Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Emily Schneider
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Education: BA (Psychology), University of Rochester, 2006; MA (Early Childhood Special Education), George Washington University; Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis at George Mason University
Current city/state of residence: Washington, D.C.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I applied Early Decision to the University of Rochester. When I visited with my parents, I immediately felt like this could be my home for the next four years. After I did an overnight visit with current students, my decision was sealed. I loved the feel of the campus and the opportunities it offered. The UofR fit everything I imagined college should be, and it did not disappoint!
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
One of the most influential programs I was involved with at the University of Rochester was Professor Bennetto’s practicum in developmental disabilities. In addition to meeting for class discussions, we also worked in a classroom on campus that worked with 18-21 year olds with developmental disabilities. They were learning critical life skills for half of the day and worked jobs the other half of the day. I absolutely loved this experience. This is why I am a special education teacher today. Professor Bennetto’s practicum allowed me to find my passion for teaching children with developmental disabilities, and I am forever grateful the University of Rochester provided me with this opportunity.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduation, I was accepted into the DC Teaching Fellows program. I knew I had a passion for helping children, especially children with disabilities. I thought the Fellows program would offer me a great opportunity to explore teaching as a career. As I taught in a high-needs DC public school, I went to school for my masters in special education. It turned out I truly loved to teach, and I have been working at my same school in DC as the early childhood autism teacher for the past six years.
How are you still connected with the University?
The University of Rochester will always have a special place in my heart. I am connected to the University through the amazing friends that I made during my time there. Even though we are spread across the country, we are all still very close. We constantly reminisce about our college days. I have been back a few times, which is always so much fun. I love being on campus. One of my favorite times was returning to UofR for a friend’s bachelorette party. We wanted to go back to where we all met. We had a great time taking pictures around the campus and remembering the good times we had. I imagine us being old ladies and returning to do the same thing years and years from now.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy every moment! Everyone says it, but you don’t realize how true it is until you’re done – college is one of the best times of your life. Don’t stress yourself out too much – make sure you have a nice balance of work and fun. Take advantage of the amazing classes and opportunities. And one last thing – make sure you get out of bed on the weekend in time to go to Danforth brunch – it was always our favorite!