Hometown: New Fairfield, Connecticut
Major: History, Secondary Education
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in History
Internships: 20 hours of observation/student teaching time at Broadview Middle School, 15 hours of observation time at ACES Alternative HS (both in Danbury)
Activities: On-campus: Education Club, Clio; Off-campus: Executive Director of the Walkabout Education Foundation (walkabout.org), a nonprofit whose mission is to open an alternative school.
Honors and Awards: Dean's list, 3.97 GPA, graduating summa cum laude, Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society, Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society for students with disabilities, History Honors Society Award, Harvard Graduate School of Education: Leadership in Education Scholarship recipient
Ben Wild began his pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree at SUNY New Paltz in 1996. "Midway through my degree, I started a graphic design business," he says. "The business took off quickly, which required me to suspend my studies. I spent the next 15 years growing my business into a 25-person creative firm."
In June 2013, he left his business and enrolled at WCSU to complete his degree. "I decided to come to Western because it was convenient as I was transitioning out of my business. However, once I arrived, I was amazed at how wonderful and supportive the faculty is. I received an excellent education at WestConn."
Wild says he decided to major in history because his goal is to become certified as a high school history teacher. His experiences with Western's Department of History faculty left a favorable impression. "A few members of the History Department were mentors," he says. "Dr. Marcy May was especially helpful in making me a better student and writer. She helped me understand (for the first time) that my learning differences did not limit my potential for academic achievement. It was on her suggestion that I visited, applied and was accepted to the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. May was (and still is) a generous, wise mentor to me."
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Wild says, "When I got into Harvard, the first person I told was Dr. May. Without her, I would not have considered it an option. Now, I'm very confident that it is the best graduate school for me."
After graduation, Wild will relocate to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education, pursuing a Master's Degree and teaching certification in Secondary Education, History. "At the same time, I am working on opening an alternative school to help support students (like me) who don’t do well in traditional school settings. This is the work of the organization I founded, the Walkabout Education Foundation (walkabout.org)."
Wild’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Don't suffer in silence! Take advantage of the excellent resources available to you at Western, specifically: your professors’ office hours and AccessAbility Services. Every professor I studied with showed a genuine interest in my success, but I had to first show them that I was invested in my success. I got the best grades I've ever gotten in my life because I worked hard and took their advice. If you have learning challenges, talk to AccessAbility Services! They are wonderful, kind, helpful and wise. They helped me develop strategies to be successful and also helped my professors understand my challenges. They are great advocates.”