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The 2023 Commencement at the School of Education

Meet the graduating class of 2023!

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Commencement 2023

Celebrating Graduation

As our students walk down the aisle and collect their diplomas, becoming alumni, we take time to pause and celebrate the hard work that went into their accomplishments. Many overcame adversity, all weathered the changes inherent in COVID-19, and the School of Educaiton is proud of them all. Below is only a small fraction of the many stories of our now-alumni. Let's celebrate them!

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Amanda Muniz, BA in Secondary Education

American University School of Education 2023 Graduate Amanda MunizMuniz was honored with a prestigious Distinguished Teacher Candidate award from the Maryland Association of Teacher Educators (MATE).  

The MATE award lauds a student teacher from each four-year college, university, and community college in Maryland and the District of Columbia that prepares teachers in the fields of early childhood, elementary, secondary, or special education. Read more about Amanda's achievement here.

Darice Moore Long, MEd in Education Policy and Leadership
Long and son Tiayé Wooten both graduated from American University this spring. “It’s been great encouraging each other [as we] go through the journey,” says Wooten, who held three internships during his time at SIS, including with the US Government Accountability Office and the Department of the Treasury. “It definitely feels like we’re in this together.” Read more about their story here.

Gary DeShun Hamilton, EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Hamilton, a first-generation college student, was the student speaker at the commencement ceremony for the School of Education and School of Communication on Friday, May 12. His speech “The Bold Promise of Tomorrow,” aimed to inspire educators, offering a clarion call for them to support antiracist pedagogy and defy imposter syndrome, fulfilling their collective promise to students: through education, the achievement of great things is possible. His own trajectory is a testimony to said promise. Read more about Hamilton and his speech here.

Mariam Ouelhore Toure Diedhiou, MA in International Training and Education 

Mariam Toure '23 MA ITEPToure completed her coursework while holding down a job that supported her, her husband, and her family living in Burkina Faso.  

"The biggest challenge I have overcome during my graduate studies these past two and a half years is financial hardship. As the sole provider for my husband and myself and supporting my family back home, financial responsibilities have affected my ability to keep up with my tuition. Moreover, my status as a full-time student and professional on a specific VISA did not allow me to earn additional funds to support my studies. I owe it to SOE for overcoming this.  

"I was granted a merit scholarship when I started my program. I couldn't have otherwise been able to afford my degree. I thought the merit award would be enough to cover the remaining tuition and fees out of pocket, but life got in the way, and I had more financial responsibilities. SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy helped me access funds for struggling students that kept me in school. With SOE’s financial support, I could focus on my studies, and I would not have completed my degree in a critically timely manner without the help."

Graduate Placed in New Positions

Morgan Price graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education. Throughout her studies at SOE, she worked full-time at Laurel Hill Elementary School in Lorton, Virginia, as an instructional assistant in addition to copmleting her student teaching. Starting the fall of 2023, she will be a fourth-grade teacher there!

AElla Thompson '23 speaks at the podium.ward Winners are Among Our Graduates

A Top Senior Student-Athlete Award went to SOE Secondary Education graduate Ella Thompson (right) from swimming and diving. Rachael Potter, an Elementary Education graduate, was awarded the School Award, along with Thompson, for her athletics in cross country and track.

Undergraduates Continue Their Graduate Studies at SOE

Four SOE undergrdautes who earned their bachelor's degrees this spring have chosen to continue their studies by enrolling in graduate school at the School of Education. Ryleigh Marcus (Early Childhood Education major), Rachael Potter (Early Childhood Education), Ashleigh Roberts (Special Education), Abigail Sherer (Special Education), and Abigail Jackson (Education Policy and Leadership) have enrolled in graduate courses at American University's School of Education. Welcome back, double eagles!