Erica Vanderlaan, Social Studies '07
History, Social Studies
Since obtaining my Social Studies degree from Grand Valley State University, I have been able to enjoy some amazing blessings, trips, and memorable moments. I first began to utilize my degree while teaching history and geography to high school students in Houston, Texas. I fell in love with my job and was very fortunate to have found it before even graduating. My degree helped to inspire my continued urge to travel, leading me to apply for and receive a grant to investigate Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor for several weeks during the summer. I was then encouraged to continue with my social studies roots, and explore a Civil Rights Trail throughout Alabama, Georgia and the East Coast for two separate summers in a row.
The new relationships, knowledge and networks that were built because of my Laker roots also helped me to explore future education roles such as instructional coach, interventionist and data specialist. I then went on to obtain a master’s degree as well. Recently, I was able to return to GVSU as an instructor, mentoring student teachers in the College of Education. In addition, I am currently working with Superintendents and their staff, for a software company called Munetrix to analyze assessment data. I have met many amazing people throughout the last few years, and I owe it all to my original passion for social studies, which was fostered by the professors at GVSU. I greatly appreciate the support I received as a Laker and feel blessed to have received such a worthwhile career path.
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