From a Business Degree to Informal Education: A BES Student’s Journey
“Education is all about inspiration,” – says Scott Winfrey, a student in the Bachelor of Educational Studies Program (BES) at UMSL who discovered a new passion while pursuing a business degree at St. Louis Community College – Meramec. To his own surprise inspiring others turned out to be more enjoyable than writing a business plan or conducting a SWOT analysis.
“A lot of my classmates were dropping out of school because they were simply not prepared for college and its requirements. All they needed was guidance. So, at some point I found myself more helping them than working on my own program. That’s how I started thinking about a career in education,” – explained Winfrey.
Scott joined the University of Missouri – St. Louis in the fall of 2017, with an intention to make a difference in other people’s lives. The choice of the program was not accidental. According to Winfrey, the BES degree is instrumental to people like him, who are striving to bring about the change.
The BES is a program specifically designed for students like Scott, who are excited about education but looking for challenges outside the traditional classroom. Depending on the sphere of interest, students choose an emphasis area that is in line with their career aspirations. Students choose from five tracks: Early Childhood, Exercise Science and Wellness, Park and Museum Programs, and Youth and Adult Development.
Winfrey is now doing his internship at the Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC) at UMSL that unites and supports local partnerships and coalitions in their initiative to build stronger communities in the St. Louis area. The Center conducts applied research and focuses on fostering leadership, building strong community partnerships, as well as developing effective nonprofits and governments.
As an intern, Scott is mostly involved in one of the center’s initiatives, ThreadSTL. Winfrey believes that the BES degree coupled with his internship experience at CIAC will equip him with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully work in a non-profit sector after his graduation in December 2019. “College is a journey, and it is a journey within yourself,” – concludes Scott.
This fall, the BES program launches the fifth emphasis area – Social Entrepreneurship, with the intent to reflect the current changes in the sphere of informal education and help students like Scott develop entrepreneurial thinking that can be applied to solving social problems. Turn to the BES advisor Ellen Duncan for more details about the class schedule.
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