Hometown: New Milford, Connecticut
Major: Elementary Education and English
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Activities: WCSU Education Club, Education Honors program and Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, part-time jobs in the community, including at the Brookfield Board of Education Extended School Year program, Stop & Shop and local restaurants
Honors and Awards: Dean’s list every semester; cumulative 3.92 GPA, awarded 2016 John Eichrodt Prize for essay, “The Mode of Morality in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia;” selected as a presenter at the 2015 CSU Undergraduate English Conference for essay, “Transformations in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents: Body, Mind, and Soul”
Clarissa Burch started her education at Wagner College on Staten Island, New York, and after two semesters had a 3.95 GPA. "I decided to come to Western Connecticut State University when I realized I wanted a quality education at a lower cost," she says. "I also wanted to have the opportunity to observe and student teach in school districts in or around my hometown, as I wanted to eventually teach there."
Burch says she decided to major in Elementary Education because "I had imagined myself becoming a teacher throughout my life. When I was in elementary school, I created my own mock classroom and assigned my grandfather to be my first student. During high school, I was given the opportunity to intern in a first-grade classroom in my hometown and fell in love with teaching. As I entered college, I determined it was the profession for me as I not only had a passion for working with and helping children, but also a passion for learning in general. I selected Elementary Education instead of Secondary because of the belief that young children seem to have in limitless boundaries; I wanted to instill in them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to."
Burch says she has had many mentors at WCSU and found the professors to be supportive and helpful. "Many of my English professors were mentors to me — particularly Dr. Michael Chappell and Dr. Margaret Murray. Dr. Marsha Daria, one of my Education professors, has also been an important mentor to me through my time at WCSU."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Burch says, "My most memorable experiences at WCSU have actually been the classes themselves. I love learning and found my classes intellectually challenging. I also enjoyed being offered the opportunity to present at the CSU Undergraduate English Conference and at Open House, representing the Education Department."
Burch's advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Your WCSU experience is what you make it. WCSU has a lot to offer if you simply choose to pursue it, so do not hesitate to get involved in something. The experiences you have are certainly worth it."