By Deborah Walker
Athletics at Nyack College is about more than just training athletes to win. At the core of the sports programs are values that make Warriors winners who stand out whether or not they are competing on a field or a court.
Alissa Marie Brugnoli is a case in point. Recruited during her junior year at Steinart High School in Hamilton, NJ by softball coach Jeff Aumend, she received an athletic scholarship in the fall of her senior year. While her athletic skill was clear to Coach Aumend, Alissa had another goal.
"I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in education," she shares, "and the community that is found in the School of Education was extremely appealing, which made me very excited to be a part of the program."
Nyack coaches provide a level of encouragement and mentoring that motivates student-athletes to raise the level of determination and commitment to their studies and to their sport. Alissa Brugnoli struck a balance even when it meant completing assignments on a three-hour bus ride to a doubleheader—not a surprise considering she was named to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Softball All-Academic Team multiple times.
The alumna, who earned her Master of Science/Bachelor of Science in Childhood Special Education with honors commented, "This experience instilled in me the importance of time management, organization, and prioritizing. All of these skills will be extremely important as I move into the classroom."
The role of an educator is such a vital one and impacts how individuals thrive and survive in any career that is pursued. Alissa concurs, "The Nyack experiences that prepared me the best to serve others were my student teaching placements and the time I spent as the Nyack College softball graduate assistant. During these times, I had to be extremely selfless and put my students, as well as my players, before myself. I had to dedicate my time and energy to being the best teacher and the best coach possible in order to ensure the success of others."
"I honestly believe that my Nyack degree will equip me to be an educator in ways that other schools cannot. The Nyack School of Education has given me so many tools and techniques that will be beneficial in the classroom. Unlike many schools, Nyack instills Christian values and beliefs that turns teaching into a passion and not just a career."
Adaptability is another quality that Alissa and her classmates had to draw upon when COVID-19 restrictions forced the spring 2020 semester to an online format. She explains, "I was in my first student teaching placement and was about to move to my second placement when the school year sadly was cut short."
During Alissa's search and interviews for a permanent job for the 2020-2021 school year, which included applications to three school districts and several interviews, she tutored a neighbor's third grader. Recently, she landed a position in Collaborative Special Education at Mound Elementary School in Burleson, TX where she will teach students with learning disabilities.
Learn more about Nyack's School of Education degree programs.