Student Profile: Clara Valentine

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Clara Valentine

In high school, Clara Valentine realized she wanted to work with people with disabilities.

She’s now well on her way to making that a reality: a junior in the Teaching All Learners program with a license addition in English as a New Language, Valentine said she hopes to help people achieve their goals and have the best quality of life.

“Education changes lives. It creates academic and social opportunities for students, inspires students to ask questions and find answers and positively impact their communities. I am humbled to work with special education students and the community as their teacher, friend and advocate,” Valentine said.

Teaching is a powerful career. You have the opportunity to change the lives of so many students with your commitment to this field.

Clara Valentine

During her time at IU, she has been involved in many service learning and research experiences beginning from her very first semester, having received direct admission in the School of Education. Valentine lived in the INSPIRE Living-Learning Center and through that, went on educational trips to St. Louis, Missouri, and Puerto Rico. She is also a member and secretary-elect of Kappa Delta Pi at IU, the international honor society for teachers. Valentine was drawn to undergraduate research early on in her time at IU. Through the Center of Excellence for Women and Technology, she was matched with Jennifer Piatt’s research team in the School of Public Health as a freshman, and this past year she served as the undergraduate lab manager working with four fellow undergraduates on projects. She also worked with Kelly Williams as an undergraduate research assistant, studying whether preservice teacher curriculum addresses culturally responsive teaching. Valentine is a member of the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research, an organization that promotes undergraduate research at IU and publishes research completed on campus. She’ll soon join the Student Council for Exceptional Children, a national organization that supports special education initiatives and advocacy.

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Valentine also works as a student office assistant in the School of Education with Clinical Experiences and applied to be the student representative on the Higher Education Commission, becoming one of the top 10 applicants for this position.

As Valentine looks ahead to her future as a teacher, she feels ready to ensure her students have an environment that they can be successful in.

“Teaching is a powerful career. You have the opportunity to change the lives of so many students with your commitment to this field,” she said. “It’s a challenging career, but it is very rewarding. If you are looking for a strong educational program that is tailored to your interests, I highly recommended the School of Education at Indiana University.”

After teaching in the classroom, Valentine would like to return to graduate school to obtain a doctorate in special education.

“My dream job is to become a college professor where I can teach future teachers how to teach while conducting research and advocating for students with disabilities,” she said.

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