My Student Experience: First Group of Students Participate in College of Education Summer Internship Program in Memory of Chantal Warfield
This is part of a monthly “My Student Experience” series in which the NC State College of Education highlights the student experience through profiles, stories and videos.
The NC State College of Education has named its first participants in the College of Education Summer Internship Program — a competitive, eight-week summer internship program — that was established to honor the impact and legacy of Chantal Warfield ‘19, who died in October 2019 as a result of a car accident.
The program provides financial support for two undergraduate students within the college who serve as interns at organizations in high needs communities that support education, such as schools, community centers or educational nonprofits. Preference is given to students who complete an internship in their home community.
Amaya Dicker ‘21, a middle grades English Language Arts and social studies education major, applied to the internship program because of how it was a way to honor Warfield. And it was an opportunity for her to serve and make a difference in her home county.
“The education I got from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools motivated and inspired me enough to dedicate my work life to education. I saw this as an opportunity to impact the city that set me on a path of excellence,” she said.
The Mecklenburg County native is serving at International House, an organization that services the needs of the immigrant community in Charlotte through an immigration law clinic. adult education and citizen diplomacy programs, and reading and literacy assistance for students.
Dicker works as a manager of the Rising Readers Program, where she supports four teachers by completing their administrative tasks, buying supplies, assembling drop-offs to students and brainstorming ways to make the new program better. She is also responsible for keeping detailed notes and taking pictures to report back to the organization’s Board of Directors at the end of the summer, where she will present on the success of the program.
“As a future language arts teacher, literacy is very important to me and their deliberate work to support English language learners (ELL) is necessary. I saw this program as an opportunity to learn from skilled teachers of ELL and support a program that directly aligns with my passion for civil rights advocacy work,” Dicker said.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the program has had to adapt and looks different than previous years. This has forced Dicker and her team to reimagine the program to fit within the guidelines in an effort to keep their students safe, which has taught her how to adapt and innovate enthusiastically. And she’s learned a lot about curriculum, planning and scaffolding.
“This experience has taught me how important it is to think critically about how every decision you make will impact the students specifically,” she said. “Working with English as a second language (ESL) students was a new experience for me and the lessons I have learned will be directly applicable as I step into the classroom as a student teacher this fall.”
Teaching Fellow Breanna Goins ‘21, a mathematics education major, was attracted to the summer internship program because it gave her the opportunity to work in Surry County.
Goins is working with the recovery program at North Surry High School. In her role, she contacts students who need credit recovery, sets up Google Meets and works through assignments to provide extra support to students in order to graduate or catch up on classes.
“I was excited for the opportunity to come home to family and friends where I could work with students I knew really needed my help. The school district has a lot of student needs and I was so excited to get the chance to work with students from an area I knew well,” she said. “My community has supported me so much in times of heartache and need, and I wanted to find a way to give back and make it a better place.”
As a future educator, Goins says that through this experience she has learned how important it is to understand her students and form strong relationships with as many of them as she can, and that some students are going to need some extra support and love from her as the teacher, while others are able to find this in other areas of their life.
“One of the most impactful things that I have experienced in this internship is the obstacles students face while being in high school. My eyes have been opened to the importance of students seeing educators on their side and willing to help in any way they can,” she said.
“I see how important it is for me in my future classroom to catch those kids who are ‘falling through the cracks’ and show them the love and support they need to push through.”