Student Profiles – Annalise Ritter
I came out of undergrad with a strong interest in social justice, critical dialogue, and experiential education. I carried these with me around my home state and the world for a few years before turning back to school. Antioch University has such interests at the heart of its mission, so I knew that the kind of graduate experience I was looking for would likely be here. Although I was accepted to both campuses, I chose Antioch University Seattle over Antioch University New England because of the forward-thinking, cohort-based, place-specific nature of its environmental education program. Now, I am nearly graduated from the second class of the MAEd in Urban Environmental Education.
My program exists because Antioch University Seattle took on the challenge of creating a master’s degree in partnership with a local environmental education organization, a degree which exists nowhere else in the world. It is a fitting partnership, as this program tackles the challenges of how we collectively live in and create our ecosystems, and asks tough, critical questions about environmental, social and economic injustice. Antioch is committed to experiential education, and the practicum built into my program was the strongest learning opportunity for me. I’ve been able to be part of the implementation of educational programming from design to evaluation. Thus, I am graduating with demonstrable experience in the kind of work that I seek to do as a profession.
Going from a school of 25,000 students to about 700 was a large jump. It’s remarkable how closely one can know all of the faculty and staff. I’ve found every person I’ve worked with and learned from to be very caring and supportive of my professional journey. My professors are well connected in the Seattle area and they actively use their networks to refer students to relevant opportunities. I am confident that I will be able to lean on my cohort community (faculty and students) after we graduate. I look forward to seeing how my program grows and the new directions AUS will take as it continues building strong partnerships around the city.
M.A.Ed. Candidate, Urban Environmental Education
Antioch University Seattle & IslandWood