Future teacher returns the generosity that an organization showed to her

By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Elizabeth Warren planned to major in Agricultural Education when she first came to Washington State University. Years later, she earned degree with a major in Agriculture and Food Security instead. That major, combined with a minor in Crop Science, a Global Leadership Certificate and Honors College chords, rounded out Elizabeth’s undergraduate career.

Warren talks to 2 students wearing blue FFA corduroy jackets.
Elizabeth Warren talking to high school students while representing CAHNRS at the 2018 National FFA Conference.

But while working on her bachelor’s degree, Elizabeth got involved with the Aspiring Teacher Leadership and Success (ATLAS). ATLAS is a grant-based collaborative program between the Office of the Provost and the College of Education. Their goal is to support all students, primarily first-generation, those from low-income backgrounds, and those with disabilities.

Elizabeth learned first-hand what it meant to have such a support system through the ATLAS program.

“As a first-generation student, some knowledge that others had didn’t exist for me,” Warren said. “I felt embarrassed for not knowing things and, since my family members had never gone to college, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and didn’t know who to ask to find out either. ATLAS staff was always willing to answer my questions and let me know about opportunities within the university. They never made me feel inferior for not knowing something.”

Warren holds a sign, wearing the traditional cap and gown, in a parking lot.
Warren holding the CAHNRS sign before the 2019 WSU commencement ceremony.

She started working for the organization as a clerical worker when she was a sophomore. She moved to Project Assistant and helped design and implement the Peer Advising program before serving as a Peer Advisor and a Teacher’s Assistant.

This summer, after she graduated, she was promoted to a position as a Project Advisor. When she’s not advising ATLAS students, Elizabeth works toward her Master’s in Teaching – a 13-month program which offers both a graduate degree and teaching preparation.

“I want to cultivate a classroom where students can pursue their passions and explore concepts in agricultural sciences to help them better understand the world around them,” she said.

Elizabeth wants to encourage her students to become lifelong learners and seek answers wherever they go.

While her undergraduate education did not go quite as she expected, Elizabeth is grateful for where she is today and is excited to see what the future holds for her and her future students.