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Education Students

Lisamarie Estrada

BS Childhood Education, 2012
MS Education in Special Education and Literacy, 2015

For any 17-year-old, applying to college is a stressful process. My parents and I have visited numerous schools searching for a potential second home for the next four years. After a few visits to different schools, my mom suggested visiting Iona College, her alma mater. I agreed to give Iona a shot, and as soon as I stepped on campus I knew that Iona was the college for me. Iona’s small family atmosphere, vast amount of majors to choose from, and location, helped me make my final decision. Everyone was so helpful and sweet, and they truly made me feel welcome and at home.

As an undecided freshman, I explored many classes in order to determine my major. When speaking to my adviser, I explained that I wanted to work with children and make a difference. My adviser made sure I followed the best path to achieve my dream career that ignited my passion. Together we discussed my previous jobs, and I told him that I had always worked with kids, from babysitting, to tutoring and being a camp counselor. I knew that in order to pursue a career that would be satisfying and inspiring for me, I should go into the teaching field to inspire children, just as my past teachers had done for me. With that, I declared my major in childhood education and was excited to start this brand new journey.

During my time as an undergraduate at Iona, I made sure to get the full experience by immersing myself into campus life through different events, clubs and activities. I was a member of the Iona College Dance Team, where my team members became my sisters. I took on many different leadership roles such as being the vice president of the SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the alumni representative for the Tara Knights Society, resident assistant of South Hall, leading a mission trip to the Arch Bishop Curley School in Miami, and working for the Office of Student Development.

After my senior year, I was determined to find the job that Iona had prepared me for. I accepted my first job at St. John Chrysostom School shortly after graduation. At St. John, the staff became my family, and I will never forget how I started there. I worked at St. John for three years, two years as a general education teacher and a year as an universal pre-kindergarten teacher. After finishing my master’s in special education and literacy, I landed a job in a public school in the Bronx, Ps1x Courtlandt School. I have been working for two years as a special education teacher in a bilingual ICT classroom.

I have been extremely fortunate to have such a successful journey throughout my education career. I have been able to develop lifelong connections at Iona with professors that have changed my thinking and have inspired my way of teaching, such as Professor McMahon and Dr. Wolfson. I’ve learned to always remember to make each lesson meaningful, functional and genuine. I will bring a little piece of Iona in me wherever my path leads me in the future!