Noelle and the Dual Degree Teaching Prep Program

By NK Medani, Senior Accounting Major and Public Relations Minor

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, I interviewed Noelle Haskell, a USF senior in the Dual Degree Teaching Prep program and learned more about her experiences in the program and her plans for after graduation.


(Noelle Haskell, student in the Dual Degree Teaching Prep program)

She chose to enroll in the Dual Degree Teaching Preparation program because it provided an accelerated, rigorous education leading to a bachelor’s and master’s degree, as well as a preliminary California teaching credential. As part of this unique “four plus one” model, students complete graduate-level courses as undergraduates and work in the field alongside mentor teachers throughout the program. She prefers this to studying two to three additional years after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.


The most prevalent skills she has learned while in the program have been social awareness and patience. It is a very overwhelming environment to learn in with practices and theories. She says being more socially aware through interpersonal communication has helped her combat daily social inequalities and educate kids and others about these ideals. Additionally, a teacher in a class of kindergarteners needs to be able to take a step back, gather patience, and analyze the situation to best meet the needs of the environment and the students in that space.


She talked about the experiences she has had so far in college involving teaching. Undergraduate students are required to have 90 hours of field work for kindergarten to second grade and third to fifth grade. Students are not in charge of the full classroom; they act as teacher’s assistants. She had a class last semester for kindergarten and currently volunteers there. She also currently teaches a fifth grade class twice a week at Rooftop Alternative school. In fieldwork, students teach at one private school and one public school to complete the 90-hour requirement. Students get a one-on-one experience with the kids and learn about them beyond the classroom.  The student’s graduate year consists of two semesters of student teaching. The first semester includes nine hours per week in the classroom leading additional lessons and taking a full teacher role. The second semester consists of full-time teaching each week and curriculum work at night. Students create a full teaching agenda and have full control over the curriculum.


In her opinion, fieldwork classes are most valuable and memorable. Fieldwork allows her to reflect on her experiences and get first-hand knowledge from the professors who have been in the same situation and how they overcame their conflicts, and they are able to provide effective advice on how to proceed. She said, “You can’t help every student, but, with the skills I learned, I can do my best to meet the needs of every student I encounter.”


Her career plan for post graduation is to immediately go into teaching her own class. To get her teaching credentials, she will teach a normal classroom for at least two years. She has aspirations of teaching abroad in a few years. She said that she did not have to worry too much about a plan after graduation once she got in the program because the program is very structured and creates opportunities to teach after the completion of the program. While currently in her senior year, she believes that this program has prepared her for post graduation. People in the program are very prepared with experiences and knowledge for what is coming in their teaching careers. There is also a mentor program that guides students and gives them the resources and confidence to be independent and learn skills to be successful teachers.


Noelle’s suggestion for students interested in a career path in teaching is to take the “Introduction to Teaching” course. Students get a basic idea of teaching without the big commitment, and they see a school setting and how a teaching program works. She said, “It is not the easiest career path to follow, but it is truly one of the most rewarding because you get to directly make a positive impact in others’ lives.”


For more information about the program and how to enroll, visit the program’s website here or email dualdegree@usfca.edu.





Minor Matters: Jana DeGuzman and the French Studies Minor

By Caitlyn Shen, Junior Communication Studies Major

USF Senior Talks About Her French Minor’s Influence on Her Life and Her Summer in France

As I question what my Chinese minor has to offer me and where I should study abroad next semester, the perfect opportunity came up. I specifically chose to interview Jana DeGuzman because we are in the same boat. Both of us are upperclassmen communication studies majors with a language minor. DeGuzman is pursuing a French minor while I am pursing a Chinese minor. Speaking to her about her experience has helped me choose my future.

Q: “What made you pick the communication studies major and French minor?”

A: “I came into USF as a communication studies major. I have always loved writing, and I think I have strong verbal communication. I didn’t come into USF with a French minor, though. I came in looking to pursue a performing arts minor, but I didn’t like the program here. I had to fulfill two semesters of a language, and I chose French. I wasn’t like most people where they have a French background or took it in high school. I literally just picked it up my sophomore year. My professor actually had to convince me to switch to a French minor, but I’m so glad I switched because I love it.”

Q: “Do you think French and communication studies complement each other?”

A: “They totally do. You know they both have to do with language and culture. Communication studies helped me understand more about different cultures, and it helped me adjust to different perspectives through culture. “Communication and Culture” really helped.”

Q: “What is the hardest aspect about French?”

A: “The whole language in general is just complex, especially since I started sophomore year without any other exposure to French. The courses are pretty challenging, especially this literature class I’m currently in. We read 17th and 18th century literature, and there’s a bunch of vocabulary I have never learned before. All of these old words I really have no clue what they are.”

Q: “Would you recommend pursuing the French minor? Do you have any advice for anyone interested in French?”

A: “I totally would! I love it so much. I don’t really have any advice. Maybe just don’t overcrowd yourself. Try to balance everything out. Right now I’m taking four French classes and one communication studies class, and I regret it because next semester, my last semester, I won’t learn any French and only COMS courses. So balance everything out. Oh! Also, study abroad!”

The port of Cannes is one of the biggest attractions in France.

The port of Cannes is one of the biggest attractions in France.

Q: “Like you said before, you studied abroad. Where? Did you go to France?”


A: “This past summer I studied abroad in Cannes, France, for about two months. Every day I had three hours of intensive French classes, but I loved it.”


Q: “Do you think about it a lot? Do you still talk about the people you met there?”


A: “I think about it every day. Like every day. The trip was too short. I want to go back. I still talk to those people. We have a group chat.”


Q: “Please describe your life in five to ten years. Do you see yourself living in France or living in a French speaking country? What will you be doing?”


A: “I’m not sure what I want to do, but I wouldn’t mind teaching English in a French-speaking country like Morocco, or being a travel blogger. I’m definitely open to moving to France, as well.”


Jana has me thinking I picked the wrong language to minor in! To hear how French has made an impact on her life has influenced me to pick somewhere I can practice Chinese and put my minor to good use when studying abroad. Jana obviously had such a wonderful time, and I hope I can experience the joy she felt while studying abroad.


Minor Matters: Kianna and the Media Studies Minor

Did you know that USF has 46 minors (by my count) that you can choose from to supplement your major course of study? A few years ago I decided to profile our Communication Studies majors who are minoring in another area here on the blog with “Minor Matters.” One of our majors, Kianna Fernandez, is minoring in Media Studies. I asked her to share with us why she chose to minor in Media Studies and what she likes about it. Here is what she said…

COMS Major and Media Studies Minor Kianna!

COMS Major and Media Studies Minor Kianna!

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Minor Matters: Tina and the Child and Youth Studies Minor

As many of you know, since I had an actual baby two years ago the blog has received less attention than in its heyday. Gone are the days of a new post every. single. day. But you know what is not gone? New categories for the blog! That’s right! I have more categories on here than I can possibly give attention to, but that has not stopped me from adding another! The new category being unveiled today: MINOR MATTERS! Da da da daah! Many of our Communication Studies majors are involved in all sorts of interesting minor programs from departments all over campus. I thought it would be interesting to share some of them here on the blog and learn from students why they chose the minor they did. First up is senior Communication Studies major and Lambda Pi Eta Vice President Tina Celani who is minoring in Child and Youth Studies. Here she is:

COMS major and CYS minor Tina

COMS major and CYS minor Tina

“Hello, everyone! My name is Tina Celani and I am currently a senior COMS major with a Child and Youth Studies minor at USF. With the array of minor options offered by USF, I decided to pick Child and Youth studies as my minor because I am really interested in learning about the development of children, in particular the how the development of children is effected by education. I grew up in a family with a strong emphasis on education, particularly educating children and adolescents. My grandpa and grandma built and developed a preschool, Glendale Preschool and Kindergarten, in Glendale, CA and my mother has since taken over the business as the director. I have always been interested in education and working with all types of people, but in particular learning and working with children and adolescents. Therefore, I picked this minor because it provided elements for me to learn about the general psyche and development of children and adolescents as well as educational structures and family structures that effect a child’s development, either positively or negatively. With all this said, I took on this minor.

Since I’m in progress with taking my final major and minor requirements (SCARY, RIGHT?), I believe this minor was the perfect fit for me. It taught me the general development of children and youth, from the cute and adorable babies to the “angsty” teenagers, through General Psychology and Child Development. It taught me how different types of families, through the Diversity of American Families class, affect children and the overall perceptions of the “American family.” Lastly, it taught me how education plays a huge role in the development of children to young adults, by either increasing or decreasing the achievement and/or opportunity gap between students (which you will definitely learn if you take Sociology of Education). Overall, I love this minor and all the components that it makes up.

The Child and Youth studies minor adds to my COMS major by taking on a specific area of interest within the COMS major and really honing in and learning more about it. Through my COMS studies courses, I learned the value of “communication in everyday life” (yes, I quoted your class, Professor Doohan) and, more specifically, communication between family members and communication within interpersonal relationships. It provided me with a valuable set of knowledge going into these courses that I would not have known about otherwise. Just to let you all know, the COMS major is an awesome major, prospective and current students of USF.  [Ha ha, I added the bold, underline, italics, just for emphasis.]

One of my favorite classes taken for my minor would definitely be Sociology of Education. First off, Professor Milman is a baller teacher who is passionate about the material she teaches and is passionate about her students in her class. I would definitely recommend taking her. Sociology of Education serves as an analysis of the education system put in place for kindergarteners all the way to college and graduate students in the United States. It talks about various topics such as tracking to cliques and race to gender and the implications and critiques of them. It also, in our ending weeks, teaches students educational reform measures taken. It is an amazing class that incorporates both COMS major elements and Child and Youth studies minor elements and I would highly recommend taking it.”

Thanks, Tina, for sharing your experience with the Child and Youth Studies minor! It is a minor that does nicely complement the interpersonal and family communication courses that our department offers. Fun fact, our own Professor Thorson is on the Child and Youth Studies minor committee and COMS 306: Family Communication is one of the minor elective options.

Are you involved in an interesting minor that you want to share with us here on the blog? Contact me at edoohan@usfca.edu.