Reading Specialist Larissa Phillips ’12 answers some questions on her Mount experience in Special Education, which led her to helping students overcome reading challenges within the classroom.

Mount St. Joseph News

What was your specific major(s) and/or minor?

Special Education - Mild/Moderate (Intervention Specialist, K-12), but now after going back to the mount for my master's in Reading Science I am a Reading Specialist.  I was an Intervention Specialist for 10 years, Reading Specialist now for 7 years. 

Graduated initially in 2004 with Bachelor's degree, 2012 with Master's degree, now considering the timing of the doctoral program.

Why did you choose the Mount?

It was a smaller school and coming from a small town, I wasn't intimidated and felt at ease.  Everyone from the registrar's office to the professors were so supportive.

What inspired you to pursue your major(s)?

Initially, I found that working with students with disabilities was interesting and a unique challenge.  There is an analytical side to it as well as an emotional/personal connection to the job.  Now, it is those students that inspire and motivate me.  I want to help as many students as I can to overcome challenges in learning how to read so that they don't always struggle with it. 

What field do to you wish to pursue? How was the Mount instrumental in preparing you for your future career path?

I feel like I have my dream job.  I am always thinking about "what's next?," but for right now, I am content and passionate about teaching reading and working directly with students that I can help. 

Was there a professor/instructor that helped your development as a person?

All of the professors I have ever had at MSJU have been wonderful, but Dr. Amy Murdoch and Dr. Richard Sparks have inspired me the most.  They are both so intelligent and passionate about their subject.  Dr. Sparks holds everyone to high expectations, which in turn, only makes us better and more knowledgeable teachers!  Amy has a special way of teaching us that not only do we have to be skilled teachers of reading, we have to have the will and the belief to make a difference.  I could listen to them talk for hours!  They are very special people and I still look to them for advice and guidance.

Did you co-op/student teach? If so, where?

Yes, Oak Hills SD but I don't work there now.

What was your involvement like at the Mount? Extracurricular activities, major projects, etc. that you would like to share.

I was in the National Honor Society and was "Special Education Teacher of the Year.

Have there been any pivotal points during your college career or in your career? Awards, nominations, etc.

Yes, every time a child waves, runs up for a hug or a high five, calls out my name to say "hi!," draws a picture, or writes a card to me! 

How would you rate your educational experience at the Mount, and how was it a strong fit for you?

It was just what I didn't know that I needed.  I didn't do a lot of research on schools and a friend mentioned to me that they had a great education program, so I said "okay," and I registered!  I was initially a business major at another Cincinnati college.

 Interested in pursuing an Education degree at the Mount? Visit the School of Education page to learn more.