Scholar Spotlights

Mary Van Spankeren

Major: Elementary and Special Education

Hometown: Western Springs, IL

Classification: Senior

Mary has kept busy with unique experiences through the School of Education, but that doesn't mean she hasn't made time for her fair share of IU athletic events!

Mary’s time at IU has been filled with rewarding academic and exciting extracurricular experiences. As an elementary and special education major, she was excited about the education program at IU prior to beginning classes as a freshman because of the unique experiences the education program offers. During her first few weeks of class she was reminded why she chose her major as she was immediately in a classroom completing a field experience.

Mary’s positive experiences in the education program continued throughout her sophomore and junior years. During her sophomore year she participated in a program that allowed her to be the teacher for the day at a school in Gary, Indiana once a month. Her junior year, the School of Education bussed teacher candidates to Indianapolis to spend full days teaching in urban settings. “This was a great experience for me because I was able to get a better idea of the differences in school systems and how diverse the field is,” Mary said.

While Mary has kept busy with the opportunities the School of Education has to offer, she has also had her fair share of exhilarating experiences with IU Athletics. She’s attended soccer, baseball, and field hockey games, and even sang the 7th inning stretch into a microphone at a baseball game. She watched the Hoosiers play in the Pinstripe Bowl game in New York City, attended Big Ten Tournaments, and drove 11 hours to Philadelphia to watch IU play the University of North Carolina in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Mary is now a senior completing a full year of student teaching before graduating. She will also be participating in the Global Gateways Program through the School of Education that will allow her to student teach in New Zealand this summer after graduating. “Having all this student teaching experience is making me feel extremely comfortable to go out into the real world and have my own classroom. I am so glad that I’ve had these opportunities at IU and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!”