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Christina Wirsing

College: Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
Awards: Phi Theta Kappa USA Today All-New York Academic Award, 2016; Transfer Achievement Scholarship at Hunter College, 2016

Master Teachers Inspire a Career Choice

If Christina Wirsing (Guttman Community College, '16) had not always liked children, she might have had a hard time as she was growing up. After all, her mother owns a day care center and her normal summer employment involves being a counselor at a camp, where she teaches arts and crafts to children. Luckily, youngsters always delighted her.

But if you ask what led her to choose elementary education as her career, this 2016 member of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society - a select group of community college students elected for their outstanding academic achievement and community service - points to her own teachers.

Take her second-grade teacher, Mia Borgia-DeRosa, who "provided me with a warm, comfortable classroom where learning was fun and exciting -and that's what I think learning should be. I am still friends with her today."

Another is Guttman English instructor Chet Jordan, "who has taught me so much to help me grow and be where I am today. He inspired me to become a teacher, so that one day I can be the one who inspires and makes a difference."

Among other things, he arranged for her to meet people from Hunter's childhood education QUEST (Quality Urban Elementary School Teacher) Program, which prepares undergraduates to become New York State-certified teachers in grades 1 to 6. The program aims at preparing students for the diversity of students and learning needs that are found in the city's classrooms.

Hunter has awarded her a Transfer Achievement Scholarship, a merit award that provides up to $2,000 per academic year for up to two years.

Wirsing says she choose to attend CUNY's newest college, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, because she was intrigued by its novel model, which uses research-based practices, small classes and a built-in support network to help students succeed. "I love it," she says. "It's an intimate school with lots of support."

She adds that her parents "provided me with all the help and resources to get me where I am today; they encouraged me to work hard and chase after my dream of becoming a teacher. I am very lucky to have been surrounded by so many positive individuals."