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Philadelphia Urban Seminar
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Veronica Joyce

Veronica Joyce

Paterno Fellow
Major: Sociology, Labor and Employment Relations
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Stroudsburg

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about the Philadelphia Urban Seminar through an email sent out by the director of the program, Dr. Jeanine Staples.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

A group of pre-practice teachers and some other students with different majors - like myself - traveled to Philadelphia to observe inner-city schools. I was placed in a first grade classroom in a K-8 school. I aided in the classroom with discipline and lessons. The nature of the seminar was to get us, the students, to think critically about race/racism, gender/sexism, and ability/disability in the context of our schools and society as a whole. We went to school for the school day and then we had a big group class with a few other Universities involved in the program. Finally, we would meet with our specific Penn State classes to discuss our experiences. On the weekends, we performed multiple community service activities for organizations around Philadelphia. We were also exposed to the culture of the city through museums and evening trips to various tourist attractions around Philly.

"I want to work to reform the school system of inner-city schools and the laws that affect the poor and homeless in America."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience helped me to be more open-minded. While this may not be something that directly affects my academics, it has helped me as a person. I will take the lessons that I learned in this class and use them in all my classes. It helped me learn to write from a new perspective and think more critically about the things in my everyday life. This will help me to be a better student overall. I am now more comfortable working in small groups and sharing intimate talks with a whole group of people. I am more confident in my ideas and will be more willing to participate in my classes in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan to get a master's in Sociology along with a law degree. I do not want to open my own practice/firm. I want to be able to advocate for the people who need it most. I want to work to reform the school system of inner-city schools and the laws that affect the poor and homeless in America. I would like to work with policy and also within the schools and communities that need it the most.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. Absolutely. Even if you are not planning to major in education, this class is an amazing experience. You get to meet wonderful kids and see the ways that different schools are run. It is a great way to show people who live comfortably that not everyone lives the same way.

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