Isabel Traphagen is a junior at Saint Joseph’s University from Glen Rock, New Jersey. Majoring in early childhood education with a minor in special education, Isabel aspires to become a special education teacher.

Isabel feels as though she’s always known she wanted to work in education. Her elementary school teachers were a big inspiration to her growing up, and she credits them as the inspiration for her career path.

The Covid-19 pandemic created a drastically different college experience than the one she first envisioned as an incoming freshman. The university’s education department was especially impacted, as students did not have the opportunity to experience the in-person “field” component of the curriculum.

While she embraced many of the educational challenges that were brought on by the pandemic, Isabel found that working in the “field” virtually made it difficult to work hands-on with the children and fully engage with the learning environment. She initially found it challenging to transition to the virtual setting, but was able to learn and develop new skills that helped her navigate the new environment.

Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, Isabel also embraced many of the adjustments that came during the quarantine period. She especially cherished the increased family time spent at home with her mom, dad, three siblings, and two cats (Eli and Violet).

Isabel is excited about returning to a fully in-person learning environment this year, and is looking forward to a productive school year.