University of Maryland Hosts the IRT’s Annual Holiday Dinner

The University of Maryland Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI) welcomed IRT alumni to a special dinner this past December. Many thanks to Christopher Pérez, OGDI program director, for coordinating the event and providing the opportunity to extend networks and reconnect IRT alumni, faculty, staff, and other professionals.


Program highlights included two keynote addresses by IRT alumnae:

photoBrittany Zorn, IRT ’13
M.Ed., Arts & Sciences Programs Specialist, Institute for Recruitment of Teachers

Brittany graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 with a B.A. degree in psychology and women’s studies and a minor in Africana studies. That same summer, Brittany participated in the IRT Summer Workshop as she prepared to pursue her master’s degree. In 2016, Brittany graduated from the University of Maine, earning an M.Ed. in student development in higher education. Leading up to graduation, Brittany learned of an opening at the IRT office and enthusiastically applied; the opportunity to help future generations of students successfully apply and matriculate into graduate programs on their paths to careers as educators was not one Brittany was willing to pass up. She eagerly accepted the role of arts & sciences programs specialist with the IRT in May 2016. A clip of Brittany’s speech is included below.

photoMonica Johnson, IRT ’12
M.Ed., Special Education Teacher, JoAnn Leleck Elementary School

Monica is a special education teacher at JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres in Silver Spring, Maryland. Monica began her path to a career in education at the IRT Summer Intern Workshop in 2012, prior to her senior year at Spelman College in Atlanta. The IRT program exposed Monica to a wide array of programs and opportunities available for funding a graduate degree education.

After completing her senior year and earning a B.A. degree in elementary education from Spelman College in May 2013, she attended Boston College as a member of the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program. Monica earned an M.Ed. in special education with a focus on mild/moderate disabilities in May 2014. She is certified to teach early childhood education and special education through eigth grade. Monica is currently in her fifth year of teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools and is in her second year as the special education team leader in her school. She currently works with fifth-grade students, providing specialized education services across all academic areas. The most rewarding part about teaching for Monica is witnessing her students make healthy social connections while making breakthroughs in the learning process.


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