Ana Schcolnik is a junior at University of Illinois majoring in elementary education. By reestablishing an education-based registered student organization (RSO) on campus, she proves the old cliche wrong, teachers actually can and will do. An inspiration to students of all major, she hopes to one day teach at a school in the Chicago Public School system. Read below to hear about her role as President of this new RSO and her plans for its future.
Her Campus: Can you tell us about the RSO that you started and what its purpose is?
Ana Schcolnik: The name of our RSO is Minority Association of Future Educators (MAFE). I would say that our mission statement is to raise awareness about topics in education through the lens of minority students in the campus area. We also volunteer and offer academic support to the minorities in the area.
HC: When was MAFE created?
AS: MAFE was founded in 1994 but its membership was depleted in about 15 years. Members graduated and the organization fell apart. So, in spring of 2013, my advisor in the College of Dducation, Joe Cross, invited students in the college to a meeting in order to bring this organization back on campus.
HC: What is your role as President of MAFE like?
AS: My position as President (and interim Secretary) is to make the ideas of our group happen. This is the first semester that we’ve really gotten on our feet as an organization. My job is to create volunteering opportunities for our members by contacting programs in the Champaign-Urbana area, facilitating discussions about important topics in education during meetings, streamlining communication between members and fundraising for a long-term plan to donate to a program chosen by our members.
HC: What are some of the other positions?
AS: One aspect of being in the early stages of our organization is that we are in the process of creating position descriptions. Right now, we have a Vice President, Treasurer, Pubic Relations Chair and Marketing Chair, but we all work together very closely to create successful events.
HC: Have you ever held a leadership position like this in the past? How has that influenced your job as President?
AS: I was in student government at my high school for four years and graduated as the Secretary. I think back to this experience often. I learned a lot about the importance of organization and communication. My experience as Secretary helped me figure out how to best reach all the members of our group in the most effective manner.
HC: What is your proudest accomplishment of MAFE so far?
AS: My proudest accomplishment with MAFE this semester has been our screening of “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary about the public school system in New York. We had 25 guests, and our discussion afterwards still motivates me every time I think back to it. It was a lot of work and we had some last minute issues, but we also learned a lot about how to hold events and we plan to do it again next semester.
HC: What are some of your future goals for MAFE?
AS: I would really love to have a panel open to the student body of educators and alumni from our college about their views of education, practices and what is being done to help minorities in our community succeed.