person success stories with
undergraduate and graduate students planning to pursue careers in
education or education administration. Students listened
attentively as alumni panelists discussed how their degree from St.
John's helped them to embark upon their individual career
School of Education Gallery
Pregame Reception Gallery
Alumni presenters included:
Andrea Budny '03Ed, '05GEd
2nd Grade Elementary Teacher
St. Peter of Alcantra School – Port Washington, NY
Thomas Carroll '06Ed, '08GEd
I.S. 204 – Astoria, NY
Margaret Nicolosi '05Ed, '07GEd
High School/Middle School Mathematics Teacher
Comsewogue School District – Long Island, NY
Currently in his fourth year teaching and preparing to become a
principal, Carroll was grateful to St. John's for the exceptional
assistance he received as a student preparing for his career in the
classroom. "St. John's created a path for me," he said.
"They guided me and gave me all of the stepping stones that I
needed to become a successful educator. My experiences in the
classroom are very challenging but also very rewarding, and I'm
here to share whatever I can with the students who want to be where
I am when they graduate."
"The classroom is a very different experience when you're up
there doing it on your own," agreed Budny. "You have
everything you need in the back of your mind, but when it's your
own classroom it's a whole new experience. Fortunately, St.
John's helped me in so many ways. The classes and professors
were great, and being a Dean's Scholar in my junior and senior year
was really special. St. John's prepared me for my career and
my life, and it prepared me very well."
Asked what she believed to be the most important advice that she
could give to future teachers, Nicolosi was quick to stress that
anyone looking to become a teacher needs to accept the personal
responsibility that is one of the most important aspects of the
role. "Every student who gives you the right to teach them
also gives you a duty to help them become the best person that they
can be. The only way that we as teachers can do that is by
developing our own character in ways that make us both real and
open to the needs and abilities of our students. Being the
best that we can be, so that we can help our students be the best
that they can be, is probably the hardest part of teaching, but
it's something we absolutely have to do."
Charissa Gigatti '05CPS, '07GEd spent her undergraduate days
studying Criminal Justice in preparation for a career in the FBI,
but soon realized that education was her true calling.
Currently a first grade teacher, she was grateful for the
opportunity to share her story with the young women and men who
will soon follow in her footsteps. "I like to be involved
with the University and help the students who are currently in the
process of getting ready for their professions," she said. "I
was a career change student and I'm happy to help guide them
through those areas that they're not going to find in their
The program concluded with a spirited question and answer period
during which students asked the panelists specific questions
regarding the day-to-day activities of a professional
educator. Students agreed that the chance to listen to recent
graduates discuss the realities of being in front of a classroom
was particularly helpful.
"This was very helpful to me," noted Courtney Curby, a senior who
hopes to teach Language Arts at the high school level following her
graduation in May. "I'm currently student-teaching, and this
was a great way for me to learn some new strategies and techniques
from people who are actually spending every day in the
classroom. Their answers to my questions gave me some ideas
about how to address the issues I've been having as a
Erin Chalmers is a junior who plans to teach Social Studies on the
secondary level after graduating in May, 2011. She was
particularly concerned about what happens when it comes time to
actually look for a teaching job. "This program was
interesting, and I found it really helpful to learn about the
interview process," she said. "The alumni here today have all
been through it, and now they're doing what I hope to be doing some
Following the event, many alumni remained to join other St.
John's graduates for a pre-game reception prior to heading into
Carnesecca Arena to enjoy the Red Storm men's basketball game
against the Pirates of Seton Hall University. Co-hosted by
The School of Education and the Office of Alumni Relations, the
reception provided an opportunity for alumni to return to campus,
catch up with friends and enjoy the excitement of BIG EAST
"St. John's has always been an important part of my life, and so
has the men's basketball team," remarked Ed Franke '88SVC.
"My dad and I are big fans of Red Storm basketball, and we love
coming to the games together. Events like this are important
for our alumni, and we're all looking forward to another great game
against Seton Hall tonight."
Brendan Ryan '62C is a long-time supporter of St. John's, and
especially enjoys getting together with other alumni and sharing
good times before basketball games. "I've been coming back to
these pre-game receptions for about three or four years now," he
said, "and I really enjoy the atmosphere. These receptions
make me feel that I'm still a part of the University. St.
John's has always been a big part of my life. It's a great
institution and I'm proud to be associated with it."