Major: Special Education
A special education major, Mayo wants to help students with disabilities, and specifically to focus on students in urban school systems from diverse backgrounds – Mayo had to overcome similar barriers, learning English as a second language in elementary school and struggling with the financial challenges of affording college.
During high school Mayo worked as a junior counselor at a camp for students with visual impairments and volunteered in a variety of programs that help individuals with disabilities. “Having those great opportunities made me realize that this was the field of study I wanted to be in for the rest of my life. I loved seeing the accommodations and modifications made in order to incorporate students with disabilities.”
She hopes to use her fluency in English and Spanish to help families like hers. “Many times families are not aware of their rights due to language barriers. That increased my interest in becoming a special educator, because I could use my bilingual skills in order to better assist families, especially in urban areas,” she said.
Mayo praises RIC for providing her the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds in both practicum and student teaching placements. “RIC had the best program for my field of study because they have been investing in partnerships with diverse urban districts like Central Falls, thus increasing the college’s and students’ awareness of the need in urban schools. I knew RIC would provide me with a well-rounded experience,” she said.
She has been an ambassador for her program both locally and abroad. She represented the Special Education Department at the State House in front of the General Assembly and traveled to Hawaii where she spoke about RIC’s efforts to accommodate students with disabilities at the Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities and Diversity.
After receiving this year’s Elisa F. Bonaventura Memorial Scholarship, the Special Education Department’s Cap and Gown award for graduating seniors, Mayo will return to RIC in the fall to begin working on her master’s degree in Urban/Multicultural Special Education and pursue certification in ESL and Bilingual Education.