From kicking off to scoring teaching credentials
Aubrey Baran is a fourth-year Poet who can be found either on the soccer field, in the Philadelphia House working on her Child Development major, in Harris D where she is as a Community Advisor (CA), or in the administration office, where she works as an event intern and tour audit manager. Originally from La Mirada, just a city away, Baran has taken every opportunity to make her four years at Whittier College worthwhile.
Baran now lives in and is the CA of the pet-friendly building of Harris. “I have two guinea pigs named Phyllis and Beasley, and they’ve been my roomates for two years now,” said Baran. She feels that having a pet-friendly building has made the enviornment more homey, community-based. The pet-friendly building is unique because it is the only residence hall where students do not have to get an exemption from Disability Services’ animal policies. “It’s for any student that lives there that wants a pet,” Baran said. “So, we have cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters. It’s been a lot of fun [and] it’s pretty cool that we were able to offer that to our students.” Baran also feels that her experience in conflict resolution and communication as a CA has given her a helping hand in her goals to become an educator. “It’s nice to get to connect with peers, and it was also pretty applicable going into teaching.”
Before Baran began working as a CA, she got her first-ever job with the office of Child Development and Education in the Philadelphia House. “We’d do photocopies, answer phones, cover the front desk, and I got a lot of good work experience from that,” said Baran. “The last two years, I transitioned into website design for the auditing processes that [the education department] is going through.” By working closely with professors of Child Development and Education, Baran was able to get to know her advisors and learn about the various credentialing programs the College provides — programs she herself is taking advantage of.
Her connections and skills led to a job at the YMCA in Uptown — a nonprofit organization whose goal is to strengthen communities through youth development, healthy lifestyles, and social responsibility — where she works with two and three-year-olds as a preschool teacher.
Her fourth and final job takes place in the administration building. Baran got her start giving tours to prospective students and has since moved up. “This year, I had an internship with them as event intern and tour audit manager, so I made the new tour route with our supervisor,” said Baran. “Now, I oversee the students who are giving tours; I still give some tours here and there.” Talking to prospective Poets about the campus has given Baran the opportunity to reflect on her time at the College.
“I feel the campus, the location, its credentials in terms of [Broadoaks], and how I felt when I did overnight visits [was] what helped make the decision — how warm everyone was,” said Baran. While these aspects helped draw Baran to the College, it was unexpected factors that got her to stay. Since starting at Whittier, Baran has gotten employment opportunities, leadership positions, and a sense of independence. “Whittier gives,” said Baran. “You come for one thing, and you leave with so many more. As long as you’re willing to take a shot, all the doors will open.”
One door that opened for Baran was receiving the Barbara Ondrasik ‘57 and David Groce Fellowship. With this award, Baran spent three weeks in Denmark studying the way physical activities can be integrated into a classroom setting. Baran was able to use this experience back in Whittier, as physical and academic activities are the focus of her Senior Seminar. “It’s something that I want to bring more to America. I think [physical activity] would help our students a lot.”
In order to remain physically active herself, Baran has played soccer at Whittier for all four years, and 18 years overall. “I’m done playing now. It was a nice way to end on Senior Night, with my family there,” said Baran.
As if she could not get more involved on campus, Baran also co-founded the Trading Card Game Club. (For more on this club, see “The Trading Card Game Club: Bringing back the classics: YU-GI-OH! Pokémon and more” article at www.thequakercampus.org.) Baran served as the Vice President of the Trading Card Game Club the first year it was founded, and is now the President.
For Baran, life after her undergraduate degree continues with Whittier College. “I’m going to be applying for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship through the Athletics Department here at Whittier,” said Baran. “It’s for two years while you’re doing your credentials and Masters program, and I’m applying for that after I graduate.” She plans on getting a tri-credential, which would qualify her to teach multiple subjects in elementary schools, allow her to work with children with disabilities, and give her a Physical Education credential.