Student Spotlights

Adriana Rivera

Adriana Rivera

Adriana Rivera

Sophomore, Secondary Education

"I love the Teacher Education program, and I think people are missing out if they don’t take advantage of it."

Adriana’s parents set high standards for their children and their students: Challenge yourself, be open to new experiences, and do your best in every endeavor. They lead by example at home and in their classrooms. Her mom teaches biology at East Chicago Central High School, and her father leads the Automotive Department at Ivy Tech in East Chicago. Adriana followed her parents’ advice and excelled in school.

She was often told that because she was so smart, she should become a doctor or a lawyer. During her sophomore year in high school, one of her classmates was murdered. The event shook Adriana and caused her to ponder her purpose in life. John W. Holt, Jr. said, “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”

She knew there were a lot of kids in her neighborhood who were caught up in the wrong lifestyle. She believed education was a powerful tool that could save someone’s life. It was then that her purpose became clear – she would become a teacher. Through education she could help steer kids toward a better path. 

She first visited IU Bloomington during her sophomore year as a member of the Science Olympiad team. Her team got a great introduction to Indiana University as they stayed at the Indiana Memorial Union hotel, presented their projects in the science buildings, and attended the awards ceremony at the IU Auditorium. It was an awesome experience. She has fond memories of walking across the IU Auditorium stage to accept a 4th place individual award as a sophomore, and a 2nd place individual award as a senior.

Two days before the application deadline, her high school counselor told her about the Wells Scholarship and suggested she apply. “The Wells scholarship, created in honor of the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university.” It provides full tuition, student fees, and a living stipend for four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus. She was invited to come to campus for the Wells Interview weekend. She almost declined because she was scheduled to compete in a Science Olympiad tournament.  Her coach advised her to attend the interviews, and see how things went. She made it through the grueling interview process, and a week later became 1 of 20 Wells Scholars in the class of 2016. She is majoring in Secondary English Education with a minor in Counseling and a minor in Education Policy.

I love the Teacher Education program, and I think people are missing out if they don't take advantage of it. 

One of Adriana’s favorite IU experiences was listening to a Latino comedian at CultureFest. The event is a Welcome Week tradition that offers students the opportunity to experience and celebrate diversity. The comedian had also spoken at her high school during her freshman year. “He was so inspirational. The experience showed me how my life had come full circle, and it set me at ease that I was following the right path.”

She just started her second year as an RA at Teter and loves it. Her role as an RA is very relevant to being a teacher. She especially values the opportunity to connect to people, many of whom come from different backgrounds and experiences than her own. In her view, the campus offers students the opportunity to do something great – no matter which field interests them. “Everyone is hungry to learn something, and there is a wealth of resources. It is the perfect place to learn.”

So what is it like as a student in the School of Education? She describes the classes as challenging and completely relevant. “The faculty are totally engaged in what is going on in the field, and they know what they are talking about. They talk about the challenges in the field of teaching, and they inspire us to continue because we can help make the changes that are needed.”

When asked what advice she would give to students considering the School of Education, she replied, “You should feel comfortable to not know things and trust that you will be supported. Ask questions! Reflect on the choices you are making and the person you are becoming.” Great advice for anyone pursuing a college education, but especially for future teachers!

After graduation she plans to work in an urban school setting. Her career goals include graduate education in Education Leadership to become a school principal, and later, superintendent. She wants to go to schools that are struggling and turn them around. “Maybe someday they will make an HGTV show about me. I flip schools instead of houses.”

We look forward to hearing much more about Adriana’s impact in the lives of students for many years to come.