Jeanne L. Diorio Memorial Fund Recipient Kathryn Topping '19
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Kathryn Topping '19

Jeanne L. Diorio Memorial Fund 2017–2018 recipient

Kathryn Topping '19 is fulfilling her dream of becoming a special education and elementary school teacher. Experiential learning opportunities allow her to immediately practice what she is learning at the University's College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP), giving her the best preparation possible to succeed:

Kathryn ToppingI chose the University of Hartford because in all of the colleges I toured, this one had the best education program. I felt that I would obtain what I need to become the best teacher possible.

My experience as an elementary education/special education major has been great. I have had hands-on experience since freshman year, which no other school could offer me. I also am being taught by amazing professors. They all have different experiences and specialties that have helped me to make the most out of my own experiences in different schools. I became interested in special education and elementary education because I enjoy teaching. I have always been around kids and it is interesting to see how they can grow. Their thought processes change and I want to be a part of shaping that and helping them learn.

My greatest accomplishments so far have been from my field work experiences. Because of the instruction of my professors, I have been prepared to practice what I have learned. Recently, I was placed in a fourth grade class at the Fred D. Wish School in Hartford. I was able to help support my cooperating teacher with her math instruction. I was able to help students and I know I made a difference because they were able to help their other classmates. I would help one student and then that student would teach their classmate. I feel accomplished knowing that I made a difference in a student's life even though it might have been small. 

The extracurricular that I participate in at the University is Best Buddies. I help students at the local transitional academies to feel like they are part of the college experience. I take part in different activities with them to help them feel included, such as holiday parties, going to college basketball games, and more. This experience has helped me to learn more about people with disabilities and how to help them feel like they are a part of the University of Hartford community. 

My plans after graduation are to find a job working in an elementary school in Connecticut. I would like to be in an inclusive classroom working with both students with disabilities and those without disabilities. I would like to find a job closer to my hometown in Madison, Conn., so that I can make an impact on children from my own community at home. My career goals are to eventually complete a master's program. I think I might want to specialize in speech and language to be able to support English language learners and students with speech difficulties.

Thank you so very much for this scholarship. My family and I are beyond grateful. I know that this will make an impact on my education that will then allow me to make an impact on others. I will be able to become the best teacher and make long-lasting impressions on my students.

Kathryn Topping

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