Melissa Russo Education Student

Meet Melissa Russo

Education, 2018


"I graduated GMercyU on May 12 and was hired by Wissahickon School District on May 15!"

I always wanted to be a teacher since first grade. I was definitely the teacher's pet, always helping the teacher in any way possible. I remember when we had to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up in our yearbook and I was the only student that put down a "regular" job. Everyone else said they wanted to be a professional athlete or like a football player but I always wanted to be a teacher - from day one. 

I chose GMercyU because of the education program. The TAP program is something that I never saw before in any school I visited or researched. I thought it was a great opportunity to be in the classroom starting your freshman year. 

During my time in GMercyU’s Education program, I was always with my professors and advisors. I first met Dr. Schadler when I went to Field Hockey Prospect Day. I wasn't even enrolled yet and had no idea she would one day be my advisor, yet she sat with me to answer all my questions. We built a relationship right away. Ms. Pierantozzi continuously helped me prepare lesson plans and prepare for teaching positions. She actually helped me prepare for an interview with Wissahickon School District—where I was hired. GMercyU’s Education Department is a very close community. We, as students, knew the professors were there to support us no matter what. 

I've kept myself really busy during my time at GMercyU. I played on the field hockey team all four years, I was President of the Special Education Club and a member of GMAECY. I was also on the Dean Student Advisory Board for the School of Business and Education. Some would say I was crazy for taking a lot on, but I would not change it for the world. At times, it was difficult to keep my schedule straight, especially during the fall when I was in season. Although it was hard at times, it is also what got me through college. I was able to have a group of friends going into my freshman year that I knew would become than teammates as the years went on.

Being a student-athlete is definitely something that I was honored to be a part of. It has taught me so many life-lessons in such a short amount of time that I will cherish. I highly recommend students to consider being a student-athlete, especially at the Division III level because you have the ability to be a part of so much, and experience amazing moments. 

The Special Education Club and GMAECY work collaboratively together. We worked on a lot of professional developments such as a Teacher Panel where teachers who have graduated from GMercyU come back and share their experiences. We also set up different professional developments to help prepare future teachers. For example, the Lesson Plan Training and IEP Training. The biggest event the Special Education Club hosts is the Alex Valeno 5K Walk/Run. That event takes all year to prepare for and the money we raise gets donated to different organizations within the area related to special persons. Both of these clubs have impacted my college experience because it not only helped grow my leadership skills, but it shaped me as a well-rounded student. I made a lot of connections and built a lot of friendships/relationships with both students and staff that I will have long-term. Although it is a lot of work and preparation, everything was worth it in the end. 

As I have mentioned before, I was a very involved student on campus and it did not stop during my student teaching either. I continued to be a part of all activates and taught full-time at two different North Penn Elementary Schools. I loved both of my experiences and could not wait to start preparing for interviews to hopefully land a job doing what I love. 

And I did just that! 

I graduated GMercyU on May 12 and was hired by Wissahickon School District on May 15! I had the chance to interview right after my Commencement thanks to the professionals I have built relationships with over my years at GMercyU. Being involved definitely benefitted me because my dream of becoming an elementary school teacher is now a reality. I am so thankful to have been a part of a great community for the past four years and I look forward to continuing my relationships as an alum of Gwynedd Mercy University.