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Heather HoltHeather Holt '25

Major: Elementary Education

Why did you decide to study education?

I want to be a “home base” for a child that doesn't have that at home. Every day I want to touch the lives of children and make them feel loved, important and strong. I want to be a part of my community and make a difference in my community. I am very passionate about teaching children social and emotional skills so they can become adults who have the skills to navigate stressful and emotional situations that they will come across in their lives. I want to make each one of my students feel important and that they matter. I want to help them realize that they can do hard things, they can learn and they can be successful. I want to let them know that no matter what happens, there is always someone that cares about them and believes in them. I want to teach my students that through hard work and perseverance, anything can be achieved. They have a right to success just as much as anyone else. They too can fly!

What classes have been your favorite so far, and why?

I have really enjoyed my Exploring Teaching class. I love that we get to go out into the field and be in a classroom. We get to see the real workings of the classroom, how the teacher runs class, and how they develop their classroom management and lesson plans. Getting to know all the students is amazing, and you get to take what you are learning in your other education classes and use that knowledge in a real-life setting.

Tell us about a unique experience or project you've worked on for your major.

In my Classroom Behavior Management class, we developed a self-management project. We take the content that we are learning about behavior and consequences and use it on ourselves. We have to pick a behavior that we want to change about ourselves and use the behavior management techniques and data collection strategies that we have learned to track our behavior and come up with solutions on how to change it.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about majoring in education?

You have to enjoy working with children and be passionate about giving them the best version of yourself. Have lots of patience. Teaching isn't just a job; it is an important role in children's lives. It is hard work, but the reward is so amazing.  

What's your dream job?

I want to teach first or second grade at a low-income school.  

Who has made a difference for you at Whitworth?

The main person who has made a huge difference for me at Whitworth is the education department chair, Dr. Lisa Laurier. She truly cares about you and will work very hard to help you with anything you need. She is always there to talk and gives amazing advice. You never have to feel like you are doing this on your own. All the professors in the education department truly care about their students and always make time to help you when you need it.

Why did you choose to attend Whitworth?

I knew I was going to get the best education. Education is an investment in yourself, and I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best opportunities. I knew I would get that at Whitworth. At Whitworth you're not treated like just another student, you are treated with value and respect. 

Janelle AokiJenelle Aoki '22

Why did you decide to study education?

Every person has that one teacher who has made a huge impact on their lives. Mine was my second grade teacher. She made such a huge impact on my life, and I want to be that person for many other kids.

What are some of your favorite classes so far?

My favorite class so far was Intervention for Behavior or Motivation with Flint Simonsen. Every future teacher is worried about classroom management. This class helps you navigate that through learning about behavior disorders and behavior analysis, which can be carried out in your future classroom.

Tell us about a unique experience you've had or project you've worked on for your major. 

The best part about being an education major is being able to observe and be a part of an elementary classroom. I have had countless opportunities to be in a classroom and learn firsthand from a professional in my field.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about majoring in education?

There is something special about being an education major. It's about being able to make a difference in kids' lives and helping shape our future generations.

What's your dream job?  

In every education class, you will be asked what is your dream grade to teach. Personally, I am very flexible on what students I would teach. I would love to teach second graders, but middle school math sounds exciting as well!  

Who has been an important connection for you at Whitworth, and why? 

An important connection I have made at Whitworth is Lisa Laurier. She is a wonderful professor who always makes time for her students. Every time I pass her office there is someone inside asking for advice, sharing questions or concerns, or just talking about life. Her door is always open to help whether or not you are one of her students.

What's something that surprised you or might surprise other students about your major?

Whitworth education professors want to get to know you. They want to learn about your family, your future endeavors, your stressed-out moments in class. They genuinely care about you and your well-being, which is something unique about Whitworth.

Why did you choose to attend Whitworth?

I attended Whitworth blindly. I had this special tug in my heart that at the time I did not know what it was. Maybe it was the trees, maybe it was the squirrels, but I later learned it was God pulling me to a place filled with people who know and love him as well. He led me 3,000 miles away from Hawaii to come to Whitworth, which I later find out has one of the top education programs in Washington.


Silvia Esparza '23

Why did you decide to study education?

I decided to pursue education because I want to give back to my community and raise leaders from within. I want to inspire and serve my students so that they may break the chains of generational poverty.

What are some of your favorite classes so far?

My favorite and most memorable classes were Exploring Teaching with Dr. Picanco and Democracy, Leadership & Schooling with Dr. Lambert. I loved Exploring Teaching because it was my first practicum and I got to teach an elective at Evergreen Elementary. I also enjoyed the class with Dr. Lambert because it was empowering to learn the importance of sharing our stories.

Tell us about a unique experience you've had or project you've worked on for your education major. 

For my Democracy, Leadership & Schooling class with Dr. Lambert, we had to create a digital story that reflected the knowledge we gained in the course and our mission as future educators. We were encouraged to create this assignment with the idea of one day showing it to an interview committee. I loved how my digital story turned out. If it caused Dr. Lambert to tear up, I know it will be worth sharing in my first interview as a teacher.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about majoring in education?

Be passionate and dedicated. The most important quality to have as an educator is to be passionate enough to influence and inspire others. All students deserve teachers who will care for and value them.

What's your dream job?  

My dream job is to serve and bring out the best of students, families and communities through educational administration. I want to give them the support and stage they need so that their voices can be heard, all while educating them on how to love and care for the world we live in.

Who has been an important connection for you at Whitworth, and why? 

Dr. Kathryn Picanco has been an important part of my growth at Whitworth. Since my freshman year, she has never failed to encourage me with her kind and genuine remarks. One of the most significant things she told me was "I can see you starting a school one day." Mentors like Dr. Picanco who recognize my dedication are what keeps me motivated to achieve my aspirations. I am grateful she is part of my journey and that we will continue to work together within the School of Education's Student Advisory Board.

Why did you choose to attend Whitworth?

I chose to attend Whitworth because of its beautiful campus and the small community that reminded me of my hometown of Quincy, Wash. The class size was perfect and welcoming, and I couldn't see myself attending any other university.

How would you describe Whitworth?

Whitworth is home to remarkable people who have an altruistic devotion to serving the world with kindness.

Learn more about Whitworth's Education, B.A. program

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