Class of 2021
Early Childhood Education Major
Master of Education
Elyse Podgurski ’21 graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and officially enters the workforce this fall as a first-grade teacher at Central Elementary School in Allentown, PA. While teaching she will pursue her Master of Education through Cedar Crest’s 4+1 Program.
The College’s 4+1 program allows undergraduate students to earn their master’s with just one additional year of coursework. Education students participating in the program begin their graduate-level coursework in the second semester of their junior year.
Podgurski came to Cedar Crest with the plan to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s in just five years. “I knew that coming back to school after a few years to earn my master’s degree could be challenging, and the 4+1 program would condense all of my education into a shorter time frame,” says Podgurski, who will also be completing her English as a Second Language (ESL) certification next year.
Undergraduate education students at Cedar Crest begin participating in fieldwork in their first year—an experience that Podgurski valued. “Starting fieldwork early gave me and my classmates a wide variety of experiences at area schools. This allowed us to observe many different teachers and see what kinds of school environments we prefer,” she explains.
In addition to completing her education classes and fieldwork, as well as holding on-campus jobs, Podgurski was a member of the track and field and volleyball teams. One of her greatest accomplishments as a student-athlete was making it to finals for the first time in Cedar Crest volleyball history.
Her time in athletics helped her grow her confidence and leadership skills. Once a shy first-year student, Podgurski was a captain and leader on the volleyball team by her senior year. Some of her teammates even referred to her as the “team mom.” “Becoming a captain my senior year has been an honor, and I truly felt prepared for the position after my time in the program and development as a leader,” she adds.
After she graduates with her master’s degree, she hopes to stay in the Lehigh Valley, teaching kindergarten or first grade full-time.