Focusing on Accessible Education

Moon West’23 has been most surprised at Beloit by how many different opportunities they have been able to take advantage, while also exploring the liberal arts and learning to become an educator themselves.

Class Year: 2023

Major(s): Psychology & Education and Youth Studies

Where do you call home? Nashville, TN

How did you hear about Beloit? What made you excited to come here? I wanted to get out of the south and see a different part of the world. My grandparents are from Stoughton so I spent a lot of time up here growing up. I was mainly looking at schools from the book “Colleges That Change Lives.” I thought Beloit, as a liberal arts college, offered an interesting environment. There are a lot of people with intersectional identities at Beloit, but it is also sort of a mainstream college with sports and Greek life. And, of course, faculty like Suzanne Cox made the college even more enticing.

What kind of activities are you involved with on campus? Alpha Sigma Tau, Career and Community Engagement Center, Todd Elementary and Hackett Elementary School reading buddies, and serve as a Teaching Assistant. Once the Covid pandemic is over I’m interested in being more involved with other clubs and meeting more people on campus. It’s harder to do that right now, but I want to get more involved all around. I was also in student senate during my first year. I just want to be more involved with student-led organizations and I’m also very interested in expanding the  reading buddies program to other elementary schools. I’d like all of the Beloit’s  elementary schools to have a reading buddies program by the time I graduate. Donors help make Todd reading club possible. They keep programs like these alive because they’re keeping students in them.

What off-campus opportunities have you enjoyed? None yet, but I am looking forward to interning at Vanderbilt University’s Kennedy Center, which does research on disability and accessibility. I’d love to go into special ed.

What has been the most challenging Beloit class you’ve taken & what made it the most challenging? I would have to say my introduction to psychology class. The content wasn’t that challenging, it was more the delivery of it. I have dyslexia and therefore lecture-heavy classes that are mainly graded through tests (like this course) are incredibly challenging for me. I was able to figure out a system to effectively keep up with the speed of the course and I ended up doing fine overall. It definitely taught me how to advocate for myself with my professors as well as seek the assistance of my fellow classmates.

What has been your most unexpected Beloit experience, other than Covid?

Majoring in education, joining a sorority, and working on campus. I was ready to just stay in my own bubble and not branch out or be so open, but Beloit helps you actively open up and strive to be the best you can be in this environment. Joining a sorority was shocking especially because where I grew up in the south, Greek life is very different. Alpha Sigma Tau is very academically focused and people are interested in a lot of the same things. There are opportunities for leadership and community building. The inclusivity committee has been really important to me, and working with other Greek and IFPC groups to have conversations about inclusion has been a really large exercise in advocating and developing relationships with people. I would not have even meet so many people if the Greek and IFPC system had not been in place. We find common ground and work together.

Where is your favorite space on campus? I love the Fireside Lounge in Morse Ingersoll and I also really like the psych lounge in the Science Center. And I really like the study and meeting rooms by the river in the Powerhouse. They’re secluded with a great view of the river and you can see people going by on the river walk.

What is something you love to do in the city of Beloit? Spending time outdoors. Beloit and Wisconsin as a whole have to be two of most beautiful places I have spent time in. There are so many amazing hiking and walking trails near campus. I try to go hiking at least once a week and there’s never a shortage of beautiful things to see. I also love how close I am to so many lakes! There’s something about the way that the water meets the sky here. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. I think it has to do with the overall flatness of the land…watching the sunset over a beautiful corn field or a rich blue lake is one of the most healing experiences.

How has financial aid impacted your Beloit experience. If you could say something to alumni/donors what would it be?

The way that Beloit gives scholarship and financial aid is meaningful, conscious, and generous. It makes this education possible. I wouldn’t be here without that support from Beloit. It made me feel wanted here and was a phenomenal gesture from Beloit.

This is a type of education that should be accessible to everyone and for alumni and donors to help make that possible is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. There are so many students that need smaller class sizes and the individual relationships that aren’t as accessible at larger universities that might be more affordable, but the education isn’t the same.

Beloiters take care of each other, and that is what matters especially in making education accessible and possible.

What’s next? Tell us what your plans are after graduation: I plan to get my masters in special education, teach after that for a little while, then get my PhD in something psychology and accessibility related.

May 07, 2021

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