Alum Profile: Nora Rugova (’13, ’14)

Profile by Jamie Soldinger (’20)

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Nora Rugova (’13, ’14)

Nora Rugova is a Pace University Alumni.  She earned her Master’s in Special Education from Pace in 2013.  Nora was also part of the Women’s Volleyball Team, where she set records for both Pace itself and the NE10 Conference.  Nora is in her 3rd season as Assistant Coach for the Pace University Women’s Volleyball Team.  She is also a Special Education teacher at Church Street School, which is a public elementary school and part of the White Plains City school district.

Why Pace? 

Academically, Nora explained,  “I liked the five-year program.” Nora was also on a volleyball scholarship to come to Pace. Pace became a perfect location for Nora, being close to home and also in the neighborhood she later wanted to teach in. It seemed like the perfect fit.

Nora explained that teaching was definitely her first choice of majors. Even though at times she started to second guess teaching, “In college, especially before student teaching started, I thought about changing my major to some sort of business, because all of my older friends were getting these super cool internships.” However, she knew teaching was for her once she began her student teaching.  Student teaching also became the most influential part of college for Nora:

“There’s so much you can learn in the classroom.”

Overcoming Obstacles    

When picking a major, students will always have outsiders trying to persuade them to switch their major. Nora explained, “At times it was very, very difficult. However, once I got into the classroom (for student teaching) and actually started working with students, I was so happy that I wasn’t even thinking about what others were saying.”  Nora said that her favorite part of being in the classroom where all of the “light bulb” moments, where “it becomes very easy to realize you’re in the right profession and you’re helping children grow.”

Mentors

Even though Nora was an Education Major, her concentration was in English.  Throughout her experience at Pace she had two wonderful professors, who she still keeps in contact with today.  These two professors are Dr. Maxam and Professor Walker.

“Being an educator is about molding minds and always being there.  These two individuals did and still do exactly that.”

Nora also said that these two taught with such “heart and passion” and that their teachings made you want to become a teacher to teach just like them.

Advice to Future Teachers

 As you go through your college career, teaching seems to be a lot of work, Nora explained.  “At times, it’s more work than you think you can handle but it is absolutely worth it.”  Nora stressed the fact to stick with teaching.  Many teachers do not realize that they “have the ability to turn a student’s day, week, even life around.”

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Alum Profile: Rebecca Italiano (’16)

Profile by Maria Snelling (’20)

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Becoming an Education Major at Pace

Rebecca Italiano (’16), former member of the Pace University Women’s Volleyball team, was not always encouraged to choose an Education major. Her aunts and family members who were already teachers discouraged her dream to teach because of the heavy workload and low salary. Her number one supporters were her parents who saw Rebecca as a good fit for teaching young children. Rebecca believed, “If Education really wasn’t right for me, there are still many opportunities that I could work with kids.”

Because Pace University offers many opportunities to work with children, one of the main reasons she chose Education at Pace was to be able to “impact kids directly.” In addition, Rebecca’s main reason why she chose Pace to pursue her degree in Education was the five-year combined program. Within the four years of Undergrad, Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree and is currently completing her fifth year to receive her Master’s degree in Special Education.

Time in an ICT Classroom

 Now, Rebecca is a teacher in an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) fifth grade classroom teaching both general education and special education children.

Teaching fifth graders with disabilities and speech and language impairment, Rebecca sees the benefits to her English courses at Pace. Although Rebecca does not have a concentration in English, she says that reading and writing are very important in the daily classroom.

Rebecca find her work inspiring: “Teaching in an underprivileged school, I can see immediately how I’m really changing these kids’ lives.” By noticing the way the children are speaking, Rebecca encourages them to speak with confidence: “I teach my kids everyday to believe in themselves. If they say ‘I can’t,’ then I make them resay everything they just said with no negativity.”

As one who balanced academics and collegiate athletics, Rebecca’s advice for Education majors is “stay ahead, always stay ahead.”