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Whitney Spencer

Ms. Whitney Spencer is a hot commodity at Illinois State University. She is a sophomore here at ISU, and is very involved on campus. She is a Resident Assistant at Tri, A Golden Apple Scholar, and involved in many RSO’s (Registered Student Organizations) that ISU has to offer. I met Whitney through the Golden Apple program, and I am happy to be able to share her lovely story with you all!

Name: Whitney Spencer

Hometown: Danville, Illinois

Major: Special Education (LBS1), with a letter of approval in Early Childhood and ESL

Role Model: My mother, Heather Spencer

Favorite Netflix Addiction: One Tree Hill

Her Campus Illinois State: Can you describe Illinois State in three words for me?

Whitney Spencer: ISU is evolving, inspiring, but most importantly home.


HC ISU: Can you describe yourself in three words?

WS: I am ambitious, passionate, and open-hearted!  

HC ISU: What is your goal for the semester?

WS: My goal for this semester is to better myself. I have really begun to find who I am, and my place here at ISU. I want to continue that this semester and be the best me that I can be each and every day.


HC ISU: How about for the whole school year?

WS: My goal for this academic year is to obtain a 4.0 semester GPA for both fall and spring. Academics are my first priority.  

HC ISU: How do you enjoy being an RA?

WS: I love being an RA. I am a really caring person and have ALWAYS put others before myself. This job allows me to care for forty individuals, each in different ways. I love being that “go to person” for people, and I love being in charge. This position requires a great amount of leadership skills and I continue to learn more and more each day.


HC ISU: How do you balance your schoolwork and being an RA?

WS: I would say I balance school and RA life by living by my planner. My planner and I go everywhere together. Every day I start out by writing out my day by the hour. Anything that I have going on or anything that needs to be done that day has a time slot. Sleep is another huge part of me trying to balance my job and school. Lastly, staying positive. This job can be so overwhelming at times but staying positive and taking it day by day is the key to balancing both school and being an RA.


HC ISU: What made you want to become a teacher?

WS: I want to be the voice for my students. I want to advocate for those with disabilities. I started working with individuals with disabilities when I was in seventh grade, and from that day forward I knew that this is what I was supposed to be doing. I don’t see a disability when I look my students, I see a human, a person just like you and I. I want to share my stories with those around me, and help others know that a disability does not define who a person is. I want to change my students lives, and be the positive role model I know they need.


HC ISU: How did you find out about the Golden Apple Scholarship?

WS: I found out about Golden Apple my freshman year of high school. I attended a scholarship assembly and one of the awards acknowledged was the GA scholarship. Once senior year came, I wasn’t sure if I was going to apply or not; but I was nominated by a Special Education teacher at my high school, and from there my journey began.


HC ISU: What does Golden Apple mean to you?

WS: Golden Apple is my family, and my network that will always follow me through my professional career. The endless love and support that GA provides is remarkable. GA means a chance for me to change a life, if not many. GA means giving to communities and school districts that don’t have all the money in the world or the best resources. It means to strive for the best me that I can be so that I can have an impact on the students who need it the most.


HC ISU: What has been your favorite memory from Golden Apple so far?

WS: My favorite Golden Apple memory has to be this past summer (2016), at second summer institute. I have had my heart set on teaching high school life skills after college, but this summer I got placed into a pre-kindergarten low incident room. I walked into a room full of three and four-year-old children who were mostly nonverbal. This past summer changed my life. The relationship that I got to opportunity to build with a student in my classroom will stay with me forever.  

HC ISU: How does being in the Golden Apple Scholar program help you in the future? WS: Golden Apple holds myself and all the other scholars to a really high standard. We have a GPA requirement to fill, and an academic advisor who we have to send our semester grades to each semester. During summer institute GA provides me with professional development and hands on experience in the classroom. I have already spent roughly 10 weeks in two different classrooms with a range of disabilities. GA also provides me with endless support. I receive random emails, phone calls and texts that are simply just checking in on how everything is going. I also receive job placement assistance once I am graduated and ready to teach my future students.

HC ISU: What would be your advice to those looking to get more involved on campus?

WS: My advice to those who are looking to get more involved on campus, is to just do it. You never know until you try. This campus can be scary at times and sometimes you may feel as if you are alone and have no one to relate to but this campus is filled with so many opportunities to find what best fits you. If I wouldn’t have got more involved on campus during my freshman year of college, I am a firm believer in that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have met so many new people, and have been exposed to things I never thought I would be exposed to. Surrounding yourself with new people and new environments is key.

Best wishes to Whitney with the rest of the semester and school year as a Student, Resident Assistant, and Golden Apple Scholar!

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Renata Serpico

Illinois State

Freshman at Illinois State - Golden Apple Scholar
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