BA in Integrative Studies

Sophia Jean Castle, 2023

Sophia Jean Castle

Do you have a particular standout course or professor from your time as an undergraduate student?

My favorite class in my major was INTS 312: Images and Experiences of Childhood, taught by Julia Shadur. I took this course in the summer of 2023, in my penultimate semester of undergrad and my second semester of working towards a Master of Education. I found this course especially impactful since I was able to apply my knowledge of teaching, and spending over 30 hours in the classroom the semester before, to learning about the experiences of children throughout history. This course effectively blended both my interests of history and teaching together, combined with a kind, caring, and empathetic professor that made classroom discussions and assignments extremely impactful and enjoyable. 

What activities were you involved in during your time at Mason that impacted you the most? 

During my time at Mason, I was most heavily involved in Educators Rising Collegiate as a member and as the Treasurer during the 2022 to 2023 school year. Through this experience, I met some of my closest friends, learned how to plan engaging and educational events, attended various outreach events for prospective students, and increased my confidence as a leader and future educator. 

 Share a memorable "Mason moment."

The most memorable moment I experienced at Mason was getting into a graduate program (also at Mason) in November of 2022. Ever since I was young, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. As I grew older, I realized I wanted to teach history and social sciences at the secondary level. I am so thankful that my experience as an undergraduate student in the School of Integrative Studies effectively prepared me to excel as a graduate student and pre-service teacher. I am very thankful for all the support I received along the way, and am excited to start student teaching in the new year! 

Reflecting on your time at Mason, what is one piece of advice you would give a student who is just starting off on their Mason journey?

The piece of advice I chose is something I learned about in INTS 391 and unknowingly followed all throughout my time at Mason: claim your education. Challenge yourself with your coursework when you are able. Learn as much as you can in these four short years from the outstanding professors and peers you are surrounded by. And, most importantly, speak up in class, participate in discussions, and complete your assignments, even when nobody else is. This is how you will gain as much as possible from your classes and grow as a hardworking individual. 

What are your next steps?

 My next step is to finish the last two semesters of my Master of Education. I am starting the last step of my teacher licensure next semester by becoming a student teacher (hopefully in a middle school history class). I am on track to graduate in the Summer of 2024, and begin teaching full-time in the fall of 2024.