Program Testimonials / Endorsements

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SARA PERALTA / SPRING 2021

Dr. Young,

I wanted to thank you for everything.

I must say, the two classes that I completed Spring 2021 have had the biggest impact on me as a teacher!  They were more beneficial than any courses that I’ve ever taken.  As a professor, you have pushed all of us to become better educators, and I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know.

Before I began this program, I was a very factual thinker that had a mental block when it came to reflective thinking.  I still need work in that area, but I have come so far with reflective thinking due to my course work, interaction with classmates, and participation in online class assignments and activities.  This ability has changed the way that I teach.

The Human Diversity in Learning Environments and Brain-Based Teaching and Learning courses that I just completed with you as professor this semester have changed my way of thinking about a lot of things in the world.  You’ve opened my eyes to issues that were oblivious to me.  I also discovered a lot about myself as a person. I am so happy that I made the leap and began the online Educational Specialist CC/LP program last year.

Your format for our online courses is very organized and detailed with the perfect amount of challenges.  You are quick to respond to emails and grade assignments.  I am fortunate to have had the guidance and critiques from you as the knowledge gained will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Sarah Peralta
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU
ESL Teacher
Rutherford County School System, TN

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ZENA MOHSEN / SPRING 2020

As an Iraqi refugee who fled Iraq in hopes of finding a better life and educational opportunities, this Ed.S. online degree with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process has been everything I was looking for!

After completed my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in English as a Second Language from MTSU, I knew that it wasn’t the end of my learning journey. As I was exploring the various graduate programs at MTSU and other universities, I couldn’t help but read more about the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process.

I’m currently enrolled in this degree and it has been a fascinating learning experience so far. I find myself learning many new things on daily basis and being able to apply my learning in my ESL classroom. Learning about other cultures, meeting students’ needs, brain-based teaching strategies, and many other topics have been eye opening experiences.

As a refugee who came to this country 11 years ago, every class that I have taken so far has given me the ability to reflect on my own personal, educational, and teaching experiences. I find myself reflecting with passion to many of the issues we discuss in our weekly discussion boards along with our assigned assignments. I find myself learning more about who I am as an individual who lives in the American culture. I’m constantly finding myself growing professionally and personally as I do the required readings and the other requirements.

My journey isn’t finished yet; however, the program has definitely exceeded my expectations so far. I have shared my experiences with the other ESL teachers that I work with in our district and encourage them to consider this degree option in their educational future.

As a working mother, wife, and teacher I didn’t want to pursue a degree that I wasn’t interested in. I also was looking for an online program that I would be able to do since I’m a full-time teacher. As an individual, I usually struggle to reflect and to learn with passion if the topic isn’t within my interest. I’m thankful for making the decision to enroll in this program, and it has been my passion outside of work hours.

The classes have all been so interactive and I have been able to connect with the other classmates and find myself relating to their shared experiences and knowledge. All of the classes have focused on newly-emerging research and topics that are of high interest with classroom applicability.

As an English as a Second Language teacher, I think of my English learners’ needs the entire time. I work with students who have various ethnic backgrounds and meeting their needs is a challenging task. The classes have been a resource for me. I have been able to apply my learning within my own classroom, and I’m happy to say that a lot of the strategies that I have implemented have helped my students grow academically.

Leadership is what makes an online program a success. I was hesitant at first to pursue this online degree because I wasn’t sure what type of support I would be getting from the professors. Dr. Young has been a supportive professor and supervisor since day one.  Her expectations are very clear and precise and she is always available. She never let us feel it’s an online class because she constantly communicates with us via discussions and emails. Her academic feedback is really helpful and it has given me the opportunity to grow academically as a writer and a reflector.

I’m so appreciative of her and the other professors that I have taken classes with because they have made this learning journey a joyful one. I can’t wait to see what the remaining classes have in store for me!

Zena Mohsen
Graduate Student /  Ed.S. / MTSU
ESL Teacher
Murfreesboro City Schools, Murfreesboro, TN

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JULIE LEWIS / SPRING 2019

I am currently pursuing and an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and enjoying the academic journey. I chose MTSU’s online Ed.S. Degree program after exploring various other degree programs at various colleges because I knew it would help me grow as an instructional librarian. This degree met all of my requirements:  a completely online program, a focus on emerging research regarding cognition and brain-based learning strategies, and an ability to be applicable to my current role which includes instruction – not held necessarily in a K12 classroom.

My experience in this program has exceeded all of my expectations. The classes are interactive and engaging, with well-chosen texts and rigorous assignments that are applicable to anyone who teaches or works in education or many other settings. The courses focus on diversity issues and newly-emerging research findings in cognitive science and educational psychology.  I happy to say I have readily been able to apply course content to my teaching situations and interactions with my students.

As a result of my studies, I have improved a professional development session I conduct by integrating newly-learned cognitive concepts into my presentation. I love learning new ideas, but learning how to apply these ideas effectively is even more important! During every course, I find myself applying newly-acquired theories and concepts into my lesson planning and everyday instruction. The reflection activities in each class also help me grow as an instructor and as a person.

One of the most impressive aspects of the program is the readily-available support from professors. Dr. Young and my other professors communicate clearly and concisely in a prompt manner, responding to questions and course emails quickly and regularly engaging with us on interactive electronic discussion boards. Assignment feedback is extensive and elicits further thinking and reflection.  I have appreciated such helpful and encouraging graduate school professors as it has made my online learning experience even better than I imagined.

Julie Lewis
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU
Librarian
Walters State Community College, TN

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ANN JONES / FALL 2018

For years I had been considering going back to school and  had been searching for a program which allowed me to pursue an advanced degree but also combined  my passions and fit my schedule. When I found the Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction with the Specialization in Culture, Cognition and the Learning Process,  I knew I had finally found the program I was seeking.

As a music therapist with a background in neurologic music therapy working full time in the special education department of a  highly diverse school system, this program has guided me as I dug deeper into the neurologic and cultural factors that impact the learning process and the students I serve.  The understanding  that I have gained also provides additional insight for me as I work on a contract basis with a major publisher on their preschool curriculum.  The education I am receiving is preparing me for potential new avenues in the future while also guiding me to cutting edge research to use in my daily work.

While the program has been very challenging to complete as a busy, middle aged working adult, I have found that Dr. Young and my classmates have been very supportive. Although it is an online program,  I have developed friendships with some wonderful people and gained great insight while participating in online discussions due to the diverse backgrounds, experiences and age groups represented.

The classes have challenged me to dive deeper as online discussions and questions from Dr. Young and my classmates  have brought new points to light. Not only are we provided with historical and theoretical background, but also, we are challenged to apply our new knowledge to situations in our daily work.  This unique concentration has provided rigor, but also flexibility to meet my personal interests and needs.

Ann Jones
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU
Music Therapist-Board Certified
Nashville, TN

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JENNIFER TEDDER / SUMMER 2018

The Education Specialist  Degree Program at MTSU with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and understanding while being able to continue in my professional role in education as a School Social Worker and College Access Advisor. The population of students in our schools is becoming increasingly diverse, and I found that the course work in this specific graduate program opened my eyes to the challenges that our students face and gave me the practical tools to walk alongside my students and empower them to overcome challenges and reach their goals. This program also inspired me to take a deep look inside myself and the educational system around me to evaluate cultural bias in order to be a change agent in creating a space where all children can succeed. I also came away with a deeper understanding of the brain and how to create an optimal learning environment for my students to flourish.

I felt that the online format was not only perfect for fitting into my busy schedule of a working mother, but also afforded me the opportunity to make my learning relevant. The topics we were studying applied directly to my practice with students, and I was able to implement my learning immediately. Also, Dr. Young’s curriculum design for online class format was surprisingly interactive. I felt that I really got to know my classmates and Dr. Young through online discussion and frequent and specific feedback.

The course work was challenging and required a high level of self-determination and organization, but the insights and practical skills I gained were so worth the late nights working on course work after the kids went to bed! I have already recommended this program to many colleagues and feel confident that the experiences I’ve had in this program will serve to make me a more effective educator.

Jennifer Tedder
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU
College  and Career Access Advisor
The Howard School
Chattanooga, TN

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TABETHA SULLENS / SPRING 2018

As a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University currently enrolled in the Educational Specialist Online Degree Program, Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process, I was able to study culture and cognition in a variety of classes which have propelled my desire to research education trends. In particular, my research has evolved to focus on the impact of social media and technology on bullying.

Although the work has been challenging, my desire for knowledge inspires me nightly to continue my studies and research further into entering a doctoral program. The experiences within the EdS online classes at MTSU provided me with a solid foundation and opportunity to enhance my understanding of higher education, not only in an elementary, middle and high school administrator setting, but also in a collegial one.

This program has been especially beneficial with my work as headmaster in an extremely diverse boarding school environment. The diversity classes allowed me to develop a new empathy and deeper relationships with my students. Furthermore, Dr. Young created a program that allowed me to improve in my daily work.

She has been extremely diligent and timely in all her correspondence within the classes and as an academic advisor. I gained a tremendous amount of information from the program. I found various courses’ content and supplemental readings beneficial with regard not only to theory but also to application in my daily practice as an administrator and teacher.

Tabetha Sullens
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU
Middle School Headmaster / Instructor
The Webb School
Bell Buckle, TN 37020
Common Sense Certified Educator: Digital Citizenship

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RITA JANE JONES / FALL 2017

Teachers today walk into classrooms that parallel the demographic and cultural changes found in the world at large. In today’s educational mirror, each moment in our day is filled with reflections of new theories and norms much different from our younger surroundings.  Our classrooms are filled with a bright array of languages and expectations from many cultures. This Educational Specialist Degree with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process has given me a perfect view from the past to our future. For me, this Ed.S. degree celebrates each human being where she/he is, combining teaching methods with social and cognitive applications of how we learn. I found each course truly inspiring. I especially appreciated the Brain-Based Learning, Multicultural Education, and Human Learning curriculum emphasis of the Culture, Cognition, and Learning Process Specialization. Each of Dr. Young’s classes helped me to see with fresh eyes. The program’s in-depth class offerings have given me tools to further my research toward equality and individual inclusion. I believe this program to be a lens, showing me many mindful opportunities to share and learn from my life’s journeys.

Rita Jane Jones
Graduate Student / Ed.S. / MTSU

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