Brianna Christian Harris is graduating from Mercer University‘s Tift College of Education with a STEM Master of Arts in Teaching.

What are you plans after graduation?

I have accepted a high school teaching position at Fulton County’s Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia, where I will be teaching science (primarily physics) for the 2020-21 school year. I will be moving to the Atlanta-area to be closer to my workplace.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

I have had the pleasure of having Dr. Melissa Jurkiewicz serve as my University supervisor during this year’s student teaching experience. On top of giving great advice and supporting my academic needs, she has challenged me to think critically in my placement and be intentional with my instructional decisions. She has also facilitated my enthusiasm for teaching and learning by sharing her personal and professional experiences. Moreover, Dr. Jurkiewicz has been amazing at providing emotional support. Since I began the master’s program in May 2019, she has encouraged me throughout, especially during my toughest times. I respect her and appreciate all she has done to support me in my journey to becoming a new teacher.

How do you plan on changing the world?

I plan to be an influential teacher who not only promotes her students’ intellectual growth but their holistic growth as well. I remember what I loved most about the favorite teachers I had in school, and I plan to emulate their best qualities as much as possible. In order for our world to change for the better, we need to first promote positive change in our teachers and in the education system as a whole.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

For anyone entering one of the Tift College of Education programs, I recommend reminding yourself every day of your love for teaching. Intentionally focus on as many positives as you can within your teaching experience because there will be many challenges. It is your goal to ensure that the positives outweigh the negatives, and this will keep you motivated throughout the process.

How did Mercer prepare you for your future?

Mercer’s STEM M.A.T. program is absolutely the greatest. I could not imagine being better prepared for my first year as a teacher. I have appreciated everything from the coursework to the student teaching experience to the academic and emotional support from the faculty. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to change careers to education. Upon the completion of my program, I know I will be able to enter my job at Centennial with confidence, incorporating all I’ve learned this year into my very own classroom.

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