Student Spotlight: Pilar Ricke Zegers

Student Spotlight: Pilar Ricke Zegers

By Pilar Ricke Zegers

What makes you want to be a teacher or involved in education?

My aim as a teacher is to stimulate creativity, questioning and curiosity from an early age, so children can then independently flourish in any context and be prepared for our dynamic world.

Why did you choose Northwestern University’s MSEd Program?

The School of Education and Social Policy combines two areas of study, and makes for a unique education school that works toward improving tomorrow’s world. What struck me the most when I read the focus of SESP was its interdisciplinary approach. SESP aims to constantly connect teaching, research and service to create innovative solutions. As an arts educator, I see daily that the connection between different disciplines is crucial for young children to have in-depth learning experiences.

What were you doing prior to starting at Northwestern?

Back in Chile, I was an Art and Technology Teacher in Elementary education. I was also a Teacher Assistant in an undergraduate Aesthetics course.

What are your career goals?

I want to design learning experiences that educate young learners through a transdisciplinary perspective and diverse modes of inquiry, with the help of artistic methodologies and differentiation. This way students can make natural and broader connections among topics, promoting their creativity and agency. I want to connect and work with children to help them reach their unique identity, full potential, and goals.

Was there a particular teacher or teacher leader who inspired you in school?

One of my English teachers one said to me, “Pilar, you have come very far these few years and you still have a long way to go. Someday, you will become someone great, maybe a doctor." I have never forgotten these words because they have constantly inspired me to pursue my goals with effort and perseverance, independently of its challenges. Moreover, as an educator I now see the important influence we can have on our students. We plant the seed but they make it grow. As teachers, we should be leaders that inspire them to become the best version of themselves through promotion of their self-efficacy and self-esteem.

How would you describe your Northwestern classes? Your professors?

My Northwestern classes have been very demanding both in content and discussion, and this has created a rich and challenging learning environment. I'm impressed at how much I have learned so far by just being here for over a month. Also, I really appreciate how professors create a safe environment for discussions to be held, inspiring us to be open and speak from experience.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities outside of Northwestern?

I just started a ceramic class in Evanston to further develop my artistic interests and meet people outside of campus.

Are there any particularly memorable moments from within the classroom at Northwestern you would like to share?

For the first day of my "Social Contexts of Education" class we were asked to share a story about a place that was important to us. It was incredible how, never having met before, our class was able to be so vulnerable and empathetic. I was impressed in how the professors introduced the course and its members by creating the space to share something very personal.

What are you most excited about for student teaching? What are you most nervous about?

I'm so excited to be with children in person again! I have missed their smiles, enthusiastic attitude, and incredible ideas. Yet, as a non-naive English speaker, I'm afraid of teaching everything in this language.

What advice or insight would you give to an incoming first year in the Northwestern MSEd Program?

I would tell them to go to every welcome event organized by the MSEd program, to get to know as many people, professors, and alumni from the different programs. They will be your support system in every sense and, by talking to them, new opportunities will arise.

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Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

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Northwestern University

Phone: 847/467-1458


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