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CEHD celebrates graduates in education and human development

On May 23, the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) celebrated 381 degree candidates in the fields of education and human development at its 2024 Convocation ceremony at UD’s Field House. The ceremony recognized the participants of the Career and Life Studies Certificate program as well as the associate in arts, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates in CEHD’s School of Education and Department of Human Development and Family Sciences.

The Class of 2024 also included graduates from three signature CEHD programs: the Career and Life Studies Certificate program, which offers individuals with intellectual disabilities academic, career and independent-living instruction, the Teachers of Tomorrow program, which introduces underrepresented high school students to the field of education through a two-week summer institute and the Teacher Residency program, which places UD teacher candidates in high-need Delaware schools for an immersive, year-long teaching experience.

The Career and Life Studies Certificate graduates pose for a photo before CEHD’s Convocation ceremony.

Celebrating CEHD graduates 

The Field House buzzed with excitement as graduating students, their families and CEHD faculty and staff gathered to celebrate. Kristin Mills, a student graduating with her degree in early childhood education, opened the ceremony with the singing of the National Anthem. 

In his remarks, Dean Gary T. Henry celebrated the achievements of the graduating class, sharing anecdotes about student research activities, field experiences and participation in UD service programs. Henry also shared the importance that one college professor could have on a student’s life, emphasizing that the graduates could always return to UD for future camaraderie, professional learning and other support. 

“Continuing to learn and grow is my most sincere wish for all of our graduates,” Henry said. “I also hope that UD will be part of that learning and growing, whether it is through another academic degree program to further your professional aspirations or through a professional learning experience with our School Success Center, Center for Disabilities Studies or Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.”

Henry also introduced the ceremony’s keynote speaker, Delaware Senator Chris Coons. In his remarks, Coons inspired the audience with personal stories about his own commitment to education and his gratitude for the 2024 graduates, the future “leaders” in education and human development. 

“Real leadership and real change doesn’t come from the top,” Coons said. “It happens face to face, on the ground, in places like preschools or adult literacy programs. Real change occurs through your work and your service…”

Graduates process to the stage to be recognized during CEHD’s Convocation ceremony.

CEHD’s graduates share their excitement 

Before and after the ceremony, many of CEHD’s graduates shared proud moments or plans for next year in conversation with each other, their families and CEHD faculty and staff. 

Rebecca Weinstein, who graduated with her degree in human services, was proud to share her UD journey. She and many of her classmates began their college careers online at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’m most proud of going from fully virtual classes freshman year to transitioning to in person and then completing a 350-hour internship in a school, which was awesome,” Weinstein said. “I was at Aspira Academy, which is right here in Newark. I was working with school counselors.” 

Kiara Hall, who graduated with a degree in elementary teacher education, shared how her experience in CEHD’s Teacher Residency program shaped her personally and professionally. Next year, she will teach in Appoquinimink School District, where she completed her yearlong residency. 

“I loved the residency program,” Hall said. “I was able to really immerse myself into being a teacher, having the day-to-day responsibilities and really getting to see life as a teacher. So, for me, [the residency program] was helpful to solidify that this is what I want to do and I’m certain in it.”

Several students were also excited to share the impact they’ve already had on their communities. Madison Kamer, who graduated with a degree in elementary teacher education, was proud to share how she made a meaningful difference in a child’s individualized education plan (IEP). 

“During student teaching, I changed one of my student’s IEPs to better suit him and he has been flourishing ever since then, so I’m really proud of that,” said Kamer. 

And, Sarah Schmidt, a current teacher graduating with her master’s degree in teaching English as a second language (TESL), shared how her UD training helps her advocate for her multilingual learners (students who use two or more languages). 

“I’m most proud of my growth as an educator,” Schmidt said. “I really didn’t know that much about this population of students and their needs and now I can really advocate for my students properly and change the system to better serve them.” 

Graduates of CEHD’s Human Services program pose for a photo with Becky Wilson, program coordinator.

Sarah Schmidt (center) celebrates her graduation with Nigel Caplan (right), professor and program coordinator of the master’s in TESL program, and fellow classmates.

Article by Jessica Henderson. Photos by College of Education and Human Development.