As a young child, Christine Garas spent hours teaching to an imaginary classroom only she could see. Now the Buffalo State student is working in a real kindergarten classroom at Enterprise Charter School, introducing literacy concepts to her young charges. This classroom placement is part of the coursework in her dual major of elementary education and exceptional education.
“I’d always heard if you want to be a teacher, Buffalo State is the place to go,” said Garas, an Alden, New York, resident. “I’ve known many people who studied education at Buffalo State who are doing very well. It’s been a very good fit for me.”
She loves the School of Education’s option of dual certification in childhood education and exceptional education.
“When I realized I had this choice, I pursued it. I knew I’d have more options for getting a job, but more importantly, I’d have the chance to work with different types of students,” Garas said. “With my degree, I’ll be able to work anywhere—from a regular classroom to a self-contained one. Friends who are studying education at other schools don’t necessarily have that option.”
Garas also noted that the rich diversity of Buffalo State has opened new worlds to her.
“I grew up in a small town with very little diversity,” she said. “Coming to Buffalo State has really been a cultural experience for me. I’ve loved having interactions with all kinds of people that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet in high school.”
Although she’s only entering her junior year, Garas has assumed a key leadership role on campus as president of the Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC), an organizational advocate for students with special needs. The group currently has about 15 active members.
Garas receives the Steven A. Daniels, ’05, Scholarship, which was established by the Daniels family to honor the late student’s memory and commitment to community service.
She’s also involved with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs college students with individuals with developmental disabilities. The group meets several times a semester for social activities.
And this summer, Garas took part in another opportunity offered to education majors: spending three weeks in Chile with the International Professional Development Schools (IPDS).
She and a group of education majors worked directly with students and participated in an extensive Spanishimmersion
program. The IPDS offers other travel opportunities, including the Dominican Republic, China, England, Germany, Honduras, Italy, and Zambia.
“I think it was a very rewarding experience,” Garas said, “and it will help globalize me as an educator.”