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Meet this week’s #UCFCCIEKnight, Madelena Lawida, a student in our school psychology program.
After graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology from Binghamton University, Maddi was introduced to the field of school psychology. It was a perfect fit for her since it blends her passions for education and psychology, so she moved to Florida all the way from Buffalo, New York.
"School psychology is a combination of all the things I love. I was familiar with UCF, and when I learned about the school psychology program here, I was even more intrigued. I visited the campus before applying, and every single person who I spoke to at UCF was nothing but friendly and helpful. Knowing that I would be surrounded by these types of people in a great program on a beautiful campus made it easy to decide to attend here.”
Maddi is also a program assistant at UCF’s PedsAcademy, a program that facilitates meaningful and engaging activities across all school subject areas for patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Giving the children a sense of normalcy during their hospital stays and seeing their smiles while learning is so heartwarming. I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply to become an intern. You won’t regret it!”
Maddi’s main goal after completing her education specialist degree is simple: “To advocate for children and to help them succeed not only in school but in life. With the many challenges children face today, I want to be a positive force in their world.”
When she is not completing assignments for school, Maddi loves to travel. Last summer, she visited nine states and 12 national parks. “It was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. The U.S. truly has beautiful places that you could never even imagine. Now, I have the travel bug.”
Angel Sanchez ’17 was a formerly incarcerated youth who served 12 years in prison. He earned his GED, a paralegal certificate through a correspondence course, and passed two college-level examination program tests in American History. Upon his release, he moved to Orlando and attended Valencia College before transferring to UCF.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts – summa cum laude – in political science and legal studies, earned the coveted Order of the Pegasus award, participated as a legislative scholar, and served as the president of UCF’s Moot Court team.
Last week, he was sworn into the Washington, D.C. Bar in the same courthouse where he was convicted in 1999. “Some of us are called to do the impossible. I never thought this day would come,” says Sanchez, who discovered his love for the law after reading a 1978 case of a former inmate who became a lawyer. “That’s the power of having role models.” Sanchez adds that he hopes others will now be inspired by his story.
Angel Sanchez spent 12 years behind bars for his crimes as a member of a Miami street gang. He spent the next 11 years making up for lost time studying law, until he was admitted to the Washington, DC bar. He was sworn in on Friday in the same courthouse where he was convicted in 1999. (Leer en Espa...
#UCFCCIE alumna Maria Vazquez ’95MEd ’10EdD will become the first Hispanic superintendent of Orange County Public Schools.
The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Vazquez says her parents made significant sacrifices for their family and always emphasized the importance of education. “I hope that other children who have stories similar to my own see that if they set a goal and work hard, they will be able to succeed. I am a living, breathing example of the power education has to transform lives.”
It was a day of networking and collaboration for our future educators. 📚
Knights from our School of Teacher Education got to listen to nationally acclaimed book authors and engage in hands-on workshops with faculty, community experts and district leaders to discuss all things education.