Elon Master of Education graduates receive degrees

Jean Rattigan-Rohr, Elon's executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success, delivered the Commencement address. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Master of Education Ceremony – July 28, 2017

With advice to be the type of teacher who will “stop, look and listen,” Elon University conferred degrees Friday night to the most recent graduates of its Master of Education program.  

Ten graduate students received their degrees during the July 28 Commencement ceremony at Whitley Auditorium as they capped three years of academic work completed while they continued their work as teachers in the classroom. The program, which is completed primarily across three summers of intense instruction and coursework, helps teachers broaden their professional knowledge and skills and enhance the guidance they can provide students inside and outside the classroom. 

Jean Rattigan-Rohr,&nbsp;<span style=”font-size: 13.9997px;”>Elon's executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success, offered the Commencement address.&nbsp;</span>
​In her Commencement address, Jean Rattigan-Rohr, Elon’s executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success, offered insights into the role that a special teacher played in her upbringing and the experiences that eventually led her to a career in education. 

“I learned very early in life that a teacher who takes the time to really see and connect with a student can make all the difference in that student’s life,” Rattigan-Rohr told the new graduates, who were joined by dozens of friends and families at the ceremony. “But it requires that such a teacher is willing to stop, to look and to listen, and sometimes go in search of that student or maybe even to be relentless.”

Anne Bullock, dean of the School of Education, participates in the hooding ceremony for the new graduates.&nbsp;
​Rattigan-Rohr shared how as a young student in her native Jamaica, a teacher’s interest in her development, particularly in the area of speech and drama, was key to her academic success. The teacher, Mable Livingston, nourished her interest in speech and poetry in ways that carried through to her early professional life in television, and her passion for education. 

“My love of poetry and the stage began at the place I could not possibly see myself, with a teacher who saw a great deal in me when I was not in a place or space to see much in myself,” Rattigan-Rohr said. “Under Mrs. Livingston’s tutelage, I took first place in many speech and drama competitions, as a student was tapped to provide welcoming addresses to various foreign dignitaries to the island, and was invited to perform for the Prime Minister’s reception.”

Elon President Leo M. Lambert offering a charge to the new graduates.&nbsp;
​Rattigan-Rohr later used what Livingston had taught her to help teach and coach her daughter, Georjean, to national success in Shakespeare competitions. Later in life, she began her career in education after pursuing a degree in speech language pathology and audiology, and later a master’s degree in special education, after being moved to work with her son, Chris, as he battled dyslexia. 

“I can’t wait to hear the stories your meaningful interactions with children will spark as they tell their own stories about who they are, why they are, where they come from, and what was made possible in them because they were fortunate enough to encounter you as their teachers,” Rattigan-Rohr said. 

Alex Strelow, whose background is teaching high school chemistry and physics, said the program allowed her to grow as an educator. “One of the things I love about education is the constant need to improve and learn more,” Strelow said. “It’s been such a great opportunity to be immersed in a community of educators and learn from them. The professors have been so supportive.”

In his charge, President Leo M. Lambert reminded the new graduates that they are members of a noble profession responding to an honorable calling, and they have the power to help students build the foundation of a purposeful and meaningful life. 

2017 Graduates of the Master of Education Program

Yamil Amparo Ardila-Hoyos 
B.S., Tolima University

Noelia de Maria Barquero Thompson
B.S., Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica

April Hughes Brantley 
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Erica Gilley Castillo 
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Jeannette Lucille Delorge 
B.S., Bob Jones University

Brianna Lee Donabedian
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Terran Alisa Harris
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Hope Reneé Heverly
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Daila S. Patrick 
B.A., North Carolina State University

Alexandra Joy Strelow 
A.B., Elon University