Senior Patricia RussoSenior education major Patricia Russo comes to UD from Cleveland, Ohio. Her family is related to the legendary Tom Braniff, who was her grandfather’s uncle. It is because of this connection that Patricia’s mother decided to come to UD and in turn that Patricia herself ended up here.

However, despite the family connection, initially Patricia did not want to attend UD because so many people in her family had already done so. Patricia says that she “explored other small Catholic schools around the country but when I visited UD I realized that none of the other schools had study abroad programs that compared to UD’s Rome program.”

Having grown up in a family of teachers, Patricia says she “always felt at ease in a classroom” and therefore knew she wanted to pursue a career in education. The professor who has influenced her most at UD is Dr. Melissa Caraway. Patricia describes Dr. Caraway as “the teacher that I aspire to be. She’s funny in the classroom and knows what she’s doing. She has good ideas that work and are based on her own experiences in the classroom.”

Last semester, Patricia completed her semester of student teaching at a local elementary school. She describes the experience as having unforeseen challenges but being very rewarding overall. “I’ve always known what teaching entailed however before student teaching I’d only ever planned a lesson here and there or observed in a classroom. Going in and experiencing the entire spectrum of teaching was so much different than I expected. There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes.” Patricia said one of the most surprising aspects was the time commitment. She reveals that it “gave her a greater appreciation for her own mother and other teachers who lead a full life outside the classroom.”

Patricia looks forward to life after graduation where she can put all she has learned into practice in the classroom.