Neag School of Education Celebrates 165 Bachelor of Science Graduates

UConn’s Neag School of Education held its undergraduate commencement ceremony at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Sunday morning, celebrating 165 B.S. Sports management And Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s Teacher Education Programs.

The joyous day began with a beloved Neag School tradition: the alumni parade down Glenbrook Road from the Gentry Building to Jorgensen, led by UConn mascots Jonathan XIV and Jonathan XV. As they entered the hall, the Class of 2024 were greeted with cheers and applause from hundreds of family members, friends and other guests. The Neag School of Education banner was presented and placed on stage by class representative Carter Newman. Provost Megan Staples, associate professor of mathematics education, then opened the graduation ceremony before welcoming Dean Jason J. Irizarry to the podium.

“What a journey it has been for all of you,” Irizarry told the Class of 2024. “None of us could have imagined, in the fall of 2020, what your college years would entail. You have persevered through the global pandemic, online and hybrid learning, and emerged as stronger, more compassionate individuals.” Through it all, you continued to pursue your dreams with enthusiasm and strength and never gave up hope for a brighter future. I am amazed by your resilience and I could not be prouder of each and every one of you.

He was the speaker at the beginning of this year Kiana Foster Mauro ’20 (ED), ’21 MA, is the 2024 Connecticut Teacher of the Year and a fourth-grade teacher at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School in New London. Foster Mauro has presented at national and local conferences. She has been a member of the National Association for Multicultural Education since 2018 and was recently accepted to offer facilitation of critical conversations about current events, identity, human rights, and mental health.

“As you prepare to take the next steps in your journey, I hope you hold on tight to the things that make you tick,” Foster Mauro told the graduates. “I hope you continue to pursue your wildest dreams. I hope you ignite your soul with what you love and are brave enough to share that light with the rest of us. I hope you have the courage to speak your truth and stand up for what you know is right. I hope you can be unapologetically yourself.”

While at UCLA, Foster Mauro served on the executive board of Leadership in Diversity, a student-led organization dedicated to diversifying education. She is passionate about community and empowering others. She enjoys teaching her students reading, writing, and social studies daily and connecting with former students down the hall and at the annual family reunion in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Foster Mauro expands her commitment to education, diversity, and community as a dance teacher at The Dance Extension and company advisor for the Community Dance Ensemble.

“Kiana is an educator, activist, and lifelong learner… [she] “She is committed to empowering her students through culturally sustainable, human rights-focused learning,” Irizarry said.

Another beloved Neag School commencement tradition is a performance by graduating music education students. This year, 18 graduates performed Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway”, prompting nearly the entire room to stand up and dance.

President Radinka Maric was present to congratulate the graduates and award them a Bachelor of Science degree.

“I charge you now to assume fully the responsibilities of your new situation, to expand the foundations of knowledge you have acquired, to assume upon yourselves the obligations of an expanded vision, and to endeavor to do your fair share of the work of this world,” Marek said.

A commencement ceremony for the UConn Neag School of Education was also held live feed It is still available for viewing.

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