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Pam Szefler, Class of 2005
BUFFALO STATE IS THE ONLY PLACE to go if you want to become an exceptional education teacher, says Pamela Szefler. That's why she's a student here.
Szefler discovered her passion for working with children with special needs while still in high school. When the time came to choose a college, her mentors told her, "You'd be silly to go anywhere but Buffalo State."
They were right. Szefler has met other ex ed majors from colleges all over the country. She's learned that she began to get in-the-classroom experience much sooner than they did.
Szefler credits her professors for her early professional involvement in her discipline. She has already attended conferences to learn the most recent research and classroom practice. For example, a workshop about using art to teach fired her imagination.
"You can use art to help students with sensory impairment," she explained. "You can put oatmeal in paint, so the kids can feel the texture. Or you can grind cinnamon on sandpaper and work that smell into different materials."
Szefler appreciates Buffalo State's diversity for its own sake--"it¿s part of the fun of college"--and for the career preparation it provides. "I¿ve taken classes with people whose backgrounds are very different from mine," she said, noting that she¿s "as Cheektowagan as they come." She believes that getting to know different people will help her work successfully with her future students and colleagues. Her long-term goals include working with families of ex ed students, either as a counselor or as a consulting teacher.
Whatever the future holds, Szefler recognizes that Buffalo State has given her in-depth, hands-on, real-life experience in her profession. Her professors have encouraged her to do more and work harder, making them "the best part of it all."
"I think what makes a good professional," she said, "is being supported so much by your teachers in college."