From High School Freshman to College Senior, A Former Student Shares Her Final PBL Reflections

There was a time that I shielded Maddie’s identity while she was a minor, writing reflections on my blog about her experiences in my classroom. Today, however, there is little need to as many of you who follow the blog already know her story well. (Oh, and the fact that she is graduating college this semester with an aerospace engineering degree from Georgia Tech and is well on her way to full-fledged adulthood!) I asked Maddie to write one last reflection that would encompass her experiences from a freshman in my first ever project-based learning (PBL) classroom to her impending college graduation. What follows is a heartfelt reflection on her experiences and the advice she has to give to all of us–students, teachers, employers, parents, etc. I am truly honored she continues to be so willing to share her story here. For context and interest, I’m linking her other writings below. I hope you enjoy what Maddie has to say as much as I do.

1st Post (2014) // 2nd Post (2015) // 3rd Post (2016) // 4th Post (2016) // Bonus Studio Reunion

by Maddie Sibilia

It’s been a whole two-and-a-half years since I last wrote a piece for this blog. At the time, I was in the midst of my second internship and had just finished my second full year as a student at Georgia Tech. To say a lot has changed since then would be an understatement.

I’m now in my last semester of my fifth and final year at Georgia Tech, and man, did time fly by. In the time between, I had the privilege of serving as a director for Wreck Camp, an extended orientation program at GT (which – side note – all incoming students should attend), as well as two Wreck Camp staffs and one FASET orientation staff; assisted in the founding of College Club Swimming as a new national governing body (NGB) under the U.S. Masters Swimming umbrella; added a minor in Engineering and Business to my plan of study; planned and ran not one but two College Club Swimming National Championship swim meets that boasted nearly 2100 and 2200 athletes, respectively; took my first solo trip abroad to London to visit one of my dearest friends who is now living there; got more involved with masters swimming becoming a member of the Georgia LMSC (local masters swimming committee) board of directors and later being elected to serve as the youngest-ever member of the U.S. Masters Swimming Board of Directors; and, most recently, accepted my first big girl job at the Boeing Company, specifically within Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in Everett, Washington.

Read more…

A Note: A Former Student Recalls the Value of Her Project-Based Learning Experience

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This will be a rather busy week, so the next part of the “Building an Ethic of Caring in the Classroom” will likely be delayed. As a quick preview, the post will explore the nature of how a classroom, at times, sets itself up to have winners meaning there has to be losers, and the dire implications that can have on a student’s education. See parts 1, 2, 3,  and 4 by clicking the linked numbers.

Today I am simply sharing a note I received from a former student, Tiffany, who was part of my first project-based learning (PBL) immersive classroom (The Studio) with my friend and colleague, Nic Carroll. Her note is a reminder why teaching is such a rewarding occupation, and it certainly champions what PBL as an instructional approach may inspire. Tiffany is a recent graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Enjoy!

Hi Carroll and Jones-y,

Before I begin, I am typing this on my slow, laggy phone, so I apologize (particularly to Coach Jones) for any typos…

I just wanted to send you a little note to thank you both AGAIN for being such an influential people early in my career. I know I have thanked you both before, but I will be eternally grateful for the impact you made in my life.

PBL completely changed my life aspirations early on, teaching me to pursue my passions, regardless of what the world was telling me. PBL allowed me to explore my creative side, transforming PowerPoint presentations into memorable experiences and creating websites and logos, early in my ‘career’.

On Wednesday, I interviewed for a graphic design position that also includes PowerPoint design/animation. Let’s just say that PBL came up, and I found myself reminiscing back to the moments with PBL that truly changed my life.

Fast forward to today… I was just offered the position a few hours ago and am so excited. While I have loved and will continue the freelance life as the Founder/CEO of TDang Designs LLC, I am super pumped to be learning and working under someone else. And as I celebrate with my friends and family, I just wanted to share my life update with 2 people that have been an integral part in shaping who I am today.

I can’t thank you both enough…

So much love,
Tiffany

No, Tiffany, thank you!

Student Voices: A Former Student Connects Her PBL Experience to Her Career Choice

 

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Today’s former student post comes all the way from Virginia! “R,” as we’ll call her, was part of the Studio (my project-based learning classroom) for only a year before moving away from the county and state. Inside, R describes how that freshmen year shaped her thinking academically, and the class’s lasting effects on her today. We had lost touch for a little while, but thankfully she recently sought me out for a letter of recommendation. Losing R from the program those many years has always saddened me to some degree. As a teacher, you can go about your day-to-day routine and not always be mindful of students who have passed through your room. While R has not been on my mind all the time, her email to me recently really jogged my memory and allowed me to remember her time in my classroom–a time I think we mutually cherished. Read on to see for yourself.
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