Photo by David Schmitz
Major: Child & Adolescent Development
Connie L. Lurie College of Education
Why did you choose your major?
I have always known that I either wanted to work with children or for children and after being blessed with my own child and being able to watch her grow and develop and the curiosity she displayed while interacting with her environment I needed to know more. I enrolled in Child and Adolescent Development classes at my local junior college and instantly became hooked on the biology of the human brain and the developmental processes children go through that turn them into adolescents. After working for a non-profit child development center in my hometown my eyes were opened to the effects that poverty can have on a child’s development and this has opened a new passion of advocacy for these children and their families.
What does this particular award mean to you?
I was surprised upon receiving the notice about the award, I was aware that I was doing well but obtaining a specific GPA has not been one my main concerns while attending SJSU. I had a conversation with my sister who recently graduated from Humboldt State that grades were not my concern, I was concerned with understanding the material and being able to apply it to my work with children and explain to others the importance of early childhood.
Who has the greatest influence or impact on your life?
Other than my daughter my mother has had a great influence in my life. She has been the family caregiver and always caring for her nieces and nephews. Seeing how caring, patient and selfless she has been my entirely life has influenced my personality and has made me strive to do better not just for myself but for her.
While attending SJSU I have been fortunate enough to be enrolled in two classes with professor John Jabagchourin. The passion that he possesses for teaching makes learning fun and easy. He makes lessons relatable to his students and has inspired me use the theories and research that we discuss in an intentional way when working with children. It has given me a great understanding of how to work more efficiently with children.
Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today?
My first time in a preschool classroom was an eye-opening experience. Before that day, I had not spend time with a group of children that I was not related to. There was one child who was having a particularly rough day, the lead teacher gave me some background information and asked me to work with him. After talking with him and being able to get him engaged with other children his demeanor changed and he looked so happy. Being able to work with that child who was being misunderstood and giving him some individual attention and seeing how he was able to change made me realize that this work is important. Being able to discuss with the lead teacher some of the strategies that I learned in classes and explaining to her my ideas she was able to apply them in her class and make the environment a better place for that child and the rest of the children.
What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?
I would encourage students to focus on the information that is being presented in class and not to focus so much as specific grades. If a student understands the information the grades will follow. Also, follow your passion, I have been fortunate enough to find my passion and working with the professors and peers has been rewarding and helpful when it has come to my academic success.
What makes you a Spartan?
San Jose State has been a great opportunity, I identify with the colleges commitment to the community. I too strive to make my community a better place.
Nominated by John Jabagchourian
Professor, Child and Adolescent Development
“Gregory has that internal drive to explore ideas, a natural leader among peers, a father, and someone who has his sights set on serving underprivileged youth and their families.”