Not everyone knows what they want to do with their life from an early age. In fact, if you had asked a 12-year-old Angelique Julien what she wanted to be, she would have said a dental hygienist. If you had asked her again two years later, she would have said she wanted to work with kids. What changed? She spent a year volunteering as a homework helper at her local library in Spring Valley and saw for herself how rewarding it can be to help children learn and make new discoveries.
“As I got older, people would constantly tell me I should get into the field of teaching,” she says. “So, I gave it a chance.”
Now in her junior year as a Childhood Education major, Angelique looks forward to a future educating the youth of tomorrow. Reflecting on the years she has spent preparing for her career, she says that St. Thomas Aquinas College is “a blessing” for which she “couldn’t be any more thankful. I was never into big schools, so STAC was the perfect fit. The people I have met on campus have been very welcoming since the beginning.”
While all of her classes have been fun and informative, Angelique’s favorite so far was Child Psychology, because it illustrated how essential it is for teachers to get to know their students on both an academic and emotional level.
Angelique recognizes the positive impact all of her professors have had on her, but she acknowledges Assistant Professor Melissa Collucci and Adjunct Instructor Debra Rockwell for going the extra mile by not just teaching material well, but also creating an atmosphere of teamwork that fosters lasting student friendships. She is grateful to Dr. Staci Shultz, associate professor of English, for inspiring her to enjoy reading and analyzing books for their deeper messages. One of her favorite reads was the novella “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton.
Like so many other college students at STAC and around the nation, Angelique had to pivot to online learning when the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Although freshman year was easy for me academically, I felt overwhelmed with the instant transition to remote learning because I had never taken an online course before nor did I have any idea how that would work,” she says. “However, I had some great professors who made sure that each and every one of their students felt comfortable.”
When she’s not in the classroom, at Social Justice & Equity Forum meetings, or working in the STAC Admissions Office, Angelique is at the gym lifting weights. Fitness has always been an integral part of her life. She studied ballet for 14 years and, along with her twin brother, took part in several sports and extracurricular activities, including basketball, track, and gymnastics.
Every Sunday, Angelique bikes to the Tappan Zee Bridge with her father, a tradition that began during the pandemic. “I have always ridden my bike with my father since I was a little girl. But it wasn’t until last year when we were stuck in quarantine and didn’t have much to do that we made it a thing to go riding on Sundays, from the Rockland County side of the bridge to Westchester. We like to stay active and spend quality time together.” Angelique is also close to her mom, who she says is “a great role model” who taught her to work hard and never give up.
Angelique’s advice for future STAC students? “They should take any opportunity that comes their way, even if it has nothing to do with their study at school,” she advises, adding that doing so can help one develop new and useful skills.
After graduation, Angelique plans to enhance her own skill set by continuing her education toward a master’s degree in Special Education.