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UNG students help high school students learn about education careers

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Javi Guadalupe and Trevor Bowman, UNG College of Education Student Ambassadors, helped high school students learn more about UNG's teacher education programs at the Future Georgia Educators Day held Nov. 7 on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

A team of 27 College of Education (COE) students from the University of North Georgia (UNG) helped more than 150 high school students from across the state learn more about the teaching profession and how to prepare for it Nov. 7 at Future Georgia Educators (FGE) Day.

The COE Student Ambassadors and faculty members answered questions and shared their knowledge at interactive workshops and seminars throughout the day on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. UNG and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) teamed up to provide a college recruitment fair, an FGE Knowledge Bowl competition, lunch in the UNG Dining Hall and a tour.

Javi Guadalupe, a senior from Lawrenceville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in kinesiology with teacher certification, said the high school students welcomed the chance to hear from UNG students.

"That's the best way to get those questions answered that they have," said Guadalupe, a student representative for the COE Student Ambassadors.

Cindy Sherrill, director of clinical engagement and community partnerships for the college, said the university has almost 450 juniors and seniors in classrooms in some 120 schools across the state as part of their teacher preparation during the 2019-20 school year. She was eager for students at FGE Day to see college as a possibility.

"Many of these students have not experienced a college campus and might be the first in their family to attend college," Sherrill said. "The College of Education programs at UNG are some of the best in the state, so we want high school students to be aware of the outstanding preparation we provide to teacher education candidates."

Meredith Talley, a senior from Clayton, Georgia, pursuing a degree in elementary and special education, said the workshops allowed the COE Student Ambassadors to discuss aspects of college life and how they ended up at UNG.

"We can connect and form relationships with these students," said Talley, director of communications for the group.

The event was one of 10 that will be held on college campuses across the state during this academic year.

This is the fifth year of FGE Day and the fourth time UNG has hosted. UNG held an FGE Day on the Gainesville Campus during the 2017-18 academic year and the Dahlonega Campus in 2016-17 and 2018-19. About 6,400 students visited events across all campuses in the first four years of FGE Day.

Inspired by her own teachers, Maddie Ennis, a junior from Loganville High School, was thankful to attend the FGE Day.

"This is a good way to experience UNG and learn about their programs," Ennis said.

Trevor Bowman, a senior from LaFayette, Georgia, pursuing a degree in kinesiology with teacher certification, said he hoped to show the high school students the profession's value.

"You have the opportunity to impact so many lives by being a teacher," said Bowman, vice president of the COE Student Ambassadors. "That's one of the reasons I chose to be an educator."

Kayla Aguirre, a senior from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a degree in elementary and special education, said the UNG students had an opportunity to inspire those who will come after them.

"We're in the position they're going to be in a few years down the road," said Aguirre, president of the COE Student Ambassadors. "They see others do it, and they believe that they can too."

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