Janette Escamilla was a psychology major when she went on a study abroad in Spain. An internship in a Basque classroom changed her plans, cementing a passion and career she was destined to follow in elementary education.
“I really, really have a passion for teaching” says Escamilla, who also earned a Spanish degree. “When I came back to the University of Idaho, I changed my major to elementary education and never looked back.”
In high school, Escamilla worked with young students in an afterschool program and was encouraged by her teachers to pursue teaching. It wasn’t until she worked with students in a classroom that it clicked. For her student teaching, she chose a summer semester in the Dominican Republic, where she spent one day teaching and one day building the school. As a native Spanish speaker, she was tasked to help translate curriculum she helped design to reach students.
“It was an amazing experience, it taught me so much about the students and myself,” says Escamilla.
She is currently finishing up her second semester of student teaching in her hometown, paired with her first grade teacher.
“She honestly was my favorite teacher, and she’s so thrilled to be helping me student teach,” says Escamilla.
Escamilla is the first in her extended family to graduate from university, but she is also planning to be the first to complete graduate school. She is currently applying to schools, courtesy of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which covers five years of undergraduate and five years of graduate study. For her undergraduate, Escamilla could have gone anywhere, but after touring the Moscow campus she felt good about the University.
“Everyone seemed genuinely nice,” says Escamilla. “I knew this was a place I could stay and feel good.”
While she is looking to study bicultural, bilingual or second language studies, Escamilla is looking forward to finding a future at the helm of a classroom and returning to the world she fell in love with.