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Ramapo Success Story

“After graduating from Ramapo College in 2016, I was at a loss about what to do with my life. I always dreamed of being a teacher but had difficulty passing the Praxis exam, which left me unsure about what to pursue without a teaching certification.

I applied for jobs all across the country, ranging from overnight counselors and behavioral coaches to teaching assistants. I heard back from many jobs but one stole my heart. Accepting a job at Perkins School for the Blind is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Perkins provides intensive training and offers countless resources and dedicated staff which continuously improve my approach to best serve the visually impaired community. When I imagined my dream job, I thought I would be teaching at the front of a classroom with students at desks doing assignments that followed state formulated curriculum. I never thought teaching would be sight guiding around Harvard Square, late night grocery trips explaining the layout of the store to students, offering support or humor when they orient themselves in a new environment (i.e., Logan airport or a re-modeled bathroom) and continually making my students feel like Olympic winners when they try something new.

My many experiences at Ramapo College gave to me the confidence to accept this path. As a transfer student, I engaged with clubs to find a sense of community, eventually leading me to become president of G.E.A.R., Gender Equality (through) Activism and Revolution (now known as Feminists United) on campus. During my last semester, Dr. Michael Bitz challenged me to embrace technology and I couldn’t be more grateful for his persistence. Perkins is one of the most notable faces of technological advances; Perkins Solutions offers a platform to explore and purchase technological devices to bridge communication gaps.

I am also back in school working towards my goal of becoming a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (T.V.I.) My advice to anyone in college is to explore all your options. Don’t deter from your dream career just because there are obstacles but instead, embrace the challenge that comes with exploring all the choices the world has to offer.” – Sydney Hopen ’16 graduated with a degree in Literature. She now works for the Perkins School for the Blind, as a Teaching Assistant. While at Ramapo, Sydney received the President Volunteer Service Award.