Education Major Arin Patterson is a Student Visionary
By Malynda Dorsey
Valdosta State University senior Arin Patterson's love for close relationships is evident in the strong bonds she has created since she stepped on campus.
“I love the community aspect of VSU,” she said. “I have come to know so many people that it feels like I'm part of a big family here.”
The Fayetteville native began classes during Fall 2008 as a biology major, with hopes of one day becoming a dentist. However, her desire to build relationships through her work led her to change her major to education, with concentrations in math and science, in 2010.
“My ultimate goal in life is to positively affect preteens and adolescents. I knew that education would be a good way to reach them, so I decided to pursue a career as a teacher instead of a dentist.”
Patterson has excelled in the Dewar College of Education since entering. Not only has she gained knowledge that she can one day share in the classroom. She feels like the feedback she has provided about her courses helps to ensure the best possible learning experiences for future education majors.
"The professors are constantly working to improve the program so they welcome our input on what can make classes better and what information is most useful to us. Other things we definitely focus on in our program include incorporating technology into classwork and relating classwork to things that happen in our students' everyday lives.”
Patterson will apply all of the skills she has learned in the program this fall as a student teacher at Pine Grove Middle School. This will be her final step before obtaining her bachelor's degree and becoming a full-time teacher. She is also contemplating returning to VSU to pursue her master's degree.
When she is not completing work in her program, Patterson is busy serving the campus in various capacities. Since 2010, she has served as a student assistant in the Office of Academic Affairs. As a student assistant, Patterson completes several secretarial tasks and assists with mail distribution. Her exemplary work in the office was recognized last year when she was nominated for the 2010-2011 Student Employee of the Year.
"Although I didn't win employee of the year, I was still very honored to just be nominated," she said. "It let me know that the people in the office actually notice and appreciate my hard work."
Patterson is also a student ambassador, making her part of a diverse group of VSU students who assist the president with outreach functions and activities including graduation and alumni events. As an ambassador, Patterson has played an active role in several projects to promote the university. Most recently, she participated in the annual statewide V-State Experience Tour. The tour included stops in cities like Savannah, Macon and Atlanta to connect with alumni and increase high school students' interests in attending VSU.
During her time at VSU, Patterson also founded a student organization for students with an interest in natural hair. The Kinky Kurly Connection was organized in 2010.
"The organization started as a joke," she admitted. "All of my friends have natural, unrelaxed hair. One day, someone approached us and said, 'Are you guys the natural hair club?' From there, it sparked some discussions between my friends and me about starting a club for people with natural hair on campus."
After obtaining information about how to create a student organization, Patterson and her friends created a sheet sign informing students of an interest meeting. To their surprise, the interest meeting drew a large turnout.
Over the course of its first semester on campus, the Kinky Kurly Connection garnered approximately 25 members. A few students even made the decision to go natural, or return their hair to its natural texture free of chemicals, after attending some of the meetings. Patterson served as president of the organization for a year before passing her responsibilities on to another member.
Patterson has also remained involved with Faith Campus Ministries while at VSU.
For Patterson, the relationships she has built with VSU's faculty, staff and fellow students have made her time at the university worthwhile.
"To think, VSU was not my first choice," she confessed. "I had actually applied for the University of Georgia's dental program, but I was not accepted. After that I applied at VSU and was accepted, and I'm so glad that I made the decision to attend. I have really seen myself thrive here. God had a different plan for me and I'm glad that I decided to follow His plan."
Meet Arin Patterson
Academic Year: Senior
Expected Graduation: December 8, 2012
Degree Objective: Middle Grades Education, Math and Science
Hometown: Fayetteville, GA
High school: Lovejoy High School
My favorite thing to do on campus is… chill on the front lawn. I don’t go as much as I did my freshman and sophomore year, but it’s still fun to be out there!
When I have free time… I enjoy relaxing and taking naps! I don’t get too many of those as a senior. Also, I like to spend time with my friends and family.
The three words that best describe me are… optimistic, driven and focused.
My favorite place to study is… at my house, but when I lived on campus I practically lived in Odum!
My favorite professor is… Mr. Grubbs. I had EDUC 2130 with him and now I’m taking MGED 3110. I enjoy his references to pop culture and his entertaining teaching style.
My favorite classes are… I don’t really have a favorite class, but the classes I enjoy best are the ones I am out of before the sun goes down. I am not a fan of night classes!
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would share it with… Tim Tebow! I think he is an amazing young man. Tim is noticeably a leader and role model and takes his position seriously. He is a role model of mine because he focuses on sharing your faith with others and honoring God in everything you do.
The thing that I will miss the most about college is… All the free food! I get so much free food it’s mind blowing. And I love to eat, so that’s a winning combination!
After graduation, I plan to… As of today, I have no idea. But I am keeping my options open. I am exploring beginning a non-profit organization for youth in the community after graduation. Also graduate school and Bible school are options.
Some unique things about me are… Well according to my roommates, my sleeping pattern is the most unique thing about me. I try to get eight hours of sleep every night, which means I’m in bed around 9 p.m. sometimes. It is necessary! Also my outlook on life, I really try to enjoy every minute of every day and I never want what’s going on around me to affect what’s going on in me. So, I always try to keep a smile on my face and recognize the good in every situation!
My favorite childhood memory is… the Pizza Hut summer reading program, Book It. I did it for multiple years and would get a free personal pan pizza! I got rewarded for reading, which I love.
My biggest supporters in life are… My parents are definitely my number one supporters. When I was a child, they attended every award ceremony, every gymnastic event and every play; even if I didn’t want them to come they were there! When I had plans to be a dentist, my mommy helped arrange times for me to shadow at my local dentist office. And when I told my parents I was going to change my major because the Lord was leading me in a different direction, they were even more supportive and encouraged the dream that was in my heart! I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for them.