WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY
By Callie Rainosek '17
Some students have trouble choosing a field of study upon entering college, while others are already dreaming of the day they cross the finish line and begin their career. Then there are other students, like Merari Boffill ’18, who have been working toward their dream career since the beginning of high school.
Boffill, an Interdisciplinary Studies major in the College of Education & Human Development, began pursuing a career in education when she decided to attend the Business, Education, and Technology Academy (BETA), a magnet high school in South Texas. In addition to teaching high school core curriculum, BETA guides incoming freshmen through classes focused on students’ career interests. As a student of BETA, Boffill was able to take classes such as Principles of Education and Training, Child Development, Child Guidance, and Instructional Practices in Education and Training, all while earning a high school diploma.
Her early introduction to education studies provided a strong foundation for her academic career at Texas A&M, making Boffill more prepared than the average student entering college. “The fact that I was exposed to different aspects of education during my high school career has made me a better student at A&M, and in the long run, it will make me a better teacher,” she said.
Though Boffill has been passionate about education for most of her life, her decision to pursue a career in education solidified during her time as a teacher’s assistant in a first-grade classroom her junior year of high school. Boffill tutored a student who struggled with reading and felt rewarded after observing noticeable improvement in the student’s studies. “There is no feeling in the world that compares to how I felt in that moment,” she said. “I want to continue making a difference.”
Boffill was gaining valuable hands-on experience in high school for her future career, but felt challenged preparing for her college education because she was a first-generation college student. “Neither of my parents went to college, so when my senior year of high school rolled around and it was time to get everything ready for the next year, my parents and I were completely lost,” she said. “In addition to not having adequate information about college, most of the challenges I faced on my journey to Texas A&M were emotional. I was 18, confused about what college to attend, stressed about finances, and scared to leave my family and friends. Despite having all these different thoughts and emotions, I knew I needed to go to college. I needed to make something of myself, not only for me, but for my future family as well.”
BETAMU, a week-long summer program hosted by the College of Education, strongly influenced Boffill to attend Texas A&M. The summer program allows students in BETA’s education track to visit Texas A&M and experience what college is like. “The College of Education reached out to me when I had no idea which college to attend. This really made a difference in my life and it is the main reason I decided to become an Aggie,” explained Boffill.
Though it is only her second year at Texas A&M, Boffill has already noticed personal growth in her confidence and motivation. She enjoys the insightful courses offered in the College of Education, as well as meeting with her advisors; however, speaking at the Dean Developmental Council Meetings is the most prevalent source of her personal growth. “By speaking at the Dean Developmental Council Meetings, I am able to share my story about being a first-generation college student and let the College of Education know how much of a difference their recruitment efforts really make,” she said. “I take this very seriously because I like to think of myself as a voice for other students who are unaware of the opportunities that are available to them. By sharing my story, I can encourage the College of Education to continue their efforts in reaching out to students.”
Boffill has many career goals for her future, including making a difference in students’ lives and being someone students can look up to. Determined and ready to hit the books, Boffill knows she will be able to make a positive impact in the classroom one day. “I am putting my all into my education at Texas A&M to learn more about effective ways of teaching,” she said. “Everything I do while at Texas A&M contributes to reaching my future career goals, and although I have only been here for one complete year, I have already seen myself improve and move closer toward these goals.”