Get to Know the Scholarship Awardees (Part 4): Cindy Carrillo
Cindy graduated from Linked Learning Silver certified Educational Careers Academy at Fresno Unified School District’s McLane High School. She recently finished hands-on training as a classroom assistant at Fresno Unified’s Teacher Academy and intends to study liberal studies and psychology at Fresno State University in the fall.
Linked Learning Alliance: Reading through your application, it looks like you’re involved in a lot of things!
Cindy Carrillo: Actually yeah! In freshman year, my [student] councilor came up to me one day and said: “Hey Cindy, you should try out student council. I think you’d be great for it!” I tried it out and I loved it. I loved getting to do events and getting to work other people. It was a really great experience that made me want to try new things.
So you just went out and tried everything?
I tried basketball, soccer, flag football. I kind of did volleyball but I didn’t really like it. And then my sophomore year, my other councilor – because I moved schools – told me about this pathway. I actually got to take my first college class at Fresno City [College] and I absolutely loved the class. I I learned all about small kids and their development. It really piqued my interest [in education].
In your essay you said that you originally wanted to become a psychologist. Where did that come from?
When I was in middle school, before I looked into teaching, I wanted to be a school counselor. A lot of my friends needed someone to talk to and I ended up being that person. Seeing how they felt and being that person they can open up to made me think I could be someone who could help others.
How did you first get exposed to something in education?
In my sophomore year, I did this internship where I got to work 60 hours at an elementary school. Basically I got to help out after school in a class. I tutored some kids. At one point I even brought some of my own learning games to share with them. It was a great experience and it helped me get that classroom experience.
You mentioned that you switched schools. So you didn’t go to McLane for all of high school?
When my family moved to Fresno, I went to a school called ACEL (Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership School). It closed down halfway through the second semester [of sophomore year], so I followed everybody to a school called Carter G. Woodson.
Now that you have wrapped up high school, looking back, do you think being part of a pathway helped you in any way?
Well, when I was a freshmen I didn’t really know what I was doing. I did do well in school but I didn’t know what was going on half the time. Having that pathway [experience] gave me guidance.
With your previous experience taking childhood development courses and interning at an elementary school, did you choose to join McLane’s Educational Careers Academy on purpose?
Originally, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I just want to look for new opportunities. But when I found out [McLane] has a pathway, I decided to stay.
Was there was an experience that stood out to you during your time at McLane?
I’d have to say probably Teacher Academy. I got to do this Saturday program. Once a month, a group of high school students from all over the district would come together to create lesson plans [in small groups].
And this was for a competition?
At first I didn’t know it was for a competition. But when we found out we’re really excited. And we got to deliver it to an actual class of third graders.
After going through all that, what did you think?
I originally thought it wasn’t [going to be] that hard. But being there and actually making the lesson from scratch, I had to figure out how to put [my thoughts] not [just] on paper but into action. I know what I need to teach but how do I do it? And because we were recorded, we were able to see what we did well and what we could work on. The teachers were really helpful. They taught us how to teach and how to present ourselves in front of the students.
Your application says that you teach piano and violin on the side. Have you always enjoyed teaching?
Oh yes of course! I first started with my nieces. My niece wanted to take violin class, so I got to teach her the basics. I taught her how to read music. It was great!
Are you still teaching on the side?
Occasionally. If someone needs help learning an instrument or how to read music I would offer to help.
In the fall, you’re going to Fresno State to study liberal studies and psychology. What are you hoping to get out of it?
I’m kind of seeing what happens. I have an idea of what I want to go into. I’m thinking about going into teaching leadership — or maybe science because that’s one of my favorite subjects. I’m just trying to get a feel of the different types of classrooms.
Right now, I’m actually teaching a going-into-sixth-grade [English Language Development] class during the summer and we’re teaching them science. Getting to work these kids, I’m seeing that I really do love science. So I’m considering becoming a science teacher.
Oh so you’re doing more teaching this summer?
Yes. I got hired over the summer as a temporary care professional. So I’m working five days a week 8:30am to 12:30pm.
How do you like it so far?
It’s great! I love the students and the staff. We’re currently teaching them about ecosystems. I remember back when I was that age that was one of my favourite things that we did.
Well, Cindy thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Good luck at Fresno State!
It was nice talking with you guys. Thank you!