When UM sophomore Heather Collier walked into the University of Montevallo’s McChesney Student Activity Center for Preview Day during her senior year in high school, any apprehension she had about her future disappeared.
For years, Collier had dreamed of becoming an elementary school teacher, but she admits she was unsure what path she would take to reach her goal. Within a few minutes of talking to faculty members from the UM College of Education and Human Development, she knew she was ready.
“The first department I ran into was the Education Department. I kept telling myself ‘You can’t be a teacher, you can’t be a teacher.’ But the professors here said ‘Yes you can, and here’s how,’” Collier said. “That was a wow moment, because I could tell that they were really interested in me and were prepared to help me succeed. They showed me a way to succeed the second I stepped in the door. After that, I knew Montevallo was my home.”
Today, Collier is wrapping up her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with collaborative teacher certification, which will allow her to enter the community after graduation and begin impacting children’s lives.
Specifically, Collier is looking to help address a statewide shortage of teachers serving students with special needs.
“Going out and teaching in the community has been a passion of mine for a long time. I came from an area where there are kids with special needs, but they may not have access to all the resources they need,” Collier said. “So I want to go somewhere where I can help to provide those resources. I also wouldn’t mind doing education consulting sometime in the future.”
Collier currently serves as a voice for her fellow elementary education majors through her seat on the Student Government Association Senate. She is also the chaplain for the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and is in the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society.