Graduate, Early Intervention Studies Graduate Certificate
Gina Preston has always had a passion for working with children with special needs. She earned a B.A. in Child Development in 1990 and was looking for a way to get a more in-depth education in her chosen area. UTEP's Graduate Certificate in Early Intervention Studies program fit her needs perfectly. At the time she enrolled, Gina lived in San Antonio (she has since relocated to Dallas-Fort Worth), so the online format of the certificate was both necessary and convenient.
Gina graduated from the program in December 2019 and enrolled in the ITeach alternative certification in January 2020. She passed her Special Education state certification test in March 2020 and started applying for jobs immediately. She interviewed via Zoom for the position of a Special Education Teacher and the graduate certificate in Early (Intervention Studies was discussed at length during the interview. Gina was hired right away and believes the certificate gave her an advantage over other candidates.
Gina's interests include gardening, reading, Bible studies, and spending time with her family.
Why she enrolled in the program:
After staying home to raise my children, I had been out of college and the work force for many years. I wanted to learn and grow in this field. Going back to work after a gap in my resume, I knew I would need to be a very well-equipped applicant for future jobs and to stand out. I wanted to be up to date in the area of Early Intervention to serve the students I work with to best of my ability.
Her experience with online learning:
(This was my) first experience with online learning. It was absolutely incredible. I was very scared initially, especially at my age ;). I hoped to accomplish a higher degree of growing, learning, and understanding the many areas of Early Intervention.
On her support system:
YES absolutely! The professors were only an email, discussion board message, or phone call away! Each one was so very helpful and supportive. Numerous times during the program I reached out to them and always had a quick response.
What she would say to prospective online students:
This is a highly educational program in which you will learn and develop skills that will equip you to serve, reach, teach and make a difference in lives of the families and students you work with through Early Intervention. The academic, educational, professional, and personal support you will receive through this program is outstanding. You will not be disappointed in obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Early Intervention!
On whether she would enroll in this program again if she had to do things over:
YES! I am very proud to be a graduate of this program. I am now more confident in field of study and more prepared to be a better educator, a compassionate teacher, and an equipped professional! Thank you to UTEP's Early Intervention Graduate Studies Program!