Carlson bonds through guidance

Breanna Rampersaud

Jennifer Carlson’s love for learning has given her many opportunities to travel across the world. She first studied abroad in Mexico, and after college joined the Peace Corps, a volunteer program that provides social and economic development.
“I was given these great opportunities to advance my knowledge and become more immersed in different cultures,” said Carlson.
As a child, Carlson grew up wanting to be a teacher. Living in the Chicago area, she saw many Mexican immigrants populating the city. She decided that in order to relate more with students, she would have to become bi-lingual.
“I wanted to learn to speak Spanish to be able to better communicate with bi-lingual students,” said Carlson.
She went on to attend the University of Wisconsin to study Elementary Education and pursued her masters for School Counseling at Seton Hall University. She was then granted the opportunity to go to Oaxaca, Mexico for her Spanish minor.
“During the five weeks in Mexico, I was completely immersed in the culture and it was just an amazing experience,” said Carlson.
After college, she wanted to study Bilingual Education and applied to be part of the Peace Corps. She assumed that she would just be sent to South America, but later was sent to Southern Africa.
When she returned, Carlson began her career in teaching. She taught at a public high school in New York City and later a middle school in Maplewood, New Jersey. She loved working in smaller schools because she had a chance to get to know all of the students and have a bond with them. After teaching for 20 years, she then decided she needed a change in her career path.
“I have always loved being a teacher, but I wanted to do something different outside the classroom, where I can still work with students but work with them in a different way,” said Carlson.
She soon figured out that what she really loved about teaching is the connection she had with her students. Carlson is comfortable enough to talk about the social and emotional issues they tend to struggle with.
“I wanted to help my students with the personal problems they brought into the classroom and whatever issue was holding them back from succeeding,” said Carlson.
Her desire to help students succeed in their time of need eventually led her to become a guidance counselor. She looks forward to working closely with all students, but wants to especially help seniors with college applications here at UACHS. Carlson hopes to continue building bonds with students and make as much of an impact as she can this year.

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