Meet Our Incoming Students: Four of Our Newest Master of Arts in Teaching Candidates

Meet Our Incoming Students

This is part of a summer “Meet Our Incoming Students” series in which the College of Education will introduce some of its first-year, transfer and graduate students who will join us this fall.

This fall, a new cohort of students joined the NC State College of Education in the Master of Arts in Teaching program, an accelerated teaching licensure program where students earn an initial teaching license and master’s degree. Meet four of those incoming graduate students.

Kathryn BaileyKathryn Bailey

Wake Forest, North Carolina
Grand Canyon University
Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary Education

Educational background?

I received my bachelor’s degree in applied business analytics from Grand Canyon University.

Professional background?

For the past year, I have been working as a data analyst for a telecommunications company.

What inspired you to pursue a teaching career?

I began my undergraduate studies as an elementary education major and changed to data analytics because I wanted a change. I had always wanted to be a teacher and once I started college it really made me question what I wanted to do. After working as a data analyst for a year, I realized that there is nothing I wanted more than to be a teacher.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I chose NC State because of the amazing recommendations from multiple colleagues of my husband. He is a high school history teacher.

What attracted you to the Master of Arts in Teaching program?

I absolutely love online learning and that is what attracted me to the program initially. However, upon close inspection, I saw that you also receive licensure and I decided it was a perfect fit.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this year?

I have loved learning my whole life and I can’t wait to jump back into academia.

Why did you choose education?

I chose education because I want to create a classroom that promotes diversity, inclusion and the love of learning.


Ijeoma EkeIjeoma Eke

Abiriba, Abia State of Nigeria
Obafemi Awolowo University
Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education

Educational background? 

I earned my bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from Obafemi Awolowo University and became a French language teacher two years later.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

My family relocated to Raleigh a few years ago. I chose NC State because it is the closest university to me, and the NC State College of Education is formidable.

What attracted you to the Master of Arts in Teaching program?

The staff is very supportive and everyone is willing to assist you no matter what your needs might be. I could not have been more blessed and I am giving it my best and hope to make the best of this opportunity.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to things going back to normal again and also making meaningful connections and contributions to the College of Education and to my course of study.

Why did you choose education?

Education is the foundation of all other professions. I love working with children, answering their questions and helping them conquer their fears. Teaching is the only profession that affords me this opportunity.


Brandi HughesBrandi Hughes

Sammamish, Washington
Tulane University
Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary Education

Educational background?

I completed elementary and middle school in California. However, I graduated with an international baccalaureate diploma from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington. I then completed my Bachelor of Arts in psychology and early childhood education at Tulane University. I graduated summa cum laude and received the honor of being invited into Phi Beta Kappa.

Professional background?

I’ve held several TA and tutoring positions to help further my experience in education. I’d like to be an elementary school teacher when I finish my MAT in elementary education at NC State. Some of the positions I’ve held include being a tutor at Tulane University, working as a summer school teacher at St. George’s Episcopal School and a dance teacher at Bre Dance studio.

What inspired you to pursue a teaching career?

My high school chemistry teacher, Ty Swiftney, inspired me! He was the best teacher I’ve had and has had an impact on so many students. I want to make a difference in the world and I learned from Mr. Swiftney that teaching is a way I can do that. I can help shape the next generation to be good world citizens and help build an inclusive and thriving world community.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

NC state not only offered an excellent MAT program but an excellent athletic program. It checked both my academic and athletic boxes and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to further my career at this university.

I am a full-time student-athlete at the university. I am running as a hurdler on the track team while I complete my degree.

What attracted you to the Master of Arts in Teaching program?

My dream is to be a highly qualified teacher. Not only will I be obtaining my license, but I will also be receiving my master’s degree. I believe the best teachers are highly qualified and I want to be the best for my future students.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to meeting new people in my program! I love collaboration and believe that “teamwork makes the dream work”. Thus, I’m excited to meet and work with my peers.

Why did you choose education?

I believe education is key to making the world a better place. I want to help shape the new generation into being well-educated world citizens and leaders, and make my contribution to making a more inclusive and thriving environment through teaching!


Shakinah SampsonShakinah Sampson

Maplewood, New Jersey
North Carolina A&T State University
Master of Arts in Teaching – Middle Grades Language Arts Education

Educational background?

An associate’s degree in liberal arts from Essex County Community College in Newark, New Jersey, and a bachelor’s degree in African American literature from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Professional background?

I just started working in education in 2019 as a 6th grade English Language Arts (ELA) special education teacher as well as an 8th grade history teacher at East Harlem Scholars Academy in East Harlem, New York. This year I will be starting as a 7th grade ELA teacher at Broadview Middle School in Burlington, North Carolina.

What inspired you to pursue a teaching career?

My love for stories and my college professor from A&T inspired me to pursue teaching as a career.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I chose the NC State College of Education because it was the closest to my professional development. I realized that I actually like to work with middle schoolers, so I wanted to go somewhere where the focus was in middle school language arts and I found NC State, which was perfect since I was making the move to North Carolina from New Jersey.

What attracted you to the Master of Arts in Teaching program?

It focused on middle school language arts, and I want to be better for my students and this program seems like it was the best fit for me.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this year?

Finding new innovative and engaging ways to teach students virtually.

Why did you choose education?

I wanted students who look like me to know that there are people out there that look like them who are educators and care about their education. I want to change the mind of a student who may change the world.