Student & Alumni Spotlights

Special Education

Olivia Morris

What led you to the University of Arizona to study mild to moderate disabilities in the College of Education?

I have wanted to be a special ed teacher since third grade and was very interested in the University of Arizona’s Mild to Moderate program because of how much practicum experience students get. I came for a campus tour my junior year of high school and met with Dr. Toni Sparks. Hearing her talk about the program immediately made me visualize myself at the U of A and after that, I couldn't see myself going to college anywhere else.

Tell us about something you're involved with and how it's impacted your life.

I am president of Best Buddies inclusion club, a leader for college Young Life, help run a bible study and work part time as a tutor for the athletic department as well as was the philanthropy chair for Delta Gamma. All of the activities I've been involved with on campus and within the College of Education have greatly benefited my ability to time manage, my personable skills, and my ability to work with a team. Overall, they have all positively impacted my teaching ability and will help me impact the lives of others to a greater degree, which is my main goal in life.

What are your post-graduation plans as of now?

I plan on spending one more summer working at a camp for individuals with disabilities and diagnosed differences before I begin teaching. After that, my hope is to teach high school special ed in either a life skills classroom or a transition program. I have a fantastic teaching opportunity in Scottsdale, so there is a high chance I will end up there!

We love to hear success stories about our alumni! Alumnus William During ’89 studied with the late Professor Candace Bos in 1980 as a graduate student in learning disabilities. After earning a master’s degree, he branched into bilingual special education, working with Professor Emeritus Arminda Fuentevilla, and earned a second master’s degree in educational administration. For more than 30 years, he has worked with ethnic language minority students and is an ESL teacher with Bridgeport Public Schools Adult Education in Connecticut. He writes, “I owe a considerable amount of my success to my work at the University of Arizona. Thank you, and keep up the good work.”