Meet Emily from Pella, Iowa

About Emily - Class of 2015

From: Pella, Iowa

High School: Pella

Academic Interests: Education

Extracurricular Interests: Campus Ministries, Central College Catholics

Caring Counselor

In elementary school, Emily Drey was shy and sensitive. Well, she’s certainly not shy now. The education major is involved with a host of organizations of campus—SOS Orientation Leaders, Central College Catholics, Campus Ministries—and she mentors at-risk youth in the community. After graduation, she wants to become an elementary school guidance counselor to help kids the way her counselor once saved her.

Emily grew up in Pella, and she never wanted to attend Central College. It was her hometown school, after all, and her mom’s workplace. But she took a tour during the second semester of her senior year and was impressed. “The campus is a really good size for me because I like to build personal relationships rather than just having a lot of friends I hardly know,” she says.

Emily was especially drawn by the Central Teacher Academy (CTA), a unique program that pairs education majors with mentor teachers in classrooms for three years, packing more teaching experience into each semester than other colleges provide in years.

“During my sophomore year, I was able to teach my first lesson,” says Emily. “That’s usually your senior year at some other colleges. Central is really preparing me well. The professors are just so willing to help me out.”

Thanks to her time with CTA, Drey was one of three 2013-14 Geisler Penquite scholars which awards students who exemplify the teacher education program’s essential values and skills, advocate for future teachers directly and work collaboratively to lead in ways that build upon the program’s positive reputation to recruit and prepare exemplary teachers for future generations. The award provides $5,000 per year for each recipient for their remaining college years.

"I'm so blessed to have been given the Geisler Penquite scholarship and I look forward to my years at Central where I can come even closer to reaching my goal of becoming a guidance counselor."

Anyone who meets her would describe Emily as a “people person”—not just someone who gets along with people but someone deeply interested in them. As a psychology minor, she took Psychology of Personality, one of her favorite classes so far, where she learned why people act and react in certain situations based on their personalities.

“I’m just someone who really cares about people’s feelings,” Emily says. “Through psych classes I can figure out, ‘How do I respond to that?’”

Emily’s compassion is manifest in her service-learning with Serve Our Youth, a nonprofit organization in Pella. She mentors a middle school girl during study hall, helping her with homework and talking her through personal problems at home and school. It’s not just good work; it’s also good practice for her future career as a counselor.

More practice: working as a Student Orientation Services (SOS) leader in the summer. Last June, she led a group of ten students through teamwork activities and served as their role model for their first two days as Central students.

Emily got involved with SOS because a few of her friends recommended she join. This network is emblematic of the way things work at Central—friends are always encouraging each other to participate, to push themselves further. The campus is crisscrossed by connections between more than 100 organizations.

Emily met some of her friends through Campus Ministries and Central College Catholics (C3). During her first year she also connected with a group of girls from her residence hall —Graham.

“Everyone said I wasn’t going to make the greatest friends there because they’re quiet girls, but I had a really great hall,” Emily explains. “We all just had similar personalities. We became friends; our entire hall did.”

This year Emily lives with a group of those girls in the community service townhouse, which means they put on several service events each semester. Emily has helped plan a basketball shoot-out in memory of a high school friend who passed away. They raised $2,500 for a mission trip he had wanted to go on—more evidence of Emily’s caring spirit.

That generosity will serve her well in her career as a guidance counselor, but for now Emily is just looking at the short term—her next two years at Central.

“I’m looking forward to the education program and getting more acquainted with teaching,” she says. “And I’m looking forward to more friendships and growing as a person.”

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