Kristina Lanza is a Psychology/ Elementary and Special Education major from Bellmore, New York. She is an active member of Dance Ensemble, as well as the Admission’s Ambassador Program, Autism Speaks U, and Teachers of Tomorrow. Kristina was also inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, Alpha Chi, and the National College Honor Society.
How did you know Marist was right for you?
While Marist wasn’t the first school I visited, I still compared every school during my search process back to Marist. The defining moment when I knew Marist was right for me was during my shadow day as a senior in high school. Marist has an incredible program that pairs high school students with a Marist student for a day in which they go to a class and have lunch. I had a great host who showed me around and made me feel so welcomed. That day, I knew I could see myself going to that class, interacting with the students and professors, and spending my next four years at Marist.
How did Marist prepare you for your desired career path?
Marist’s teacher education program is unique when compared to other colleges and universities in the country. Our dual certification has allowed me to take classes to prepare me to be a general educator as well as a special educator. Many of these courses also require fieldwork, which has allowed me to work first hand in a variety of diverse settings. I have worked in affluent classrooms, at risk classrooms, general education classrooms and with students with very severe needs. Additionally, Marist requires fieldwork starting freshman year. This is extremely beneficial because it solidified my desire to become a great teacher.
How has working as a student teacher benefited you?
Student teaching was the craziest, toughest and most wonderful semester that I have had at Marist. As a student teacher, you work half of the semester full time in a general education setting and half of the semester in a special education setting. In both of my placements, I fell in love with the students and still go to visit them regularly. The experience was truly eye-opening because there are so many hats that a teacher wears and you could never truly name them all until you experience it. I feel so much more prepared to have my classroom after student teaching. It increased my confidence as a teacher and allowed me to demonstrate everything I had learned in class over the past three years. I now believe that I can handle all of the elementary playground drama and planning and teaching lessons, all while trying to sneak a quick bite to eat in at lunch as you are grading papers and making copies. It was such a crazy experience but it only made me that much more excited to have a classroom of my own.
Any advice for incoming freshmen?
Pursue your passions! One of the big reasons that I came to Marist is because I had the opportunity to continue dancing through college. Whatever your interests and passions are, Marist has a place for you!
Written by Emily Belfiore '16
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Academic School: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Campus: New York