Lancaster – Ohio University Student of the Month Courtney Barnes believes a trip this past summer to Nicaragua solidified her calling to be an educator. Barnes traveled with several other OUL Education majors to Nicaragua's capital city, Managua, as part of a church group and worked at Bradley's House of Hope.
"Bradley's House of Hope serves children with disabilities in Central America," said Barnes. "We were there for one week, and I learned that I need to be appreciative of the things I have."
Barnes is a junior and has always known that she wanted to be a teacher. The Logan Elm High School graduate from Circleville came to OUL to study Middle Childhood Education, but after she started working in the daycare at OUL, she changed her major to Early Childhood Education.
"I really enjoy working with younger children," said Barnes. "My goal is to be a pre-school or kindergarten teacher. I would want to work in a public school district in the local area."
Early Childhood Education Associate Professor Dr. Qiuping Cao nominated Barnes for the November Student of the Month Award. Barnes said she has learned so much about the teacher she wants to be from Cao.
"I really enjoy it at OUL. I think the professors are excellent, and I've really learned a lot," said Barnes. "You have to be consistent. Kids, more than anyone, can pick up if you are being unfair or showing favoritism. Dr. Cao has taught us that you have be to very consistent and let them know your expectations. You can't lower your expectations for anybody."
Barnes is involved in several student organizations on campus. She is the secretary of Phi Theta Kappa, a member of Alpha Phi Omega and Vice President of the Ohio Student Education Association.
"I keep a very strict calendar. I try to make sure that I know my priorities and that I schedule in times for homework and times for meeting with friends, so I don't get too stressed out with everything."
Each month, Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington selects two students of the month. Barnes shares the November award with Bill Clark. As students of the month, both will receive a $50 gift voucher to the Bobcat Essentials bookstore, a custom student of the month hooded sweatshirt, a certificate signed by Dr. Jim Smith, Dean, and Judy Root, president of Fairfield Federal Savings and Loan, and a letter signed by Dr. Smith. Fairfield Federal sponsors the program.