A Beacon of Advocacy

Education Major Guided by College Connections

Calli Jon Massengill
Undergraduate Student, College of Education
East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina

Department: Special Education, Foundations and Research (SEFR)

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Calli Jon Massengill entered East Carolina University with a bit of anxiety as the pandemic introduced many unknowns.

Once she began her classes, though, she became even more committed to becoming a teacher. Now a junior in the special education (adapted curriculum) program, she credits her professors with having their students’ best interest at heart.

“I am so blessed to be in the College of Education, where the faculty genuinely care about each student’s success and want us to make the greatest impact as educators,” she says. “COVID-19 changed so much for so many people, but the College of Education adapted to keep learning possible for its students.”

In addition to faculty support, being a member of the university’s Education Living Learning Community has helped Massengill connect with like-minded education majors while providing numerous opportunities to develop as a future teacher. Those connections continue to prove fruitful while reinforcing her belief that ECU is the right school for her.

“I knew that ECU was where I was meant to be in my junior year of high school when I first toured the campus,” she says. “Starting as a teacher training school, ECU is known as being the best place in North Carolina for future teachers. I remember many of my favorite teachers growing up were graduates of East Carolina University.”

She recalls developing her interest in teaching students with disabilities when she was assigned to be a peer tutor as a high school freshman. That interest has become her passion.

“Seeing how hard these students work to achieve their goals along with the look on their faces when they achieve them is priceless,” she says. “Being a special educator also means being each student’s advocate. This role is one that I do not take lightly, and I hope to help my students learn to advocate for themselves.”