by Dana Biscotti Myskowski
After an internship with Liberty In North Korea, or LiNK, introduced him to high school students, Brian Tassey realized, “We need really good teachers leading our youth.” So with that in mind, the Central High graduate returned to his native Manchester and sought out education classes at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where he was entering his second year.
A Communication Arts major, Tassey currently takes education courses at the undergraduate level and anticipates applying to the Master of Education program as a second semester Junior. For students with a minimum GPA of 3.2, this Accelerated Master's option permits UNH seniors to earn up to 12 graduate level credits in education, while also obtaining undergraduate credit for the same courses.
He also enrolled in ED 500, led by Professor Maryann Minard, where he had what he describes as a “wow moment,” which cemented for him that education was his future. “I just knew with absolute certainty that it was what I wanted to do.”
Tassey credits the smaller class sizes with being a huge advantage of UNH Manchester. “Because the classes are smaller, the professors get to know you very well,” he says. “That’s something that improves the quality of our education and our experience.”
Originally enrolled as a student at the Durham campus before his first semester began, Tassey fretted over the high costs of tuition, housing, and meals. That’s when his father suggested he commute to UNH Manchester and save money by living at home. “UNH Manchester is awesome,” says Tassey. “It’s a great location in a beautiful, refurbished historic mill building. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.”
Tassey notes another unique experience in attending UNH Manchester is his American Sign Language course. “I’m taking ASL now,” he says. “The most interesting part is learning about the Deaf culture and Deaf community because it’s overlooked as a minority group that has been grossly mistreated throughout history. The class is fascinating and is changing my perspective on what it means to be Deaf.”
Tassey also enjoyed his immersion in a fourth-grade classroom in Manchester’s Northwest Elementary School. The experience was enhanced by his earlier summer job at a camp in Canada where Tassey was one of three counselors who bunked with 14 11-year-olds. “They were absolutely nuts,” he says, recalling his experience fondly. “They have the mouth of a high schooler, but they’re still children who are learning things they don’t mind sharing.”
To high school students considering their future after graduation, Tassey says, “College can be tough, but it’s important to realize the value of a college education.” Reflecting on his own journey, he adds: “Realize that you don’t have to go to college right away. There are so many programs you can learn from, such as internships. I’ve learned so much, and my experiences have given me skills that are helping with my education.”
Tassey admits, “I’m the type of person that once I get moving, I don’t want to stop again. But now that I’m back, I’m focused on finishing my school. Overall, UNH Manchester has been really helpful in guiding me and helping me figure out what I want to do.”
Of his goal to work as a teacher, Tassey says, “Ideally, you want every generation below yours to be better than your own. And I know I’m only 21, but it’s still something I think about. I think it’s something people should consider, because our youth are the future.”
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