Aspiring Educators LLC nearly triples in membership

Courtesy of Campus Living

As of Fall 2023, Lewis & Clark has a new Living Learning Community (LLC) called Aspiring Educators, run out of Copeland Hall. The goal of this LLC is to connect students interested in going into education with real-life experience through a partnership with the LC Graduate School’s Teacher Education program.

LLCs are programs launched within specific dorms, where students of similar interests can live together and cultivate shared interests. Aspiring Educators is the ninth LLC on campus. 

“Our mission is to cultivate high quality opportunities for co-curricular learning in the residence halls,” the Campus Living website states.

The main facet of the LLC is getting hands-on experience in the classroom, as the College of Arts and Sciences does not offer an education major for undergraduate students.

The Aspiring Educators website lists the opportunities for personal, academic and occupational development.

“Gain hands-on classroom experience in K-12 schools or other educational settings, visit local school districts, learn about different areas of the teaching profession, connect with others at LC interested in exploring careers in education, attend exclusive events and activities to support your growth as a future educator, and engage in networking opportunities with the Teacher Education faculty, staff, and students on the graduate campus,” the website states.

Grace Billings ’24 is the Resident Advisor (RA) for the LLC. She says they currently have 16 members: eight in-house, meaning they live in the Copeland dorm, and eight out-of-house members, meaning they live elsewhere. 

“Starting an entirely new community has its challenges, but we have almost tripled our membership since the beginning of the school year!’” she said in a November article from the LC Newsroom titled, “Aspiring Educators Connect in New Living-Learning Community.”

Because the LLC is connected to the Teacher Pathway Program within the graduate school, students can earn a bachelor’s and a master’s at the same time. 

“The new LLC connects to the institution’s Teacher Pathways Program, established more than a decade ago, which helps students earn a B.A. and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in five years,” the Newsroom article said.

Secondary Social Studies Content Coordinator and Instructor, Carissa Zall, helped develop the new LLC, and, according to the Newsroom article, thinks this program helps students gain insight into the teaching profession.

“(Zall) says that building connections at the undergraduate level will help make the transition to graduate school and teaching much smoother and more meaningful,” the Newsroom article stated.

Billings has expressed much excitement at the creation of the new LLC.

“Having a space this year where individuals who have a passion for supporting the next generation can get together and talk about education or life in general, has really just  been such a fun experience and I cannot wait to see where the LLC goes,” she said.

Billings intends to become a teacher and decided to join the LLC as an RA in order to help her on her journey. 

“I was an RA last year, and when I heard that they would be launching a new Aspiring Educators LLC, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. After I graduate, I plan on attending Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School for Education and Counseling where I plan to earn my Masters in Education and become a Kindergarten teacher. Because I already love all things education, I was super passionate about joining and starting to build this LLC from the ground up,” she said. 

In order to spread the word about the new LLC, all those involved are working hard to attract students and grow membership. 

“The Aspiring Educators LLC will be sponsoring activities throughout the academic year, including movie nights, educational events, special guest speakers, group talks, and hands on experience in K-12 schools,” said the newsroom article.

 In addition, Billings encourages students to apply as out-of-house members for the LLC.

“If you are interested in joining the Aspiring Educators LLC, you can register to be an Out-of-House member on the Campus Living webpage,” said Billings. “All are welcome to events, so feel free to swing by!”

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