Each year Teachers College (TC) honors a few of our outstanding alumni with awards that celebrate the impact that they have on their community, field, and the TC family.
Jessica Evans – Teachers College Outstanding Alumni Award Winner
Jessica Evans is a recipient of a Teachers College Outstanding Alumni Award. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in Special Education- Severe and Profound Interventions (K-12) and Mild Interventions (K-6). She is currently an Applied Skills Teacher working at Chesterton High School in Indiana, teaching students in grades 9-12 with moderate disabilities. She handles over 24 students in her classroom with unique IEPs while also managing students with complex medical conditions.
What made you want to earn a degree in education?
I have always had a passion for helping others. I joined an education vocational program when I was a junior in high school and absolutely fell in love with it. I was placed in a special education classroom at an elementary school and bonded so easily with those students. I requested to stay placed in special education classrooms for the remainder of those 2 years, and quickly knew that is what I wanted to continue to do after high school.
What made you choose Ball State?
One of my most influential teachers was my first and second grade teacher, Mrs. Lute. We stayed in close contact throughout my school years and adulthood. She had earned her teaching degree from Ball State. I knew if I wanted to be even half the teacher she was, Ball State would be the place to go.
Do you have a favorite part of your time at Ball State? What do you look back on and remember fondly?
All of the hands-on practicum placements and student teaching were undoubtedly the most interesting and rewarding classes I had the opportunity to take. On a more personal level, my favorite part of my time at Ball State is all of the people and friends I met along the way. Some of my closest friends today are the ones I met at Ball State. We continue to stay in contact as our families grow.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your time at Ball State? Any fun projects you worked on? Favorite class/professor/experience?
I had many professors throughout my college career, but one that really stands out to me was Dr. Pufpaff. I learned a lot of valuable lessons in her class.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out at Ball State.
To take in the entire experience. It goes by so quickly. Some of your most memorable moments will happen during your college years. Stay in contact with those that you meet.
Can you tell us a little about your career so far?
I actually started my first teaching job for the teacher I had my high school education vocational placements in! She happened to be transitioning to a different position, which opened up the opportunity for me. It was really neat starting my teaching career exactly where I started in high school. After spending four years at that school, I transitioned to teaching life skills/applied skills at the high school level. I also run the community vocational program for my students with special needs and oversee our peer tutoring program. I am very involved with different activities at my school, including coordinating an annual charity event, creating scholarships for peer tutor students, organizing honorary captain opportunities, to helping with prom and our school food drive.
What is your favorite part of working in education?
The connections I get to make with students and their families. Since I teach grades 9-12+, I have the same students for a long period of time, some even seven years! This allows an opportunity to really connect and create great relationships, which is something I fondly remember about my 1st/2nd grade teacher. Getting to see the growth and progress the students make over the years is also so rewarding.
Do you have any hobbies, or favorite things you do to relax that you would like to share with us?
I absolutely love doing anything outside, especially in the summertime. I love to go fishing, hiking and camping with my family. I love to travel and explore new places whenever possible. I also really enjoy watching my two kids participate in soccer and baseball.
Fun fact about yourself:
I married my high school sweetheart! We started dating our junior year of high school and got married a month after we graduated college. He also went to Ball State for architecture.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
After graduating from Ball State, my husband and I returned to our home town to raise our two children. We have an 11-year old daughter, Riley and an 8-year old son, Kaden. We also have two furbabies, Sunny & Ruby who are also a big part of our family. As far as my career goals, I would love to continue in my current teaching placement and help grow understanding and acceptance for people with disabilities within our community. I will continue to organize events and programs that help put “people first” and bring awareness to those with various disabilities. I had two students of mine (both peer tutors) who recently graduated high school last year and are both attending Ball State to become special education teachers! I will definitely be at their commencement in the future, cheering them on as they earn their diplomas!