Over 30 alumni visited Keene State College last weekend to talk to students about their transitions from college to careers.

On Saturday, March 7, the college held its second annual Inspiring Conversations in Education (ICE) Conference. The conference was put on by ICE Conference Coordinator Maria Franciosa, president emeritus of KSC’s Kappa Delta Pi.

Kappa Delta Pi is the International Honor Society in Education, that’s goal is, “to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching,” according to its website. Kappa Delta Pi was founded in 1911.

Last year’s conference was such a success that it is turning into an annual event.

Tim Smith / Senior Photographer

Tim Smith / Senior Photographer

“The conference was met with high praise and was recognized by Kappa Delta Pi International with a Professional Development Chapter Programing Award…” Franciosa wrote in the conference’s agenda.

KSC Professor of Education, Prudence Cuper, was the keynote speaker for this year’s event. Cuper, who spoke at convocation in August, noted that writing this speech came more naturally. In her opening remarks Cuper referenced Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” and compared teachers to gardeners, helping nurture students to grow and develop throughout their years of schooling.

Wayne Hartz, interim dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies at Keene State College, also kicked off the conference with some remarks for students and faculty.Hartz quoted Nelson Mandela as he said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

After remarks from these folks and a few others, including Provost Walter Zahaki, the event broke off into different sections.

Alumni hosted individual sessions, each focused on a particular topic in education, ranging from “Surviving the First Years of Teaching” to “Urban Learning” to “The Why’s and How’s of Character Education.”

“I love the fact that they’re all graduates from here at all different levels,” Cuper said.

After the conference Cuper said her favorite session of the day was “Flipped Classrooms.”

According to flippedlearning.org, “Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”

Education in a flipped classroom usually involves an emphasis on hands-on learning and interactivity with students.

These sessions went on until 2:30 p.m., when students met back in the Mabel Brown Room for an open panel with the alumni.One piece of advice from alumni was related to finding work after graduation.

“Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get your first teaching job after college,” Ashlee Carr said. Carr graduated from Keene State College in 2011 and is currently teaching third grade at Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School.

In the meantime, though, alumni said to stay involved at KSC and try and get experience working in schools, even before their Methods I and II courses.

Kyle Virgin of the KSC Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program encouraged students to get involved with the honor society, as the group holds many events throughout the year for teachers.

After the event Cuper spoke of the importance of such events to students and other professionals.

“This is a cool idea to bring graduates and undergraduates on campus to talk about their field. I think it’s a great idea and I love the energy in it,” Cuper said.

Skyler Frazer can be contacted at sfrazer@kscequinox.com

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