Here at the UWM Her Campus chapter, we want to take the time to highlight the women on our campus that help make our university a great place to learn. Therefore, we would like to introduce our first faculty spotlight feature. It is my pleasure to introduce, Amy Shields! I sat down with Amy to learn more about her career at UWM and the Intensive English Program.
Currently a senior lecturer and the Intensive English Program (IEP) Coordinator here at UW-Milwaukee, Amy has brought immense experience to her recent new role as the IEP Coordinator. Starting her teaching journey in 1999, Amy has a master’s degree in Linguistics and is working towards her SECOND master’s degree in administrative leadership. Amy credits her childhood desire for teaching, and her marketing & small business background for guiding her career to it’s current state.
Amy has even spent the summer in South Korea where she was fully immersed in the Korean culture and enrolled in her first teaching practicum. Amy recalls, “many moons ago, I got a glimpse into being in a new country but not knowing the language, living in a new culture, living through what it was like not being able to communicate”. This provided Amy with empathy and understanding to how her students feel when they are here in Milwaukee being outside their home country or culture. She went on to add how it’s “not easy to focus on being a student when you’re in a new environment”.
Who/what has had the biggest influence in your life so far?
“As far as teaching end of it, I think it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. You know as I got old the, where and who I wanted to teach changed. Regarding my administrative position, I think my job influenced me the most working here at UWM. Being apart of Higher Education, you can be a part of committees and policy making or program development and I think through that I discovered I was a natural leader when working in a group.”
What advice would you give to other women who want to do what you do?
“I think a lot of women sell themselves short, and not matter the role is a woman needs to work on Confidence. Say yes to herself, don’t sell short. We are taught by society that a woman in a position isn’t as good as a man. Gender doesn’t have anything to do with any job. I think it’s a matter of what you want and how you see yourself. Find what your motivated by and go for it. Women can have it all and it starts with self-belief”.
Amy and the ESL department are always looking for native speakers for their Conversation Partner Program. This program matches a IEP student with a native speaker to just talk! When students can produce the language on a regular basis, they will become a stronger student because of it. Amy’s favorite part of the program is watching the friendships blossom. “If you think about it, students typically only meet people that are in their classes. This program allows students to reach out and meet new people that they wouldn’t of otherwise met”. If your interested in learning more about how you can participate in the ESL program, check out their Facebook account (@UWMESLiep) or their website at www.uwm.edu/esl.