Alumni Spotlight: First Grade Teacher Accomplishes Personal Goal By Completing Curriculum and Instruction Degree
Kassondra Sosa graduated with her B.A. in elementary education from the University of New Mexico and recently completed her Master of Education degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of San Diego. She has been teaching for seven years and is currently employed as a first grade teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Why did you choose to enter the education field?
It was something I always wanted to do. My mom says I was pretty bossy when I was a little girl – I think it was in my nature. I always wanted to help people. I grew up in a very supportive and loving environment that really focused on education and it was important – I knew not every kid had that supportive household so I wanted to be that safe haven for other kids that also offered and emphasized education.
- Why did you decide to get your Master of Education degree?
I had always had wanted to get my masters. It was something I wanted to personally accomplish and I figured now was the time to do it before I have more personal commitments or responsibilities in my life.
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I had looked into lots of different programs at many different schools and really loved the curriculum and instruction degree program offered through USD. I was actually going to move to San Diego in order to enter the program until an advisor from USD called and told me they were piloting an online Master of Education program.
- Why did you choose the University of San Diego?
The University of San Diego curriculum and instruction degree program seemed to offer a more hands-on approach as opposed to a purely-research based approach. I wanted to have that application that I could apply to my classroom right away as opposed to just learning about theories and ways of thinking or philosophies.
- Has the University of San Diego master’s program helped you get to where you are today?
Yes, of course, the USD program has had a huge impact on where I am today. After going through the program I feel that I am able to utilize a variety of teaching strategies and methodologies more regularly and a little more thoughtfully. I feel more confident and competent as a teacher. I will also get a pay bump next year as a result of this degree.
- What did you like best about the University of San Diego’s Master of Education program?
I really loved all of the professors and their ability to be personable and professional at the same time. They were always willing to explain things further or help you out. They were very helpful — be it on a personal level or professional level in the classroom.
- Do you feel that there is a certain skill or set of skills you gained from the University of San Diego’s master’s program?
After completing the program I am more confident as a teacher and now have the ability to utilize the teaching strategies that I learned. A lot of the strategies I learned at USD were things I had heard about or had some professional common sense of but didn’t know how to apply effectively. The program helped by providing structure and showing us ways to not only understand these strategies in theory but how to apply them effectively to the classroom.
- Do you think getting a master’s degree is important for teachers?
Yes, I think it is important for educators although I don’t think a masters is for everyone, in every profession. I think it speaks highly of an individual who chooses to continue their education –that continuous growth is important.
- How did you like the online component?
I really enjoyed it. I have never taken an online class so I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be as motivated. But the program was really structured, which was nice, especially for my learning style.
I also liked that I was really able to collaborate with my peers – there was real-time communication with other classmates even though we lived in completely different locations. Having that sense of community even though we weren’t in the classroom was very helpful.
- What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing a Master of Education degree?
Do your research on what the program entails. Not every program is going to be what fits your needs and your interests. That’s what I did. I tried lots of different programs and the curriculum and instruction degree program through USD was the one that fit me the best.
- How would you describe your experience in the Master of Education program overall?
I’m very satisfied. The program took a lot of work but in the end it was extremely self gratifying and has really helped me professionally. Obtaining my master’s was a personal goal, so I am very happy with myself!
The University of San Diego accepts students on a rolling basis in the Fall, spring and summer for admission into the 100% online Master of Education degree program – which offers five distinct specializations, STEAM, Curriculum & Instruction, Literacy & Digital Learning, Inclusive Learning, and School Leadership. If you are interested in advancing your career and education or learning more about literacy in the digital age consider speaking with a USD admissions advisor.