Laurita Paramo worked from the time she graduated from Joliet (Ill.) Central High School in 2006 until she transferred to the COE as a junior. With support from the college’s Stewart/McHugh scholarship, she became a full-time student, majoring in special education and English.
“Before DePaul, I’ve always been a part-time student with a full-time job,” says Paramo, now a senior. Scholarships are hard to find for nontraditional, adult transfer students like she is, which makes her all the more appreciative. “The scholarship made it possible for me to be a student full time, which has been great.”
Paramo started her college career at a small all-Christian college and is thankful for the COE’s diverse student body. “Here at DePaul, you meet people from all kinds of backgrounds,” she says. “Hearing international students talk about their bilingual education changes how I look at what I am doing. It gives me a lot of perspective.”
She’s also inspired by stories of the university’s founding. “Almost every single one of my professors mentioned that DePaul started because the Vincentians wanted to be able to offer education to groups that were being specifically excluded,” she says.
In addition to her dual major, Paramo plans to add an English language learner/bilingual endorsement. She became interested in bilingual education as a tutor while she was in high school and combined that interest with special education when she worked as a teacher’s aide at Joliet West High School.
Her short-term dream is to teach at a multicultural Title I school, ideally in Joliet. A research assistant for Jennifer Cohen, associate professor of secondary education, Paramo also would like to continue doing research and someday teach special education at the university level. Wherever she is teaching, she wants to replicate the inclusive culture she found at DePaul.
“I’ve never not felt wanted or welcomed here,” she says. “That’s something I want to continue in my own classroom.” “Hearing international students talk about their bilingual education changes how I look at what I am doing. It gives me a lot of perspective.”