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My Manchester Story

Sophie Updike

by Brooklyn Schumm | Feb 27, 2023

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Sophie Updike (she/her). I'm an Elementary Education with Mild Intervention major and a minor in History. I am a junior, and I'm from Huntington, Ind.

What are you involved in on campus?

I am the vice president of Manchester Aspiring Educators. I am also a student worker for the Education Department. 

Why did you choose Manchester University?

I chose MU for two big reasons: it offered the best financial aid to help me achieve my goals, and it had a small academic community. Financial aid was super important to me because I am a first-generation college student. A small community with a shared purpose was important to me because I wanted to be able to connect with others in my major and with my professors. 

What is your favorite thing about Manchester?

I love how close you feel to your major and your chosen field! With small classes, I've had a great relationship with all my professors. It feels easy to ask questions and get answers when something is confusing or difficult. I also feel that the courses and clinical experiences I've had have been intentional in design, which, as an education major, is super important to me. 

What do you see yourself doing after Manchester?

I plan on teaching at the elementary level and entering law school after graduating from MU. It's my hope to become an advocate for children who are unable to advocate for themselves, especially within special education. All children deserve the right to an education, and not all children are given the opportunity to get the most from their education. I want to become someone who can facilitate change within education to make it more accessible and equitable. 

Who is your favorite professor?

Dr. Stacy Stetzel, for sure! Her classes always have lots of energy, and we always have conversations about real-world issues that teachers face in the classroom. She never teaches directly from a textbook and her lectures are not typical lectures, which makes class fly by.

What is your favorite class you have taken at Manchester?

I couldn't pick a favorite class, but I can say that EDUC 340 (or LitBlock) is going to be a great class! Learning how to teach kids how to read is something I've been anticipating since freshman year!

What’s a Manchester bucket list item you’d like to check off?

Studying abroad! I got to travel to London during the last January session, and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had!

What advice would you give to an incoming Manchester student?

Do the reading and ask questions. No one ever does the reading for classes, and it shows when you can't participate in class. I've found that you get the most out of classes when you already can participate in discussions, and you gain that ability by doing the readings. Asking questions is so important! Having the confidence to say, "I don't understand. Please help me to." is the most important thing for someone who is trying to better themself. The professors here make it so easy to ask questions, and when you take advantage of that, you set yourself up to do great things!

What is something someone wouldn't know just by looking at you?

I am not a super creative person, but art is one of my favorite things! Literature, paintings, sculpture, music and everything in between! If I'm not doing homework or working, I'm reading a new book, listening to music or finding something creative to focus my energy on. 

What is your favorite Manchester memory?

My clinical experience last semester was truly something I'll never forget. I taught my very first lesson over adverbs, and I created a game for my class to play that included their names along with little things I remembered about my students. When they realized what I had done, the look on their faces was the single most impactful moment of my time in that classroom. They were elated that I remembered that someone liked to draw and someone else liked to read books about football. It really settled my decision to become a teacher for me, and I can't wait to have more moments like that.

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