Caitlin Morrell ‘12, M.A. ‘16
Adolescent Special Education With an Annotation in Severe and Multiple Disabilities
"I first decided to attend SJC for my undergraduate degree back in 2008. I've always known that I wanted a future career in teaching, and St. Joseph's University was the obvious choice. The faculty has been open and inviting, the curriculum has been rigorous yet manageable, and I'm finding real-world application for everything I've done at school. I couldn't have asked for more from my undergraduate and graduate experiences.
"After graduation, I plan on continuing to teach high school students — I currently teach 9th and 10th grade English, but I hope to broaden my scope to include inclusion and self-contained special education classes.
"Students won't remember every single thing you've ever taught them, but they'll remember how you made them feel. If you show them that you care about them, you're making a difference."
"I currently volunteer at the Exchange Ambulance of the Islips. I drive the ambulance to and from calls, and I'm currently working towards my EMT certification.
"I teach English, and as far as I can remember I was always a voracious reader. I loved to escape into a good story, and always wanted to talk about the things I was reading. When I was younger, I would start book clubs with my stuffed animals and lead the discussions every week. From there, I upgraded to a small chalkboard and realized that was what I wanted to do forever. My special education passions came later, when I realized how many children struggled in mainstream classrooms and needed a little extra push to find their strengths and talents.
"I've learned so much about becoming a team player, working towards a common goal, and becoming an all around better person. St. Joseph's has shaped me into a better version of myself."
"St. Joseph's University has taught me a lot about community building, paying it forward, and simply put, life. I've learned so much about becoming a team player, working towards a common goal, and becoming an all around better person. St. Joseph's has shaped me into a better version of myself. Students won't remember every single thing you've ever taught them, but they'll remember how you made them feel. If you show them that you care about them, you're making a difference.
Favorite book? Quote?
"If I had to pick just one favorite book, it would be Trevanian's The Summer of Katya, but Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises is a close second.
"Bob Dylan once said that a 'man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.' I always thought that was a great way to live — just be yourself, do what you love, and don't worry about whether you fit someone else's criteria for success. Do what makes you happy, and you can't go wrong.
Who is your favorite SJC professor?
"It is so hard to chose just one professor that's my 'favorite', because every professor has shaped and inspired me. If there's one professor I quote most often though, it would have to be Professor Ricciardi from the English department. In my own classroom, I am constantly referencing texts from his ENG 402 and ENG 404 classes. When I taught Christian allegory in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, I couldn't help but think, 'Ricciardi would be so proud.'"
What is the best advice you've ever received?
"The best advice someone has ever given me, is that it's okay to say 'no' sometimes, and it's okay to put yourself first. I don't know the secret to making everyone happy, but sacrificing yourself while trying will only make you miserable."
What do you like to do in your spare time?
"In my spare time, I like to find new ways to exercise and stay active. I have a long commute to work every day, and a lot of my time is spent planning, teaching and grading. My favorite way to end the day is with my aerial hammock class — it's like yoga meets the circus, it's amazing."