Dominique Mitchell, 20, of Lusby is graduating with highest honors from CSM, with an associate degree in teaching. She is also a Presidential Scholar, an honors program available at the Prince Frederick Campus.
After leaving CSM, Mitchell plans to continue her education first through Towson University’s 2+2 Elementary Education program. “After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in elementary special education with minors in Spanish and autism studies, my next goal is to obtain my master’s while I am working in my field,” Mitchell said.
Personal circumstances help drive Mitchell’s goals. “I can’t wait to get into the field,” she said. “I have a passion for teaching, especially for those students that need more help than others. My brother has autism and is the main reason why I wanted to specialize in my degree. Students like himself need advocates in the school system, and I would love to be that for my own students.”
CSM has provided both the environment and training that Mitchell wanted as she works toward teaching certification. Mitchell said that she welcomed the opportunity provided by CSM to continue to live at home and save money while attending college. She also appreciates the CSM faculty, especially Dr. Stephanie McCaslin, Mitchell said.
“Although she is tough, she has such high expectations for her students and she truly wants us to be the most successful teachers we can possibly be,” Mitchell said. “She taught me new ways to think about and teach math to students, while enhancing the ideas behind the Common Core Standards. Since I want to become an elementary special education teacher, this class has taught me the most about how to modify my lesson plans, and how to extend them to the most gifted learners. I find her method of teaching so hands-on, personal, and creative. …
She (Dr. Stephanie McCaslin) definitely made my experience at CSM very challenging and made me feel that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. She is such an inspirational person.”
Being selected as a Presidential Scholar was also an asset to Mitchell’s educational journey. The honor helped financially. The Presidential Scholars Program paid 25 percent of her tuition each semester her first year and 50 percent in her second year. She was also the recipient of the Alpha Beta Chapter of DKG- Frances Lancaster Grant.
In addition, the Presidential Scholar program enhanced Mitchell’s college experience “My favorite part of being a Presidential Scholar is that I feel appreciated for all the hard work that I have put in my education. It makes coming to CSM worthwhile and doesn’t make me feel that I missed out on going to a four-year with academic scholarships,” she said. “Also, the Presidential Scholar’s program contains a very diverse range of degree pathways, which made discussions very interesting after our monthly meetings. … I think the program advocates students like myself and my fellow scholars to continue pursuing our degrees in a timely manner, while upholding our GPA.”