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- Kelly Nichols '12 - Whittier School, Everett, MA
Kelly Nichols '12 - Whittier School, Everett, MA
Kelly Nichols is already thriving in the Everett, MA school system not long after graduating from Curry College. The 2012 alum is a second grade teacher at the Whittier School. And it all started with the experience she gained as a student teacher at Curry.
"My student-teaching experiences through Curry College really showed me that the classroom is where I belong," says Kelly, who holds two degrees, in education (elementary licensure option) and integrated liberal studies. "I hadn't pictured myself teaching elementary school students, but the first grade teacher who became my mentor had such a caring way with children that she's one of the models for the teacher I want to become."
After dancing for 16 years and teaching for two at the Lisa Liston Dance Studio in her hometown of Everett, Kelly chose Curry College as the place to pursue her love of working with children and learning about childhood development. In addition to classes in her major and student-teaching opportunities, Kelly worked in Curry's Early Childhood Center with the Preschool One students and the Toddler Two students. "It's amazing to move through the growing process with them and see the differences between the older and younger children." Kelly also applied what she learned in her Curry education major during three summers as a camp counselor and as head counselor for one year.
Kelly decided to attend Curry College after a campus visit where she "met lots of great people" and enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere firsthand. "Curry just felt like the best fit for me. And the education program felt the same way. I found caring professors at Curry who have become the close mentors I enjoy. They helped me become comfortable with what I want to do with my future. I feel like I really found my place."
Educational psychology professor Joanne Ruane Seltzer demonstrated interest and concern for her students and became "a real inspiration" for Kelly. "Professor Seltzer made learning about child development so enjoyable, and I loved watching her teach. It's interesting to think about how a professor teaches you how to teach."
Kelly applied what she learned in her course work at Curry to student-teaching assignments that included first grade at Atherton Hough Elementary in Quincy, fourth grade at Phineas Bates Elementary in Roslindale and third grade at Cunningham Elementary in Milton.
Outside of class, Kelly stayed active in the Education Club and found time to hang out with friends in the South Campus Residence Hall or at the Hafer Academic Center Café and in the Student Center. For two years, she was a member of Curry's Step and Dance Team. Kelly was inducted into Pi Lambda Theta, the national education honor society, and she participated in Curry's Elite Leadership Program.
Starting in her junior year, Kelly served as an Orientation Leader, working with Curry faculty and staff to create a welcoming experience for new students. "I want to be a voice to encourage incoming students to realize they can pursue whatever interests them most and be successful at Curry in their own way. I also hope to let them know how valuable it's been for me to meet all different kinds of people at Curry. I know I've grown as a person and become more mature, more open-minded and more accepting. That helps me as a teacher, too, because everyone in a classroom comes from a different background and just wants the chance to learn."
Kelly appreciates Curry's caring and dedicated faculty. "Everyone knows your name here; you won't get lost. They truly want to help, and they're interested in having real conversations with you. Going to college, even at Curry, may seem overwhelming, but when you're here, you see how comfortable it feels and how easy it is to get to know almost everyone."
"Curry offers great opportunities in and out of class, as well as a safe place for you to be who you are and move outside your comfort zone to try new things that help you make the most of your life."
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