In Focus: Chris Balas '13
What brought you to Hofstra University for graduate studies?
After working closely with my late grandfather at Nassau Community College, I knew that teaching was my calling and the School of Education at Hofstra spoke for itself. Hofstra has some of the finest faculty around. Everyone was always very accessible and helpful, and the networking made with the faculty really made the difference! Also, the campus is quite beautiful, which certainly made studying around campus very pleasant. I also had the opportunity to work in Academic Records as a graduate assistant, which helped keep my loans low with tuition remission.
How would you describe your student teaching internship?
I was lucky enough to be selected for one of the paid student teaching internship positions in the Bellmore-Merrick School District, which extended my semester of student teaching to a year long opportunity. This gave me valuable experience that I used to network and refine my craft, leading to the teaching position that I have today.
Did you find mentors while you studied at Hofstra?
Yes. Dr. Bruce Torff was a particular inspiration to myself and many other students. My advisor, Dr. Gloria Wilson, was a tremendous support and is the main reason I have the position I hold today. Overall, I had a fantastic time at Hofstra. I made friends in the grad program that I will have for the rest of my life.
What are your long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to eventually go into education administration, to become superintendent, and to retire and eventually teaching in a university setting. Maybe even Hofstra!
What advice do you have for those seeking certification in special education?
Special education requires patience and flexibility. Make sure to prepare and think on your feet; this will help you out not only in your studies, but also in your career.