May 2016 Special Education Graduate Spotlights


May 2016 Special Education Graduate Spotlights

05 May 2016    

Ashley Horner  |  Lincoln, Neb.  |  Elementary Education & Special Education


Did you know this is what you wanted to study when you came to UNL?
"I knew I wanted to go into elementary education, but when I showed up for my New Student Enrollment day as a freshman, I was talking into adding special education onto my degree as well."

What made you change your mind?
"I had always enjoyed working with students who were part of the special education program through my other educational experiences. I also knew that completing the dual-degree program would help make me more marketable as a future employee."

What was your favorite class in the program and why?
"I've had so many classes that have been my favorites, starting with John Maag's Behavior Management class, which was my first real experience in the special education program. His enthusiasm and knowledge about the field made the class interesting and beneficial for my professional growth. Additionally, I have always loved Sue Kemp's classes. She has been mainly in charge of my special education practicum and student teaching experiences, and I believe she has helped lead me toward success. You can tell that she genuinely wants to help everyone in her class become the most successful teachers they can be."

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders?
"The most rewarding aspect for my professional growth has been building skills to add to my 'teaching toolbox' that I wouldn't have gotten had I not added the special education major. I feel much more prepared and knowledgeable for the teaching field than I know I would have if I had gone the other route."

What's next for you?
"I have accepted a third-grade teaching position at Meadow Lane Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., for the 2016-17 school year! While I am going to be a general education teacher, I know that the skills I've gained through the special education program at UNL have prepared me for being a teacher in an inclusive classroom."


Jess Wieseler  |  Omaha, Neb.  |  Master of Arts in Special Education

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders, UNL

What made you choose UNL's program?
"During my undergrad experience I was able to observe and learn about the higher education offered at UNL. I admire the staff and programs that UNL has, and was ecstatic when I received my acceptance letter into my MA program."

Who or what in the UNL Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders has had the most positive impact on you?
"My advisers, Sue Kemp and Malinda Eccarius, had a positive impact on me throughout my journey in my master's program here. They were there to help figure out my schedule, as well as calm me down during stressful parts of my education. Much more than just advisers, I would consider them friends!"

What has been the most rewarding aspect of studying in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders?
"I studied abroad in the summer of 2015 to Monteverde, Costa Rica. We not only learned about special education from the perspective of another country, but also learned about sustainable energy and a more humble lifestyle that I absolutely fell in love with. Hands down the best decision I have made in my collegiate career."

What's next for you?
"I'm moving back to Omaha with the intention of moving abroad to teach. Costa Rica is on my mind!"



Special Education and Communication Disorders