The first Passport to Success activity elementary education major Cooper Midgen ‘21 ever took part in was a visit to Bugg Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, where he watched students engage in an engineering design challenge during their morning meeting.
The experience stuck with Midgen, and now, as he prepares to graduate in May, he’s already thinking about how he can bring similar lessons to his own classroom. That’s what Passport to Success is about — pushing students to expand their horizons so they can amplify the impact they will have when they enter the classroom.
The wide range of experiences Passport to Success scholars complete was on full display during the program’s culminating celebration Wednesday afternoon, when eight undergraduate students who completed the program gave presentations showcasing their work.
Each Passport to Success scholar must engage in activities that fall into four separate categories — global knowledge, cross-cultural skills, community engagement and professional development. Some of the students were able to complete the global knowledge and cross-cultural skills activities by studying abroad prior to the pandemic.
Mathematics education major Shannon Carney ‘21 traveled to the Dominican Republic for an alternative service spring break, where she helped build a rainwater collection system. Elementary education major Becca Churchill ‘21 completed a teaching service trip in Bogota, Colombia, where she was inspired by the way she was welcomed by the community.
“It made our trip so much more meaningful,” Churchill said. “I want to make sure I create that kind of hospitality in my classroom.”
Mathematics education major Jessica Terrones ‘21 sharpened her cross-cultural skills close to home by serving as an ambassador for NC State University Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA). In addition to serving as the NC State University Latinx Heritage Month committee chair, she also learned about the power of creating a welcoming environment.
“Being in a safe space like MSA helped me realize what it takes and the type of tone and manner you should communicate with students,” Terrones said.
Passport to Success scholars also have a wide range of options available to them for completing their community engagement and professional development requirements.
Shea Maize, a foreign languages and literature major who plans to teach Spanish, completed one of her community engagement activities by taking part in an alternative service spring break in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
“Whenever you hear of poverty or lower socioeconomic areas you think of other places, but this experience kind of solidified how local it can be,” Maize said.
Elementary education major Kensley Ledford ‘22 fulfilled both her community engagement and professional development requirements through her work with SAY Village, which connects NC State students with underserved K-12 students for after-school mentoring.
“As somebody that always wanted to work with students, I was amazed by the intricacy of youth advocacy and how much you can do for kids,” Ledford said.