Brittnie Vargas

Master of Arts in Teaching

Education: BS in Political Science, Whittier College
Location: Pico Rivera, CA
Occupation: Eighth grade teacher at KIPP LA Schools

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 24 years old from Pico Rivera, California. I graduated from Whittier College in 2015 with a BA in Political Science and History. During my senior year of college, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic, auto-immune inflammation illness, which contributed to my ultimate decision in choosing an online program. I began earning my Master of Arts in Teaching from USC Rossier Online in 2016, with a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Sciences. This fall, I will be teaching eighth grade at KIPP LA Sol, a charter school in East Los Angeles.

What initially attracted you to the MAT program? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?

I was initially attracted to the MAT program because I loved that USC focused on urban schools and minority students. As a minority student from an urban school, I wanted to teach and give back to a community that has given me so much.

Why did you choose USC Rossier School of Education?

I chose USC Rossier School of Education because of its prestigious status. I also look up to many USC Rossier alumni; the program must be doing something right if all their alumni are amazing educators.

Why did you choose an online program?

I chose the online program due to my arthritis flare-ups, doctor appointments and infusion therapy, all of which made going to class hard. The online program worked with my schedule and allowed me to go to class during infusion therapy.

What do you love most about teaching?

I love building relationships with my students and relating to their everyday lives. I love creating culturally relevant lessons that allow my students to make connections with the content and their daily lives. It is the best feeling to see students make realizations about the content, their learning and even themselves.

What is your most memorable moment while in the program and why?

During my fieldwork, I utilized a group investigation lesson plan, a pedagogy I had never used before and was unsure of. Prior to the lesson, I was worried that I was relying too much on student input. However, throughout the lesson, I saw the students really take control of their learning. The group investigation was something my students and I enjoyed and learned a lot from.

What surprised you the most about the online learning environment?

I was surprised at how personable the online learning environment was. Prior to the program, I was worried that I would not be able to make important relationships with my peers or professors. However, I feel as though I made life-long relationships with my peers and professors. One of my peers even recommended me for the teaching position that I will begin in the fall.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Have a game plan! Although you’ll have an amazing support system, including other students and an academic advisor, your dreams won’t work unless you do. The program is rigorous, fast-paced and thought-provoking, which will make you a reflective, detail-oriented and amazing educator.

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