Joanna Bis ‘16
Child Study and Speech Pathology
"Truth be told, I applied to SJC because my college adviser recommended the school. I also got the Presidential Scholarship which convinced me to definitely attend. However, when I saw how small and sophisticated the school was I fell in love with the school instantly.
"I have a huge plan for my future! I am planning to stay at SJC to complete my master's degree in special education and I hope to return after I have more experience for my administration license. I also plan to complete my doctorate in educational policy and hopefully one day become secretary of education for the U.S. government.
"Like any person, I have bounced between thoughts about my future. At one point on my high school career, I was adamant about becoming a politician. However, I started volunteering at a preschool and in my dance studio and I loved seeing my tiny humans every week. I realized that maybe it is my destiny to work with children.
"SJC is perfectly small where you can really get to know your professors and — because they know you as well — they take care of you."
"I decided that I wanted to specialize in special education after a field work experience. This one child was not compliant during class, he would not speak and would not listen to any of the teachers. Every time I was in that classroom, I would work with him, talk to him do anything. Slowly he became to change. He surprised me the most at my observation lesson. The child I knew completely disappeared. He was active in the lesson, participated and presented his work to the class! I cried out of joy after my lesson because I was so proud of him. I took this as a sign that I need to keep working with my tiny humans because I have the ability to make them even better than they already are."
Who was your favorite SJC professor?
"Dr. Susan Straut-Collard is the epitome of a perfect professor. She has accomplished so much in her life and she shares as much as she can with her students. I have learned so much from her class, not only in child study but about my professional life. She is definitely someone I look up to. She has helped me become the student I am today. She is patient and nurturing. I would not have been able to experience this type of relationship in any other school. SJC is perfectly small where you can really get to know your professors and — because they know you as well — they take care of you."
Did you study abroad?
"I studied abroad with the honor program's Italy class. The experience was a perfect way to experience the Italian art and culture. Not only did we see the beautiful artwork that we had been studying for months, but we experienced the beautiful architecture and lifestyle. I loved using the Italian I learned in freshman year and improving my cultural palate."
Have you been a part of any service activities through the College?
"I have been going on the Alternative Spring Break since my freshman year. I love going to different disaster areas and helping rebuild. Whether it is breaking down sheet rock or putting up a new wall, this experience has been life changing. We have gone to different locations every year and completing different type of work. We have done Sandy relief in Long Beach, Breezy Point, Rockaways in 2013. In 2014 we went to Colorado to do flood relief. In 2015 we were in N.J. doing more Sandy relief. The realization of how fortunate we are comes every year hearing the stories of the people and how they have been able to overcome any obstacle. This experience is extremely humbling and service has become a huge part of my life. My life has changed because of ASB and I cannot believe this will be my last year."