SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Robin Cleary (2013)
ESE Paraprofessional and Registered Behavior Technician
Each month, St. Johns River State College will honor one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.
ROBIN, WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST TO WORK IN EDUCATION?
I have wanted to work in education for as long as I can remember. I would play school with my cousins after school and make sure they did their homework. My mom and my grandma have both worked in schools, and I remember paying attention to some of my favorite teachers and thinking that when I grew up, I want to do what they are doing. I think my favorite thing was how much they all cared about kids. Not just in an academic sense, but as people.
WHY DID YOU SELECT SJR STATE FOR YOUR DEGREE?
When I selected SJR State for my educational path I was not sure what to expect. My primary reason for choosing SJR State was because it is an affordable option with a local campus not too far from home. I could continue to help my family, while also pursuing my educational goals.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT EARNING YOUR A.A. DEGREE?
I enjoyed my classes at SJR State more than I ever expected to, and I feel like I really got a lot out of them. I loved how the class sizes were not too big and most of the professors were so wonderful and helpful. In my experience they were willing to stay and answer questions or help me with extra practice until I got it. I also loved how passionate they are about teaching and helping students understand the material. It truly was a fantastic value for an education.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE PROGRAM?
Academically, Algebra was the biggest challenge for me. It ended up being better for me to take the class online because I could work more at my own pace within program specifications, and I could sit and practice and rework the problems until I got it. My professors online were great and always were quick to respond when I had questions.
WHAT WAS THE MOST VALUABLE THING YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF WHILE ENROLLED IN THE PROGRAM?
When I started the program at SJR State, I was just out of high school and not entirely clear on the path that I wanted to take. I just knew that I wanted to continue my education. I enrolled and through taking the core classes I followed my interests and found a path that I loved, that was right for me, in psychology and education.
I also learned that I could do hard, seemingly impossible things if I put the work in.
HOW DID YOUR TIME AT SJR STATE BEST PREPARE YOU FOR THE WORKFORCE?
While enrolled in the program I learned a lot about professionalism and professional expectations, organization, and time management skills. I learned how to be independent and responsible for my own successes and failures.
WHAT ARE YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF SJR STATE?
Some of my favorite memories are from studying for exams. I would meet up with students from some of my classes to study. I remember putting so much time and effort into studying or rewriting notes and quizzing each other until we got it. Always with coffee.
PLEASE SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORK AND WHAT YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB.
My job has given me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students and staff members within the school. I work with both general education and ESE/ EBD students and staff as an ESE Paraprofessional and Registered Behavior Technician. I love working with the staff at KES (Ketterlinus Elementary School) and being a part of the KES Dolphin Family. KES is known for being a school with an overall positive environment for staff and students, that encourages teamwork, kindness, and helping each other. We share the common goal of not just making sure our students preform academically, but also making sure students and their families feel safe, supported and loved. We want our students to be able to feel confidant and independent as individuals. Being a staff member that cares and truly takes an interest in students can really make a difference in their overall confidence and success. We believe that all our students have amazing potential, and we know they will go on to do great things and be great people.
WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER ABOUT YOURSELF AFTER YOU BEGAN WORKING IN EDUCATION?
I am good at not just talking to students but listening to them, understanding things from their point of view, and making them feel heard. I also have learned a lot about how important communication skills can be, and the role communication plays in behavior. I am always learning new things about myself and about how to support my students.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY SERVICE?
I have previously worked with McKenzie’s Academic Resource Center and YMCA Reads in Jacksonville and volunteered in local Schools.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I hope to continue growing my experience and education to be a school guidance counselor and board-certified behavior analyst. Hopefully somewhere in SJCSD because I do love it here.
ARE YOU AN SJR STATE ALUMNUS?
Click on the link below to share your recent accomplishments and join the SJR State Alumni Association today - we'd love to hear from you! SJRstate.edu/alumni.html
Director of Public Relations and Publications