Learning through experience: UWG student receives scholarship to support a unique opportunity

The University of West Georgia’s College of Education (COE) aims to equip students with the necessary skills needed to enter the education field post-graduation. One crucial way these skills are achieved is through field experience.

Junior Ashley Biel has taken advantage of a unique opportunity to gain field experience with her position at White Oak Elementary, where she works full time as a paraprofessional while she is pursuing her degree in elementary education.

“I have been given an invaluable opportunity to go ahead and work in the classroom setting,” Biel said. “This experience is really preparing me for my career.”

COE at UWG is one of the only colleges in the state that makes the dual experience possible and flexible for students.

Because of her involvement with this program, Biel was uniquely positioned to receive the Irene Magill Scholarship administered by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). This scholarship is intended for paraprofessionals in the state of Georgia who are seeking to obtain certification.

University of West Georgia junior Ashley Biel has taken advantage of a unique opportunity to gain field experience with her position at White Oak Elementary, where she works full time as a paraprofessional while she is pursuing her degree in elementary education.

Dr. Irene Magill was a prominent figure in education in Georgia as she worked her way up through the education field and eventually served as president of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders. Biel has been inspired by Magill and hopes to follow in her footsteps.

“My goal is to eventually work in administration and follow in the legacy of Dr. Magill,” Biel said.

Biel’s involvement at UWG positioned her to be a recipient of this scholarship. She learned about the opportunity from COE’s Dr. Susan Mullins.

“I have been extremely fortunate to be a mentor to Ashley,” Mullins said. “She embodies a particularly strong work ethic and excellence in her academic course.”

Biel expressed that Mullins has made a significant impact on her.

“She was influential in my decision to come to UWG,” Biel revealed. “She mentored me in high school as well as in college, and she told me about the opportunity of working as a paraprofessional while pursuing my degree.”

By attending UWG, Biel has been exposed to hands-on training that she otherwise wouldn’t have known was possible.

“UWG has opened doors and opportunities that I didn’t know could be open,” she concluded.

by Allie Smith