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Student Spotlight: Mariah Mitchell


 webMStudent Spotlight: Mariah Mitchell

Over the coming months, we will feature students, families, staff, and ELC alumni here on the blog! Check in to read more about the interesting people that make up our ELC community!

For our first feature, we chose Mariah Mitchell, a Child and Family Studies student with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. Mariah is a senior and recently finished her senior practicum experience in the Sycamore young toddler room. Read our interview with her below!

Degree/Program: Major: Child and Family Studies; Concentration: Early Childhood Education; Minor: Psychology

Hometown: Smyrna, Tennessee


  • Edward C. and Catherine Daugherty Cifers Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate moral character and determination to succeed in receiving a college education. September 24, 2015MM
  • Gale A. Collett PreK-3 Award: Mr. Collett made a donation to the Child and Family Studies Department to acknowledge the work of Dr. Collett in the early childhood education field. This award is given to a senior in the PreK-3 program who demonstrates their passion for young children through academics and professionalism. September 24, 2015


  • I was asked to speak at the 2015 College of Education, Health & Human Sciences student award celebration, along with Mr. Collett, the donor of the award I received. This opportunity was a great honor, as I was able to share a few words about the wonderful work being done in the Child and Family Studies Department and within the Early Learning Center.
  • During the summer of 2015 I was a practicum student at the Early Learning Center. I spent the summer as the third teacher in the Sycamore young toddler classroom, and, as a team, we developed a literacy curriculum that supported the children’s eagerness to communicate through words, art, actions, and reading.

Current Role at the ELC: I have worked as a student educator at the Early Learning Center for nearly three years, and I have had the privilege of working in every classroom with highly experienced teachers. This semester, I spend most of my time in the Dogwood toddler classroom, Maple preschool classroom, and the Eastside preschool classroom.

Personal Interests: I spend a lot of my free time enjoying the company of friends. My hobbies include exercising, hiking, and snowboarding. I attend church on Sunday mornings at Sevier Heights Baptist Church. My family is very important to me, and I regularly head back to the Nashville area to visit.

Future Career Goals: Following graduating with my masters, I plan on teaching in the public school setting. I foresee myself as a kindergarten teacher, possibly here in Knox County. After gaining experience in the field, I may return to the University of Tennessee to obtain my Ph.D. I have been inspired by many of my professors in the Child and Family Studies Department, and I feel that the work they do is important. I may strive to join in on the work they do after many experiences hands on in the field of early childhood education.

What would you tell a student that was considering/about to embark on the role you are currently in?

I would tell anyone who inspires to teach young children to gain as much experience as they possibly can within the walls of the Early Learning Center. It is truly the most supportive and engaging environment for all who interact within the school. The learning opportunities are endless for students studying to become teachers of young children.

What are some things that inspire your work at the ELC?

The most inspiring quality the ELC encompasses is the mutual passion for the development and education of young children among all staff. The teachers at the Early Learning Center radiate their desire to learn and improve their practices based upon children’s needs and curiosities. This school really embodies a sense of community; no matter if you are a full-time staff member, part-time student educator, parent, or child, you are a supported member of the ELC community.