Each year, faculty in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) come together to select an outstanding student in their program to receive the honor of being named as their program award winner. Students selected for this award embody the very best of their program: they excel in their studies; they demonstrate leadership in classes and internships; and they have a genuine and tenacious passion for their discipline.
The College of Education and Human Development faculty in Early Childhood Education have chosen
Kelsey Tilson Padarath
2021 Outstanding Student in Early Childhood Education – Special Education
Q & A with Outstanding Student in Early Childhood Education – Special Education, Kelsey Tilson Padarath:
What part of your Mason experience are you most proud of?
As a full-time teacher, wife, and mom of two (with #3 on the way), I am proud to be the first member of my family to complete a graduate degree. There were challenges along the way, but I was able to accomplish my goals!
What are your future plans, goals, and dreams?
After graduation I will continue to teach Preschool Special Education with Fairfax County Public Schools. I am looking forward to using my newly acquired knowledge in the classroom and continuing to grow as an educator while in the field.
What is your favorite memory from your time in the College of Education and Human Development?
Though our cohort ended up being entirely virtual, I have loved getting to know other educators within FCPS through our virtual synchronous classes. Each member brings such a unique perspective and I have learned a great deal from them. I have also been able to establish some wonderful and lasting friendships with a few cohort members.
What advice do you have for fellow CEHD students?
At times, it may feel overwhelming and exhausting but you are made for this! Find friends you can confide in and work through challenges with, it makes all the difference. Work hard and stay on top of your assignments. Also, ask for help if you need it. The CEHD professors are wonderful and so understanding. They want you to succeed and are there to help you do just that. You got this!
Would you like to give any shout-outs to those who supported you along the way?
I would like to give a very special shout-out to my husband, Russel, as he has supported me in so many ways! He always reminded me how important my work was and pushed me to do my best. He also spent many hours alone with our children while I attended classes or work on coursework. My parents, siblings, and friends have also kept me going with their words of encouragement and support. THANK YOU!
I also appreciate the endless work that Dr. Stone and Dr. Sopko have put in to make the cohort a success. They have supported us through so much this year and were always there to answer my many questions 🙂
AND last but not least, to all the CEHD professors, thank you! I have truly enjoyed every course and have adjusted my teaching philosophy to reflect what I have learned about Early Childhood Special Education throughout these classes.