Student profile: Woods uses positive influence to educate others

By Jonathan Barnett
April 3, 2008


Many children in the 6th grade do not know what they want to be when they grow up.

If they do, the list could include anything from being a veterinarian to being the President of the United States.

“I feel like I’ve been a teacher since the 6th grade, just without the degree,” Laura Woods, senior special education and elementary education major, said.

Woods has been involved in many aspects of volunteering over her years and she explained that she could bring a lot of those experiences into her classroom.

What has set her apart from the typical high school and college student volunteer has been her desire to build relationships with the people she was helping, not just be there.

“When I learn something I want to teach other people. That’s just my way of doing it. We should use our own gifts to make a difference,” Woods said.

She has gone on several immersion trips since enrolling at Cabrini College.

Woods has had the opportunity to go to Mexico, Ecuador and Appalachia during the spring breaks of her sophomore, junior and senior years.

Through these experiences she has been exposed to poverty that many people her age have never seen.

Woods has been particularly drawn to global awareness education and feels that there is a lot she could teach other people.

“The trips I have gone on in the past have influenced me. Now I have a passion and desire to educate people on global issues,” Woods said.

While at Cabrini, Woods has worked with the college’s Wolfington Center, which “is designed specifically to promote and enhance community service opportunities and to strengthen Cabrini College’s Catholic identity” as stated by its Web page.

Her work with the Wolfington Center has given Woods the opportunity to go on, and lead, retreats and become involved in numerous service and outreach projects.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) joined with Cabrini in April 2005 and since then other opportunities have come about for Woods and students like her.

Students have had the chance to become CRS Student Ambassadors in the areas of HIV and AIDS awareness, hunger and homelessness, fair trade and global awareness education, a section created because of Woods’ interest in it.

Through her involvement with CRS and Cabrini’s Wolfington Center Woods has created a global awareness education packet for student teachers like herself.

She presented it to both undergraduate and graduate student teachers at the college.

“The packet is designed to motivate educators about important global issues, no matter what level they teach. It’s to show them that it is possible to make a positive impact on students,” Woods said.

Woods explained that the packet can serve as an introduction to global issues as well as supply people with resources to go further into the issues they already know a little about.

She takes teaching very seriously and hopes to continue educating people in and out of the classroom.

“With something like teaching in a classroom, you have a lot of power, so why not make a positive influence every time you get up in front of a class?” Woods said.

Jonathan Barnett

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