Program Award Winner: Kittie Cooper

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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.

This year, faculty in Special Education have selected Kittie Cooper as their Outstanding Student in Special Education (Visual Impairment Certificate). Congratulations, Kittie!


Q & A with Outstanding Student in Special Education (Visual Impairment Certificate), Kittie Cooper:

What academic accomplishment are most proud of?  

Managing to finish a master’s degree while also having a full-time teaching job! 

What organizations/affiliations have you been involved with while at Mason?  

My program is through the Visual Impairment Consortium, and I’ve made some valuable connections through meeting and talking to other students and TVIs (Teachers of the Visually Impaired) in the consortium.    

What are your plans after graduation?  

I teach music at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, so I’m going to continue doing that but now with a master’s and a full teaching certificate! 

What is your favorite memory in CEHD or your favorite part of being a CEHD student?  

I took a summer course in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) on campus with Dr. Kim Avila last summer. We learned about how to support O&M instruction as TVIs and learned some O&M concepts and techniques. I’m mostly an online student, so it was wonderful to finally meet everyone in person and to get to know the GMU campus and Fairfax! 

What advice do you have for fellow CEHD students (especially those that are not graduating yet)?   

I got my start in special education because I signed up for a student group in undergrad called AMASE (Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education) on a whim. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things!  

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?  

I found it really wonderful to be in a program where I could connect the content I learned with real-life teaching. Many thanks to all the GMU professors and advisors for helping me do so, and for helping me achieve a balance between work and school so I could be successful.