Hadley White: Secondary education, French student reinforces career calling through Upward Bound summer job

Hadley White, right.

Hadley White of Goffstown, New Hampshire, spent her summer in Presque Isle working as a resident director and French instructor for Upward Bound, a program that helps first-generation and low-income college-bound high school students succeed in higher education.

The fourth-year secondary education and French student with a minor in Franco-American studies loved the challenges of the work — she was constantly learning and preparing to be an educator, and says her job incorporated many skills learned in the classroom and as a person.

“I am passionate about Upward Bound because it is consistently challenging, but always presents the most incredible rewards,” says White. “I feel as though it helps me personally and professionally grow every single day. I am pushed to adapt, problem solve, make quick decisions, respond to difficult emotional and academic situations, manage a classroom effectively, work independently and also collaboratively, take into consideration many perspectives at once, and role-model.”

Her summer tasks ranged from supervising, scheduling, and supporting other staff, to designing, preparing and teaching lessons in French. She says the most interesting part this summer was teaching French to a group of rising freshmen — an age group she had not worked with very much previously — who had great energy and made for a very different experience.

“Ultimately, between the classroom and the campus life, the part of the job I love the most isn’t the logistics but the humanity — listening to people when they need someone to talk to, helping facilitate meaningful experiences and connections, and giving out motivational dog stickers,” says White.

“At the end of the day, I get to watch students be resilient, discover things they’re passionate about, and be actively impacted by the Upward Bound experience,” she says. “And working with the students from the communities of Aroostook County has consistently reinforced my decision to join the education field.”

White also has loved exploring Aroostook County through hiking, kayaking, swimming and “beautiful drives.”

“Since Maine has such a short summer, I feel incredibly lucky to spend it somewhere with so much natural beauty,” she says.

And she loves that UMaine has such an incredible variety of opportunities for student involvement outside the classroom, including research, resource centers and work experiences.

“I love being able to work with the different departments and groups on campus — I’ve done a lot with the Franco-American Centre in the past few years — to be able to immerse myself in my passions and to find resources that I will be able to carry with me long after I graduate,” she says.

“I think anyone from any major will find that at UMaine, there are faculty and departments that are willing and excited to help students find their footing in something that aligns with their passions, and put it to use outside of the classroom setting,” says White.

“My work with Upward Bound has been the single most important experience for my growth that I’ve had through my time in college,” she says. “I hope to continue working with the program for many years to come as I make my way into the field!”

Contact: Cleo Barker, 207.581.3729