Emma First was one of fifteen graduates of teacher preparation programs in New Jersey who received the 2018 Distinguished Clinical Intern Award for her outstanding performance as a prospective teacher. Emma graduated as a Secondary Special Education and Spanish major. The College of Education and Human Services is proud to highlight some of Ms. First's contributions, characteristics, and accomplishments.
Emma's commitment to servant leadership allowed her to stand out from her peers at Seton Hall University. Assistant professor of Educational Studies professor, Dr. Bryan Meadows, pointed out that on top of all of Emma's rigorous coursework and field responsibilities, she went above and beyond to dedicate her time to serving others. She was an active weekly volunteer with Seton Hall's Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) to teach an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. Ms. First served as Kappa Delta Pi's International Honor Society President at Seton Hall, and volunteered her time leading professional workshops. Another Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures had first-hand experience observing Ms. First. Dr. Victoria Rivera-Cordero stated, "I think her future students will be very lucky to have such a committed, passionate and intelligent teacher."
Next year, Emma will be teaching English in Ecuador as a volunteer through the WorldTeach organization from September to July. Emma has volunteer experience in Ecuador, where she once served as an Interpreter for the Timmy Global Health organization, for English-speaking doctors, and Ecuadorian patients on a medical brigade for 1 week. In Ecuador, Emma plans to further improve her Spanish, and take the opportunity to volunteer on a longer term. Upon her return to the U.S., she intends to teach middle school or high school Spanish.
When asked where her passion for excellent teaching comes from, she stated that "the biggest motivation for me [are] the students. I want to be the best I possibly can be for them and give them the best educational experience possible." Emma was praised for her versatility in working with diverse students of different abilities, and learning styles. Her cooperating teacher, Christina Corlett (pictured), stated "Ms. First is constantly trying to figure out new ways to engage each type of student learner in the classroom, resulting in a wealth of interesting activities that keep the students' interest levels elevated."
Lastly, Emma thanks her Secondary Special Education program at Seton Hall for giving her a "supportive place to develop myself as a future teacher from my first day on campus." She commented that, "The most valuable part of talking with the faculty was that they never told me outright what I should do. Instead, they would help guide me through self-reflection and point me to resources to help me arrive at my own conclusions. This taught me how to think for myself in the real classroom, which I will always be grateful for. I especially want to thank Dr. Meadows, Dr. Katz, and Dr. Arocho for keeping their doors open and always taking the extra time to help me continue achieving my goals through writing recommendation letters, always making themselves available to talk, and for providing me leadership opportunities that have helped me see my potential." The College of Education and Human Services is proud to have Emma as an alumni as she continues on her career path of servant leadership.