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School of Education

In Focus: Arielle Panzarino

How did you decide you wanted to become certified in Family and Consumer Sciences?
I always knew that I wanted to be involved in the field of education, having worked with children and in after-school programs for years throughout high school.  Family and Consumer Sciences offers a wide range of topics that interest me as well as providing vital life skills to students.  Foods and Nutrition is one element of the Family and Consumer Sciences course offerings that I have a passion for.  I love cooking and teaching students how to cook in an educational setting, so I figured it would be a great way to apply my skills to the classroom.  I also recognize that Career and Technical Education (CTE) is the future of education. Its purpose is to provide learning experiences where students become aware of a broad spectrum of careers and develop skills that are applicable to personal and career roles that are necessary for employment in specific career areas or postsecondary study.  Family and Consumer Sciences courses are the gateway to the type of education students will need in order to obtain specific skills for college and career readiness.  And, of course, becoming certified in Family and Consumer Sciences education is a way for me to help all students achieve their goals.

What brought you to Hofstra for graduate studies and what stands out about your time here?
After finishing my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Queens College, I was looking for a graduate program that offered Family and Consumer Sciences Education, which proved to be difficult.  I found the program at Hofstra and it was unique because you don’t have to be a certified teacher already to be accepted into the program.  You just had to have a background in a subject related to Family and Consumer sciences (clothing and textiles, food and nutrition, business, family studies, consumer economics and public policy, health and wellness, culinary arts, food service, fashion design, elementary education, or child psychology).  The things that stand out about my time at Hofstra are the exceptional courses and the professors that teach them.  All of the professors I’ve had throughout my time at Hofstra have provided me with an excellent graduate education that is based on an individualized approach and a skillset that would be hard to find anywhere else.

Which class is your favorite so far?
My favorite class was CT 229- Development and Learning in Childhood and Adolescence with Professor Kaufman.  The course was really interesting to me in that it helped me get a deeper understanding of who the students in my classes would be as individuals with varying backgrounds.  Aside from the lesson planning and curriculum courses, this course was unique in that it prepared me for the different social implications I would face in my classroom.  Through the various readings we had such as Lerner’s “The Good Teen,” I understood that while the logistics of education are important, it’s also important to have a deeper understanding of who our students are and what they will need to thrive in the classroom.  The coursework helped me to ensure that my students would be successful throughout their school careers.

Tell us about your field placements/student teaching.
I was placed at Valley Stream North High School along with Vanessa Coppeto as my cooperating teacher, who also happens be a Hofstra alumna.  I was lucky in that my cooperating teacher was very supportive and provided me with all the materials and mentoring I would need throughout my student teaching experience.  I taught at the middle school and high school level, which aligned with two classes: Home and Career Skills, Food and Nutrition, and Child Development.  The students were very receptive towards me and looked at me as their teacher from day one.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  My cooperating teacher always allowed me the freedom to try the skills and strategies in the classroom that I had learned throughout my time at Hofstra.  She was always there to give me words of advice and encouragement and because of our mutual respect, I can say it was the most enjoyable student teaching experience I could have had.

Who do you consider your professional mentor(s)?
I would consider Marsha Iverson, the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program director, to be my professional mentor at Hofstra.  I have taken many of my classes in the program with Professor Iverson and worked with her one-on-one.  Her vast knowledge of the education system and how Family and Consumer Sciences impacts students in today’s schools has helped me throughout the program.  She has provided me with valuable feedback from observed lessons in the classroom as well as advice on how to have the most effective lesson plan.  Professor Iverson truly understands the meaning that FACS courses have our schools and the positive implications the classes have on a student’s growth, leading to college and career readiness.

What advice do you have for future teachers and those interested in FACS?
Family and Consumer Sciences encompasses some of the most important classes a student can take during their middle and high school careers.  These classes prepare students for college and career readiness while providing the necessary life skills they will use in their everyday lives.  If you are interested in FACS and love educating students, apply for the program at Hofstra and start changing lives!

Arielle Panzarino

M.S.Ed. in Family and Consumer Sciences, ‘13
Oceanside, NY