Marist Early Education Students Embrace Unique Opportunity at First Lady's Event

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden speaks during visit to DAY ONE Teaching and Learning Center in Poughkeepsie. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

October 9, 2023 — A group of Marist teacher education students had a unique opportunity to attend First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s visit to DAY ONE Teaching and Learning Center at The Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie on Friday. The 10 students were accompanied by Marist President Kevin Weinman and Deborah Gatins, Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Image of Marist students with President Weinman and Dean Gatins at event.

Marist teacher education students with Dean Deborah Gatins (left) and President Kevin Weinman outside The Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

The group from Marist, there at the invitation of Dutchess Community College (DCC) President Peter Jordan, listened to Dr. Biden focus on early childhood education and highlight DAY ONE’s work, which is dedicated to educating children in a supportive community. 

The students, many of whom will be entering the education field as early as next year, appreciated the opportunity to hear from the First Lady, who is a career educator herself, in addition to DAY ONE’s amazing backstory in childhood education.

Image of Jill Biden at DAY ONE.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden with students and teachers at DAY ONE Teaching and Learning Center in Poughkeepsie. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

“Getting to be a part of hearing the stories of how DAY ONE came about was very heartwarming,” said Shannon Schupbach '25, a student in the childhood grades 1-6/students with disabilities program. “On top of all that, it was incredible to hear Dr. Jill Biden speak so highly about this program and that this is just the start. It gets me eager to become a future educator.”

“It takes hard work, patience, and passion to work in the field of education,” said Yamilet Yoalli Ruiz '24M, who is set to earn her masters in education in contemporary curriculum and instruction after completing the 5-year program next year. “It takes a special person to become a teacher to make a positive change in children’s lives.” 

About Marist’s Education Program

Within the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Marist’s teacher education programs allow students to cultivate their teaching abilities, guiding them on the journey to earn a teaching certification. Teaching candidates can customize and broaden their educational journeys in multiple ways. They can opt for a flexible yet tailored approach aligned with their personal interests and strengths, selecting between two tracks: adolescence/special education or childhood education/special education.

Image of President Weinman taking photos with students at Dr. Jill Biden event.
Presideint Weinman takes photos with students at Dr. Jill Biden’s event in Poughkeepsie. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

As for the Marist students on hand at the event, they found the opportunity empowering as they prepare to embark on their journey in the field of education.

“We were surrounded by a community of educators and advocates for children, and all share the common goal of supporting students in their academic and personal lives,” said Lexi Malaterra '24, a psychology major with dual certification in childhood and special education. “I appreciated how this event emphasized how children are our future, and it is our responsibility that they are prepared for it.”

“The power of connection is what I like to call my superpower and because of all of the connections I have been able to make it has opened the door for me to engage in opportunities like these through the Marist Education Department,” said Kira Poliviou '24, a psychology dual certification childhood/special education student. “I will forever be grateful.”

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